I created this painting after meeting Zev Weitman, an American gemcutter based in New York City’s Diamond District. A master artisan, Zev Weitman invented a series of unique diamond cuts designed to enhance the brilliance and light dispersion of the polished stones.
When Zev related his difficult search for the perfect cut to unlock the brilliance of a diamond, his story reminded me of the ubiquity of sacrifice in the human experience.
Since prehistoric times, human societies have engaged in highly ritualized ceremonies to appease gods and ancestors, purify objects, or give thanks for gifts of abundance. And while the stories of some, like Jesus or Abraham, are woven into the narrative of our shared global history, the sacrifices of many others have been quietly forgotten through the ages.
Zev offered me the opportunity to use these carefully designed diamonds to create an entirely new artwork-- one that relates the legacy of sacrifices made by those, just like himself, who labor in the shadows of the diamond industry.
The resulting work features the figure of an artisanal diamond miner from Kono, Sierra Leone. The painting is layered with rich, vibrant colors and builds on the foundational techniques of ebru, or traditional paper marbling. The observed spectrum of crimson and scarlet hues is a manifestation of blood, or the divine life force that sustains our living human experience.