Event Details


21/11/2011 – 21/11/2011

Ars longa Art is long

Vita brevis Life is short

Occasio praeceps Opportunity fleeting

Experimentum periculosum Experiment dangerous

Judicium difficile Judgement difficult

In an effort to leave a permanent legacy, performance and installation artist, Sandra Ann Vita Minchin, has elected to have the painting Vase of Flowers, by Dutch artist, Jan Davidsz de Heem, tattooed on her back. Tiny diamonds, strategically inserted into the skin, will capture flickers of light.

For her, Vase of Flowers represents the transience of life. It freezes a moment in time, leaving us wonder what will follow. Caterpillars on the leaf tips hint at the rot that is about to set in. The suggestion is that the perfect still life is about to tip over into death and decay.

Over the past number of years Sandra has had a number of brushes with cancer, involving extensive therapy, and, more recently, radical surgery.

Using Performance Art to explore personal experience, health issues are central to her work. The pain of tattooing over an enduring length of time embodies her recurring themes of torture and martyrdom.Committing her body to a large, permanent ornamentation, planning for its posthumous removal and preservation,is a part of her response. In choosing to give herself over to invasive treatment, perhaps it is  also bout reclaiming the body.

As a result of the most recent surgery, she is unable to have children. This coincided with the death of her father, also from cancer. Before his death, he constantly wondered “What have I left behind?”, which led Sandra, in turn, to question her legacy.

Minchin has searched the UK and Europe for the most suitable tattoo artist, before accidently meeting Galway based Nancy Klein, a graduate of Colorado Institute of Art (1989), who practiced and exhibited as an artist before training as a tattooist.

The faint outline of the painting and some colour work has already been tattooed onto her back. The entire process will take an estimated 120 hours, with a number of public tattoo performances planned.

Once the art work is placed on her back she will have a number of  ceremonial unveilings of the finished piece.

The long-term aim is to auction the finished work of art, which will be removed and preserved after her death.