Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Valley of One Thousand Hills

“Valley of One Thousand Hills” was commissioned for Jonathan Liebesman in 2017 to mark his birthday, and is inspired by a quote from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography:

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

This papercut is about life as a journey, about finding one’s place and mission, and a way to connect to the world. It’s about the need to be doing good, important work — and that there’s always more to be done. The landscape includes the distinctive quiver tree (indigenous to South Africa) and the rolling patchwork hills of the Valley of One Thousand Hills, from which it takes its name.

Mandela gazing out over the landscape, an excerpt from X-Men #76 (June 1998),
and text from D'varim (Deuteronomy) 11:11

Hills have significance to the Jewish tradition as well. The city of Jerusalem is said to have been built on seven hills; in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11:11 we read, “The land into which you go is a land of hills and valleys and drinks water of the rain of heaven.”

Loki riding across the hills, with Raphael looking on.

The background elements all come from Jonathan’s journey so far: South Africa and Mandela (from the 2009 Nelson Mandela: The Authorized Comic Book), and also the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, Loki and more.