Saudade: Artwork by Melissa Donlon

Artist: Melissa Donlon

Published in the October 2019 edition of Live Ideas. Find it here.

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Saudade is a Portuguese term that is used to describe a deep emotional state of longing for an absent thing or person that one loves. It acknowledges that the person or object of longing might never return. Moreover, it is the appreciation for the sadness that one feels, as sadness is the evidence of the love that remains. As the wife of a deployed soldier, feelings of loneliness, loss, exhaustion and constant fear for my husband’s life are continual and unshakable. My artwork deals with the subjects of love and loss, loneliness and hope, presence and absence. It represents how I navigate my husband’s deployments and the recent death of our family dog. My largescale multi-media oil painting engulfs the viewer in order to express the overwhelming helplessness that I often feel. It is about my relationship with my husband, the love that we share and my struggle to appreciate the sadness that I feel while he is away.  

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