CM: Panagiotis Linardakis created The Third Eye of Lafcadio Hearn out of a photograph taken in 1900, when the sitter was at the peak of his career teaching English literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo. Linardakis was impressed by Hearn's appearance, which -as shown here, already at the age of 50 years- appears clearly older. In his relatively short life (he lived 54 years), Hea rn produced a great body of writing inspired by an extraordinary life that he took care to adopt as his personal life. The fact that Hearn married an African-American woman in America in 1870 and later a Japanese (1891) is indicative of the need he felt to go into different aspects of life through people who gave him what he himself wanted to offer the world - the universal conviction that the human family is one. It is worth noting here that for as long as his marriage with Alethea Foley lasted he wrote about the Creole heritage in New Orleans, and while married to Setsu Koizoumi, of samurai family, he wrote about the tradition of Japan. For his very choices Hearn can be considered to be a pioneer and revolutionary. As a matter of fact Linardakis - who acknowledges Hearn to belong to the great personalities of Greek history - emphasizes his similarity to modern punk leaders, whose courage and philosophy endows them with a prestige akin to the samurai.
The appearance of Hearn alone -aside of his creative work-is chiselled by time with the traits of a great personality. His determination is apparent on the variety of angular lines of his face, as evidenced by his profile - cheeks, nose, jaw and eye sockets. To render Hearn's portrait Linardakis limited his palette to a bi-color scheme. The blue color references the spiritual dimension of his personality and lends itself to the background as an aura around him. The white color refers to the transcendental light with which the Hearn was endowed. Moreover, Linardakis has given special emphasis on Hearn's right eye, which he prefered to expose in profile since he lost the other eye in an accident at the age of 16. This loss -can be claimed- helped develop the special 'vision' of his mind - the so-called 'Third Eye' which sees beyond empirical experience the metaphysical dimension of life. To point out to the importance of Hearn's third eye, Linardakis places in the top right corner of the picture a vintage car mirror of American technology including blue perspex. This third eye literally reflects the Hearn's connection as much to his viewers as to his physical environment.
[Megakles Rogakos 02/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens