An art exhibition by Dr. Avanthi Jayasinghe was opened at the Seed Café at Horton Place amid a distinguished gathering on September 8. The show is held in aid of the Cancer Hospital.
The exhibition Imago Sui underscores the concept that persons possess a self-image or a sense of identity that shapes their thoughts, behaviour, and interactions. This is a concept that is widely explored in several fields. Philosophically, the idea of Imago Sui is tied to self-awareness and self-consciousness. As famously stated by Rene Descartes (1596-1650), Cogito, ergo, sum, this notion suggests that self-awareness is an inherent aspect of human existence, emphasizing the importance of understanding oneself in relation to the world.
Self-concept and self-perception
In psychology, Imago Sui coincides with self-concept and self-perception. Carl Rogers (1902- 1987) and Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) emphasized the significance of self-actualisation, wherein people strive to reach their fullest potential while aligning their actions with their authentic selves. This involves recognising and accepting one’s strengths, weaknesses, and values, thus creating a more coherent self-image.
In literature, the Imago Sui theme often appears in characters’ journeys of self-discovery. For example, the Bildungsroman genre explores the protagonist’s growth and development as they grapple with their identities and place in the world. Novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1926-2006) and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1818-1855) depict characters searching for their Imago Sui amid social pressures and personal challenges.
This concept highlights the importance of self-awareness and acceptance. Acknowledging one’s identity, values and aspirations allows individuals to lead more fulfilling lives, make informed choices and cultivate meaningful connections with others. As humans continue to navigate the complexities of existence, the exploration of Imago Sui remains a timeless pursuit that contributes to personal growth and understanding of human nature.
To Avanthi Jayasinghe, the concept of Imago Sui is seen as a representation or reflection of human growth and identity. Artistic expression is often used to convey aspects of the self, society, emotions, and culture and serve as a medium to capture and communicate the complexity of life and the world. Her interpretation also suggests that art takes on a life of its own outside the artist, as people experience and interpret them differently, often away from the artist’s intended meaning. It also highlights the importance of art in the modern world and its ability to transcend physical and cultural boundaries.
The paintings in this exhibition have been greatly inspired by the writings of Carl Jung (1875- 1961), in particular his ideas about the circle archetype. Jung’s ideas about archetypes have had a profound influence on many fields including psychology, literature and art. Many artists have used the circle in their work to represent ideas of wholeness and the self.
The circle has been used as a symbol in many cultures since antiquity. For example, the Native American medicine wheel represents the interconnectedness of all entities in the universe. The mandala of Hindu tradition represents the spiritual journey towards enlightenment and, the halo used in many Christian art forms represents holiness and purity.