Sanya Malik

Autobiography of a Still Life : The Evolution of Giving Gifts

Class of: 2024

Major: Interior Design BFA

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

Faculty: Kate Harding

Prompt: For this assignment, we had to take inspiration from a Dutch still life from the MET collection and inculcate important features from the painting into a still life that we had to compose and paint.

My Autobiography of a still life takes me through a journey, recounting the gifts that I have received over the years from a close friend. It depicts the evolution of our relationship, from casual birthday gifts to thoughtful gifts that I didn’t even know I needed, and almost tracks the strengthening of our bond. I was inspired by the ‘Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill’ by Pieter Claesz.

I was very fascinated by the way his still life was lit and I liked the mystery it added, especially in contrast to my light-hearted composition. I also found it humorous to replace the skull in Claesz’s still life with an octopus plushie.