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  • Writer's pictureSaskia

The Acropolis - Dream Interpretation

I want to take a moment to interpret the dream behind the work (pictured below). This is something I’ve been waiting to do until the piece was finished, letting my intuition and memories of the dream guide me first and foremost.

In the dream, I am getting to the summit of a mountain in Tasmania called The Acropolis. I am hiking with two friends. They are somewhere nearby, but in the distance. The atmosphere is a little cloudy. I am struck by the beautiful view, but that quickly turns to anxiety when I see that Remy (the family dog) is running around and jumping on the rocks. The mountain has steep cliffs and I am scared he will fall. He sees me, wags his tail and trots towards me. I wake up.

As a little backstory, I climbed The Acropolis when I was in Tasmania a few years back; it was a difficult summit, but the views were incredible. The last photo is a picture I took at the top. The mountain is known for its large dolerite columns that look vaguely like clusters of Greek temples or skyscrapers. At the time I had this dream, I was submitting a lot of applications to various shows and residencies- the atmosphere was stressful. Here is a photo from the summit:

I see the mountain as a symbolic representation of the hierarchy of needs. My friends are symbols of love and belonging. Summiting the mountain is an act of self-actualization, the peak on the hierarchy of needs. By climbing the mountain of needs, I am accessing a higher awareness and success after struggle. The state of self-actualization and higher awareness is reiterated as I notice the beauty around me at the summit. When Remy appears on the summit, I see this as my innocent, playful inner child aspect of my psyche running forward to greet me, and yet I am now full of anxiety about how I’m going to protect this sweet innocent being from falling off of a cliff. It is important to mention here that the dream ego is the least trustworthy perspective, and it acts like the ego in waking life. With this in mind, although my dream ego suddenly feels burdened with responsibility and anxiety about Remy’s safety, the truth is that Remy is a smart dog, has sure footing, and strong instincts to keep himself alive. The subconscious using Remy as the symbol for the playful inner child is directly because the inner child is already thriving without the ego trying to fix problems and take charge. Just like Remy, the inner child is happy, playful and creative, all aspects of the psyche that exist in the state of self actualization on the hierarchy of needs. My dream ego could be appreciating the beauty of my subconscious landscape, but there is distrust between the ego and inner child that creates feelings of unease and false responsibility.

When applied to waking life, I see that the dream shows me I’ve been working hard, and submitting applications is fulfilling, but that I am preventing myself from fully achieving my full potential. The appearance of the inner child is the subconscious embodiment of self-actualization, but the dream ego’s fear for the inner child’s safety prevents myself, the dreamer, from also embodying a state of self actualization. I cannot fully appreciate the summit while I feel that my needs of safety are not met. Until the ego can release control and see the truth of the situation, I cannot reach my full potential. This is especially true in art, as art is a creative activity that belongs in the category of self-actualization. Seeing as I was stressed out about art applications at the time I had this dream, I believe my ego was unconsciously censoring my creative talents as a way to appear more likable, in art and on applications. And ironically, I had decided to omit Remy from this work, in favor of making work that was more conventional, and less ‘weird’. Ultimately, this is a very long way of saying that conforming limits all of us from achieving our full potential.

The Acropolis (2021)

Mixed media on thai unryu paper

22 x 30 inches

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