I have always been fascinated by identical twins — two people who began as one fertilized egg which split into two embryos. They are two people who started life with the same genetic material. I have known several sets of identical twins, and, in fact, one of my best friends is an identical twin.
Such twins can look uncannily alike and sometimes have the same interests and tastes. There are many stories of identical twins separated at birth who find each other as adults and have multiple similarities — occupations, spouse’s names, number of children, etc. They also sometimes have extrasensory perception with the other sibling, for example, “knowing” when the other is sick or injured. But what interests me about identical twins are their differences.
A few weeks ago, I was at an Artbook Archive Party where I met another set of twins, Twin Nnem and his brother Zulu Painter. They are artists whose work is also featured in Artbook Archive Volume II. Both toweringly tall and handsome, I sensed their sweet, creative, yet distinct spirits. Meeting them brought up a subject I think about often — what is it that makes each person an individual?
Assuming we have free will, or some measure of it, and given our set of life experiences, I believe we are shaped by the choices we make (and by definition we are not the things we opt against). I believe our essence is not the experiences we have had, but rather, we are defined by the choices we make within those experiences.
As such, identical twins are an enlightening metaphor in the Universe. As I have said before (see Creating Portal Fission), I believe we are all really connected; we are all really one. Thus, every one of us is like a twin of everyone else in humanity, and yet we have been created so as to experience this reality separately.
Identical twins highlight the beauty of this intended individuality in the Universe and they literally personify the concept that we are all connected and yet unique at the same time.
There is no truer proof that each person in this life is intended to be one-of-a-kind than identical twins. Born with the same genetic makeup, by appearances the same or similar, they are their essence, and the physical manifestation of their essence is shaded by the choices they make as they walk through life. Thus, their true beauty is in the fact that they are connected, yet different.
Indeed, identical twins set an example for all mankind. Once one, they have separated and are now beautiful, strong and stand on their own. Yet, it is undeniable that the synergy of the two can create a powerful, stunning representation of the oneness of a unified humanity, a collective consciousness.
I wanted to paint that concept. “Twin Synergy” is my abstracted representation of two souls coded with the same genetic material forging their original identities as they travel concurrently on their own paths.
A diptych is one painting, consisting of two separate but connected panels. After “Twin Synergy,” I fell in love with painting diptychs. Not long after, I painted “Road to Ahimsa,” but that story is for another day.
You can see the work of Twin Nnem and Zulu Painter as well as other local artists at the upcoming event ARTofficial Intelligence: The St. Pete Robot Exchange on September 7.
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