Portals of Change


Portals of Change, 2023. Amber Sykes. Signed Acrylic on canvas; 68.9 x 49.2 in. (175 x 125 cm). Lautrec, France.

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“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” Cynthia Occelli.

Do you view change synonymously with fear, or opportunity? With endings, or beginnings? Many of us instinctively resist change with the limiting perception that they are endings, rather than new beginnings; “Portals of Change” paints an alternative perspective. Each burst of colour represents a transformative realm of change, tied up with opportunity, novelty, and curiosity. The energetic and layered composition, featuring dribbles and daring splashes of paint, symbolises the courage to step beyond the confines of comfort zones and transcend rigidity.

A pursuit for stability and routine can obscure the the stagnation that accompanies a fear-driven existence. By cultivating habitual thought patterns, remaining in proximity with only those who we know, and making decisions based more strongly on fear rather than curiosity, a sense of familiarity emerges. As creatures of habit, we naturally prefer to reside in this territory. But sometimes, when a yearning to venture beyond our boundaries arises and persists, it is necessary for us to pause and recalibrate the view. In these moments, the possibility for voluntary change emerges.

The magnitude of change varies; sometimes, it can be so momentous that we find ourselves on the other side of it in an altered world where the ground we once stood upon has disintegrated beneath us. This can be frightening. Yet, comfort and growth don’t always like to hold hands. Sometimes, to progress, we must feel the fear and act anyway, allowing the courage to dissolve apprehension. The prospect of stagnation, untapped potential, and an unwillingness to experimentation is a far scarier alternative.

Change, however, isn’t inherently scary. As we explore its layers, we realise that it is incessantly preserved amongst and within us. Just like the externalities of our lives exist in a state of fluidity, so do we. We have been gifted with the ability to continually cultivate our capabilities to evolve. This sense of evolvement, which is synonymous with change, allows us to advance physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Growing in such way is simply what is means to live, something we must be professionals at we are still here now.  Our inherent flexibility has prepared us to live dynamic, ever-changing lives.

Redefining change from a negative unknown to a tapestry of positive “What ifs?” uncovers a world of boundless possibility. What if I excel? What if everything turns out even better than I anticipated? What if my inner potential surpasses everything that I have ever imaged it to be? “Portals of Change” encourages you to take this first step, to view change as exciting portals that allow us to expand our availability to life. The artwork also acknowledges that the step and consequent repercussions may not be a smooth leap of faith, as suggested by the explosions of colour. As writer Deepal Chopra puts it, “all great changes are proceeded by chaos”. Imagine a seed exploding into its roots as it bursts through the shell. Up close, it looks like pure destruction. But from a farther viewpoint, we can see that the ‘destruction’ is a creation… a change… a beginning.

Embracing curiosity towards changes and new beginnings, small or large, enables us to remain open, wonderfully alive. We give ourselves grace to experiment and accept that decisions made in the past may no longer resonate with our ever-evolving selves. By cultivating curiosity for an exploration of change, of life, we can create a wholly different and better experience for ourselves. The more we experiment with a colourful variety of portals, the closer we come to understanding ourselves and entering an active and empowered relationship with change. “Portals of Change” encourages us to expand ourselves to life, pleasure, and experiences. So, let’s allow the unknown to be our playground. Let’s dare to be more human. Let’s intentionally co-create with life. Let’s embrace change. And then, let’s just watch what colours and inspiration enter our lives.


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