Leia’s Wisdom

Leia’s Wisdom 

‘Sometimes it is good to lose things in life because then we get to go on a treasure hunt to find them again.’ 

This is Leia’s wisdom, a five-year-old with a depth most people never find in a lifetime. She sat for me in my studio for a week as we worked together in creating a portrait of her in clay. ‘What pose do you think we should choose for this Leia? Should we turn your head slightly to one side and have a serious look on your face or should we have you looking up or down or straight at me? Should you smile or have a bit of attitude?’

She thought about it for a moment and chose the pose and expression and returned to it perfectly with each sitting. ‘Can we listen to that man who sings about the lady who feeds him oranges again?’

‘Do you mean Leonard Cohen, do you like his music? I play Suzanne for her.

‘Yes this man, I like his songs.’

I start adding clay, watching her carefully, moving all around her as she sat perfectly still for me.

It was the same week that her dad had to leave and move back to Brazil, he bought her a stuffed toy which she held closely to her. ‘Are you missing your dad?’

She doesn’t answer, just nods her head a little and looks on listening to the music. We work on and speak about other things instead. This week is a distraction for her to keep her mind on other things. The music plays on in the background and out of the silence she says, ‘Sometimes it is good to lose things in life because then you get to go on a treasure hunt to find it again.’ I stop for a moment and think about what she has just said, the truth of life contained in this simple sentence spoken by a five-year-old. Does she know how much she has just said? I look at her face that has not moved while she faithfully holds the pose and I know that she has. We finish the portrait and I record the sentence in the clay.