Degard, Arcadia V, oil on wood, 70 x 35 cm, 2022
This is the last one in a series of five artworks that Degard dedicates to Arcadia – one of Ancient Greece’s ‘utopias,’ hence the series title. In Greek mythology, Arcadia was described as a mysterious garden, home to the god of the forest and his court of dryads, nymphs and other spirits of nature, centaurs or half-human, half-horse warriors, and other non-human beings, including several gods and goddesses. Arcadia is a poetic term describing natural splendor, fantasy, and harmony.
In her artistic attempt to encounter her Jewish ancestors who disappeared in the Holocaust, Degard plays on the symbolism of Arcadia, which she often represents as a background to her portraits that allows her to reconnect with her past metaphorically.
This artwork belongs to a body of work dedicated to the myth of Arcadia, which designates an idyllical place of rustic innocence, quiet pleasure, or an untroubled state of mind.