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The Big Malaise by Eliza Muntz

The Big Malaise

Eliza Muntz

About the work

My self-portrait explores the human response to societal trauma. It reflects on the events of 2020 onwards and how we sought uncomfortable solace indoors, often in the dark confines of the bedroom, metaphorically tucked ‘under the doona’. ‘The Big Malaise’ is a contemporary commentary on the pandemic and our inability to wake up and return to established routines. The composition centers around my reclining form, draped with bedsheets, my face conveying an uncomfortable grimace. Guided by the leading lines of the dramatic shadows of the sheets, the viewer’s eye travels to the vibrant yellow focal point. My countenance is one of unease, deliberately juxtaposing the comforting surroundings. This conflict calls the audience to reevaluate the room, at which point the sense of malaise is communicated. The deliberate use of yellow betrays the pessimism but acknowledges the very unique transition we are all experiencing.