Dreams and Desires

December naturally requires a sense of reformation, dreaming of the future and restructuring of the past.

It seems so fitting that the desire for change would intuitively occur during December. Maybe this is why many of us think of change and resolutions at this time of the year.

December is a time when many changes and beginnings take place. It’s when the seasonal change of fall’s shedding coat gives into winter’s need for slumber. It’s as if nature encourages us to let go of the past and prepare for the future ahead.

Also, on Friday, December 21st the northern part of the world approaches the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year when the sun reaches its most southern point in the sky. For me it’s a sign of hope and excitement when I think approaching longer days ahead and the promise of warmer weather which brings freshly grown foods.

And, of course, the most recognizable tradition in the western world and the highlight of the month – Christmas. I do love the gatherings and rituals around this time of year. The baked goods and celebrations with family and friends.

All of this happens in December. It’s as if the stars align and the gods are telling us to dream and celebrate. For weeks in December our nights are lit up with displays of lights, as we bring the stars down to earth and dream during our waking hours.


In honour of the subject of dreaming and desire, I would like to share the work of a few artists that have explored the subject of dreams.

In the late 15th to early 16th century, Japanese artist Tosa Mitsunobu created A Wakeful Sleep with itsrepresentation of dreams and desires. Melissa McCormick describes the meaning behind this image on the cusp between sleep and waking.

A Wakeful Sleep by Tosa Mitsunobu

A Wakeful Sleep, by Tosa Mitsunobu

Public Art is one of my favourite forms of art and If I had my way there would be more public art as a visual backdrop and experience in every day lives. This following image presents Pepe Ozan’s temporary sculpture The Dreamer. the Black Rock Arts Foundation provides context to this wonderful piece that was temporarily installed in Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco.

The Dreamer

The Dreamer, by Pepe Ozan. Photo by Brad Immanuel.

When my son was young, I used to watch him sleep. There is something so angelic about watching someone sleep, especially a child. In 1881 Paul Gauguin completed the painting The Little Dreamer. What I find interesting about this work is that we don’t get to see the sleeping face of a child, but instead a suggestion of the dream imagery as it is presented on the wall. A young boys fantasy of flying and nature.

The Little Dreamer

The Little Dreamer, by Paul Gauguin.

It wasn’t that long ago that I discovered the work of South Korean artist Choi Xoo Ang. I found his hyper realistic sculpture, Dreamer Red very interesting. He manages to capture the essence of unfulfilled desires. Choi Xoo Ang shows us how an oppressive society can destroy the spirit of the dreamer.  

Dreamer Red by Choi Xoo Ang

Dreamer Red, by Choi Xoo Ang.

The collaborative work of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre also takes us to a place of lost dreams. In their summary to The Ruins of Detroit, they point out that “Detroit presents all archetypal buildings of an American city in a state of mummification.” Abandoned buildings, the decay of a time long gone and the ghost of past promises.

The Ruins of Detroit.

The Ruins of Detroit, a collaboration by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.


“A dream you dream alone is only a dream
A dream you dream together is reality.”
– yoko ono




6 thoughts on “Dreams and Desires

  1. Good post! I want to go check out Detroit for my self one of these days!

    • Happy New Year Rob.Detroit would be a great place to photograph. My family and I once drove from Toronto to New York and on our way through we did a short stop in Boston (bathroom and food break, really). I would love to go back there one day.

  2. I want to go and check out Detroit for myself so bad! Good post all around 🙂

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