When we beat ourselves up or put ourselves down, we usually feel like the victim. But in reality, we are also the perpetrator. “The Master” represents this internal punisher who uses fear, violence, and manipulation against other aspects of ourselves. When I began working on this portrait, several distinct aspects of mind had already been revealed. They had very different emotional lives, but all seemed to suffer at the hand of an unseen force. After careful self-inquiry, I could see their torment was the work of a shadow self. An aspect deep within, that the conscious mind does not identify with because it contains traits that are undesirable. This “dark side” of our personality is very dangerous but its power can be used for good if properly integrated.
Acknowledging that I was capable of such cruelty and violence towards myself was difficult but it reminded me of the difficulty in learning that my ancestors in Jamaica were not only the enslaved but those who exploited them. My surname “Hutchinson” came from the Scotsmen who went to Jamaica in the 17th century to make their fortunes by brutally enslaving Africans on sugar plantations. Their chance of dying from disease, accidents, or slave revolts was extremely high so they indulged in horrific atrocities to maintain order and many descended into madness. These are the men to whom I owe one-quarter of my DNA. I could see a similar dynamic happening internally as one aspect of my mind relentlessly oppresses and abuses the others.
Using my own portrait as a starting point, I began to imagine what one of these men would look like and it began to resemble many of the men who we see on our money or honored with statues in public squares. Like men from history class that promoted noble principles that were intertwined with malevolence. As this twisted energy marches through the darkness, blind to the carnage it creates, the light of consciousness shines upon it, exposing this sick parade, dissolving its power, and liberating those who suffered at its hand. When in its proper orientation the flames from “The Sadhu” appear to rise up and burn “The Master” in his final moments. It is the only portrait where the left eye is open but the right eye is obscured.
• 20.5 mil thick poly-cotton blend canvas
• Hand-stretched over solid wood stretcher bars
• Matte finish coating