The “Animistes” series was inspired from trips to Africa and more particularly to Senegal and Mali. They were initiated in a workshop with artist Lila Lewis Irving in Mississauga, in June 2007. Large shapes and strokes and a simplified palette of bright colors accentuate the boldness of the statements. Most of the images came from my imagination soon after a trip to Senegal, and were executed prior to meeting in Mali the character depicted in “Animiste # 11”. The Animists are Bushmen who live off nature, wear leather and ornaments such as crocodile teeth and monkey tails. They are fabulous musicians and dancers and make all their costumes and instruments. The one depicted here is under a wire cage covered with grass and wears a mask. When he dances, the whole cage moves to the rhythm of the incredible music played by his Animiste friends. The large cauldrons depicted in several paintings were also experienced after they were painted, while volunteering in Mali. They are used for boiling water and for cooking. In the pictures, I lit the fire directly into them. It was an amazing feeling to actually discover the underlying meaning of the images I had painted. I therefore entitled the series “Animistes” in honor of these incredible people, still living their century-old traditions in our modern time.

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