Snakes & Ladders 2012
Inkjet on canvas
In this work, Hardy reflects upon the writing of Rushdie (1981), in Midnight’s Children. The author describes the game of snakes and ladders as more that just an activity but contains a metaphor for life’s up and downs. The moral of the game is that for every ladder a person climbs there is a snake waiting just around the corner; and for every snake a ladder will compensate. Implicit in the game is the theme of duality and good against evil. Hardy explores these themes in her current work entitled ‘Snakes and ladders. The ladder that appears in the image leads down into the underworld but it also can represent according to its origins in Hindu philosophy the virtues of generosity, faith and humility while the archetypal snake incorporates vices such as lust, rage, greed, murder and theft.
In this image, Hardy also investigates the internal and external worlds that are reflected in nature. The photograph was taken while on a trip to Granite Island in South Australia. On this particular day the wind was howling as she walked along the path on the island.
I was amazed about how the vegetation on the island was able to cling to the ground despite the fierce winds. The bushes and scrubs were sculptured by the wind. I stumbled upon this unusual tree and although the bushes around it provided protection from nature’s elements there was a feeling of eeriness in the darkness and seclusion. The tree was slowly being uprooted. The exposed roots revealed the ground underneath or perhaps a secret unconscious underworld ready to be explored.
According to Hardy, she describes the tree in the image as a metaphorical representation of the tree of knowledge that connects heaven and the underworld. Or in Jungian terminology, the conscious and the unconscious parts of the self which are acknowledged to be central to the process of individuation and personal development.