We love to think of ourselves as superior species who won the evolutionary lottery. The way we envision our surroundings is that of a colonizer in a new land. We pillage, consume, and destroy everything within our reach. In this nonsensical attitude towards nature, we position ourselves as a superior and powerful group entitled to do whatever we want, without acknowledging that we’re just one tiny part of the world. We feel as if our ability to talk and reason gives us the right to do and undo anything we want. More importantly, in our pursuit of greatness and progress, we bury the only bond that links us to our primal nature, our animal instincts.
Spanish artist María Melero creates beautiful scenes of animals and women coexisting, reminding us of that wild nature hidden within ourselves. If we turn to this natural state, then we have the power to overcome any difficulty. After suffering from some health issues, this young artist found in art a way to deal with these conflicts. Her book, titled La Cura (The Cure), is a cathartic exercise where Melero compiles a set of images to tell a story about her dealings with pain and fear. It was etching these detailed paintings that she found a cure to the affliction of the soul.
So, where's the association between humanity and nature I was previously mentioning? Well, for the artist, the best way to find a cure or overcome a situation is by returning to our purest side, our most basic, animal instincts.
It's all about accepting our vulnerability, forgetting our species' apparent supremacy, and accepting that, as every creature in this planet, we're fragile and exposed to the ups and downs of life. However, as animals have proven, the only way to survive is by facing the obstacles head on and having the resilience to move forward.
Fear and vulnerability aren't exclusive to humans; all animals feel it as well. So, not only Melero paints different species coexisting in a fantastical setting, she also creates almost mythological beasts that portray the emotions we share. Humans, animals, and hybrids share moments of uncertainty and struggle for survival they alone can face. After all, these are fights everyone must undergo by themselves.
Moreover, these illustrations not only show our animal nature, but also our inner demons and nightmares. Her canvases use the unconscious as the setting of our struggles, a place of fantastical and dreamlike scenarios. The problems we face don't have to occur necessarily on real life; they can be buried in specific parts of our mind, where unsolved issues gain strength and inflict harm upon us. Many of the paintings represent this struggle, either on a literal or passive way. These paintings show that a confrontation is inevitable no matter how hard we try to avoid it.
That’s basically the purpose of her compilation, to show us that, no matter how or when, at some point in our lives we have to face our fears and confront them. We have to show our claws, our primal animal nature, and attack in order to survive. Introspection is the key to overcome any difficulty, and although it's not that easy to be aware of what's inside us, there are many ways to ease the healing process . For instance keeping a journal can be a great way to exorcise our negative emotions in a healthy way.
-If you’re interested in this artist's works, take a look at her Instagram account: @maria_melero