Competition illustration

This piece was done for a competition. The objective was to illustrate a selected piece of text. It was fun and I'm super stoked to win! The prize was a free entry into the White Cloud World workshop in Auckland! 

The text:
Our Explorer is deep within the heart of the wilderness. Surrounded by the lush density of the New Zealand native bush, the Explorer has followed a trail of rumours and intriguing whispers pertaining to this particular location. Amongst the forest surroundings, an atypical shape catches the explorer’s eye – the artifact is a sharp contrast to it’s mossy surroundings.
The explorer slowly reaches down and draws the artifact away from the earth. Holding it up, they cannot pull their gaze away from it. Adrenaline surges through their body as they realize what it means. Trembling with emotion, the artifact drops to the ground.
Sensing their fate laying ahead, the explorer hesitates to look up. Will this be everything they have hoped for… or everything they have dreaded?

I'd say for me, the most important sentence in the text chosen was the last. How will I portray: Will this be everything they have hoped for… or everything they have dreaded? It was important for me to capture that sentence and leave the viewer hanging, just like it leaves the reader hanging. It seemed that the main character gained some insight and was having an internal struggle over what it ultimately means for humanity, nature or whatever.
This epiphany is reserved for the main character, and is a reason why I chose to put them behind a mask and use the journal. This way, the truth (whether good or bad) further eludes the viewer.
Thanks everyone for your feedback and to those competing. It was a fun comp!