“O Africa” is a series inspired from journeys to that incredible continent. The series was initiated during a workshop with artist Lila Lewis Irving in Mississauga, in June 2007. Large shapes and strokes and a simplified palette of bright colors led to bold abstract statements. Most of the images came from my imagination soon after a trip to Senegal, and were executed prior to meeting a true Animiste, the character depicted as “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 Animist 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 these characters after having painted most of the images. I have entitled the paintings “Animistes” in honor of these incredible people, still living their century-old traditions in our modern time.
The medium is acrylic and the texture is pumice in the large paintings. In the smaller cave paintings, there is first encaustic, highlighted by the use of papyrus, brought back from Egypt and acrylic to amplify the colors and contrasts. In these paintings, wild and imaginative animals are emerging, which keep good company to the “Animistes”.
PROPELLER CENTRE FOR THE VISUAL ARTS
984 QUEEN WEST, TORONTO, M6J 1H1. 416-504-7142
May 26th – June 6th
Opening Reception: May 27th, 7-10 p.m.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 12-6 p.m., Sunday 12-5 p.m.
ARTIST ALSO PRESENT ON SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS DURING EXHIBITION