Fifteen is a memorable age for many—a turning point between childhood and adulthood. Fifteen depicts my brother, William blowing out the candles on his fifteenth birthday cake. For him, it will be remembered as the year we had to celebrate in lockdown. Like the fifteen candles flickering in focus in the portrait’s foreground, these celebrations are the lights in the darkness of a hard, few months. At fifteen, we all felt the murky uncertainty of the future. Today’s generation, even more so, are struggling in this darkness. My brother’s face, out of focus as he blows out the candles, symbolises the shifts in identity that we all experience as teenagers. The only concrete thing is the present moment.
About the Subject
William Sydney is the artist’s younger brother.
Zoë Sydney is a Perth-based artist working across multiple media including oils, acrylic, and textiles. She is currently studying physics and fine art at the University of Western Australia, Perth and endeavours to bring this interdisciplinary thought to her practice. She is also a co-founder of Snart Club, a group of young people running art/science/sustainability workshops across Perth.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 66 cm x 50 cm