Gianna Volpe

Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Gianna Volpe - Heart at the Right Angle
Gianna Volpe
Ambler, Pennsylvania

Heart at the Right Angle (chakra box no. 4)
Mixed media
5 x 7 inches
Catalog No. 48

Installing this sculpture in the corner of the room, at a place of juncture, seems a fitting gesture to speak of the delicate balance between meeting my needs as an individual artist and the needs of the community I serve as an artist. I am attached to these two "places" and I have found comfort and meaning in the metaphor of the function of the heart.

The heart must first pump blood to itself before it can serve the needs of the body. Reflecting upon this metaphor enables me to honor the space between these "places," which is neither about only the one or the other, but about the profound connection between them both.

The origins of this piece reflect the roots of my initial experience with artmaking as a healing practice, as a means to symbolically care for myself and my body. It was inspired in part by the beliefs contained within Hinduism, with regard to the energy centers in the human body called chakras. This chakra box shows the heart bathed in green light and protected by hawthorn berries. Green is the color associated with balancing the heart chakra and hawthorn berries are used in herbal medicine to heal the heart.

My work as an artist is deeply affected by my relationships with the cancer patients I work with each day as the Artist in Residence of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center. I hope with them, I laugh with them, listen to their dreams and fears, and marvel at their courage, grace, and strength. In the silence of my studio, I carry all these things within my heart and I seek to create a momentary sanctuary for myself and for them.

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