|Ray Caesar, Descent, 2008|
And most of Caesars’s children are portrayed this way—in between ages and genders, between fantasy and the reality we know kids even today endure: abuse, sickness, sexualization and isolation. There is no fear in the eyes of his little girls. They are powerful princesses who refuse to become part of the Disney variety, nor do they belong in the world of the Brothers Grimm (I fear for the wolf who would try to gobble up one of these lovelies). Some are steampunk goddesses or insect limbed, misshapen and beautiful at the same time. Others have a gaze that demands answers I’m not sure any of us have. Working as a medical artist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for sixteen years must have given Caesar an eye for the invisible worlds that the infirmed live in—that in some ways, we all live in (for who among us has not been broken in spirit or body?). In that sense, his work doesn’t merely ask us to imagine a world that protects its children, but also to celebrate a world where sadness and evil are fought with redemptive imagination. It’s magic of the very best kind.
Image credit Gallery House/Ray Caesar. Used with permission.