With the recent passing of Joan Rivers, I felt compelled to make a tribute. I watched a documentary on the Ancient Egyptian journey to the afterlife, where the Jackal-headed God of embalming, Anubis, places the heart of the deceased upon a set of scales along with a feather, to find out if they had been pure of soul. If they had, the heart and feather would be of equal weight and the person would be granted access to the afterlife. If the heart outweighed the feather, it would then be given to Ammut, a demon who has the body of a hippopotamus, a lion and a crocodile. She would devour the heart and the individual would die a second and final death and go to the underworld for eternity.
I noticed this ceremony was very lavish, an observation I also made about Joan. Joan would make light out of absolutely ANYTHING, hence my portrayal of her being “lighter than a feather”. Of course, many of her jokes, though very funny, were also very cruel. You could safely say she was a baaad bitch! Her audacity shocked many in this life, so it seems only right that she should carry it on through to the next life. However, her ability to shock has only improved since she left this earth! Offering up hear heart, that’s so big, black, heavy and toxic that even a demon who would consume ANYTHING wouldn’t eat this! Anubis, the God of truth, who has seen EVERYTHING is so disturbed by this he’s having a nervous breakdown! And she has the NERVE to JOKE about it?!!
These images of the journey to the afterlife have hieroglyphics consisting of elements present at the ceremony: the scales, feather, eyes etc. In Joan’s journey, the hieroglyphics consist of arrows pointing upwards as a symbol of her love of facelifts, along with the syringes and surgeon’s knives. The arrows pointing forward are symbolic of her indomitable spirit in times good and bad, which is also what the comedy/tragedy mask represents. She would talk about the affects of age on her body. She said, “When I bend over, I look like a table! OH, and your body drops too! I looked down the other day and counted twelve toes!!” So, look out for the twelve toes and the tables in there! When things went wrong in her life, she’d place the blame on others, “I blame my mum for my bad sex life! All she said was, the man goes up top and the woman goes down below. So, for years we just had bunk beds!” She also had a love of diamonds and money, “They say money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured, if you had enough money you could just get a key made!” Though clearly her key to happiness or the afterlife is her boldness, distracting the Gods and Demons by putting them into a state of shock, so she can then sneak past them into heaven. The speech bubbles present are symbolic of her best-known phrase, “Can WE TALK?!!”
Medium: Pencil, Fineliner Pen, Letraset Promarker Pen.