I Dunno Either

I Dunno Either, by Cath Duncan. 2021. Acrylic paint on hardboard.


I Dunno Either is a semi-abstract seaside landscape, created while our family was preparing to move from South African to The Netherlands. One of the reasons for our decision to move is my vision impairment and the uncertainty of the future of my vision, so the grief-stricken process of deciding and preparing to move was inextricably linked to another grief-stricken process of confronting all of the past, present, and future implications of my vision loss. All the while trying to come to terms with the uncertainties, losses, and griefs of what it means to be immunosuppressed during a global pandemic.

I wanted to create a semi-abstract landscape that included ambiguous elements that would have people wondering, “What’s that?” and then they’d be invited into exploring with me what it means to live with uncertainty and have unanswerable questions about what you see and what lies ahead – themes common to our immigration, my vision impairment, and our collective pandemic experience.

The artwork is titled “I dunno either” because I’m particularly interested in how we relate to each other when we’re living with things we can’t see and things we don’t know. I often feel like my life circumstances mean that I have a lot that I can’t see or know in my life, and some days it seems like everyone else sees everything I miss, has all the answers, and knows what they’re doing. But when I’m seeing things more clearly I know that’s not the case – we all dunno either.

As I worked with the ambiguous shapes, lines, and textures in the artwork (some intentional and some unintentional), I explored my own relationship with not seeing and not knowing all I’d like to see and know, and I thought about humanity’s collective relationship with not seeing and not knowing. I wondered about what’s hard about not seeing and knowing, what harmful patterns we resort to when it feels hard, and how I might overcome any harmful patterns and grow my ability to appreciate beauty (in my art, my relationships, and my environment), especially during times when I can’t see or know as much as I’d like to.

If you’d like to explore more deeply along with me then, as you view the artwork, here are some questions I invite you to reflect on …

  • How do you feel about the ambiguous elements in the artwork? Did they grab your attention or had you not noticed them yet? Do you want to know what they are? Do they feel unfinished or unresolved or disconcerting in some way? Or do you enjoy their beauty without a need to find or decide their meaning?
  • Would “I dunno either” be scary or comforting words for you to hear right now? Would those words make you feel more or less alone? More or less hopeful?
  • How comfortable are you / we with not being able to see and know as much as we’d like to see and know?
  • How do you / we react to uncertain and ambiguous situations – do we run, hide, play dead, research, fight, try to be perfect, work harder to be likeable or to try to control it all, or something else?
  • How do you / we relate to others in times of uncertainty?
  • How do you / we feel about people who admit what they don’t know versus people who always seem to have an answer they’re sure of?
  • When uncertainty looms large, do we share our vulnerabilities and fears and draw closer to each other, or do we distance ourselves in shame, in case others find out how clueless we really are?
  • When we don’t know any sure answer, and especially when it’s in relation to something that feels very important, can we choose humility and do our best to keep on in all our imperfection, or do we head into paralysis or blaming and shaming ourselves or others?
  • Whether we’re faced with personal uncertainties like my vision impairment and immigration, or collective uncertainties like pandemics and wars, how do we see ourselves and each other when we don’t or can’t see and know it all, and especially when the stakes feel high?
  • How do we make sense of what we’re seeing if the visual cues or data are incomplete or distorted?
  • How open are we to the idea that we can look at the same thing and see something quite different?
  • How comfortable are we with seeing things differently to the way others see them?
  • How do we see (or not see) and treat others when they see something different to what we see?
  • What would it be like if we all realised that, regardless of the quality of our vision, there are always things that someone else sees that we can’t or won’t see?
  • What do we make it mean when we realise that we’re seeing things differently? And can we still find ways to go forward together when we’re seeing differently?
  • How can you grow your ability to appreciate the beauty in yourself, others, and your environment during times when uncertainty and ambiguity are big and difficult in your life?

Original artwork

This original artwork is SOLD.

Its dimensions are 100 x 90cm (39.4 x 35.4 inches) and it was created using acrylic paint on hardboard.

Fine art prints

High quality archival art prints of this artwork are available, printed and shipped to you from your closest location. You can order your fine art prints of I Dunno Either here.

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