Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ancestor Spirit Masks - ideas and visions

Several friends, who visit my blog regularly asked "why masks?" and "what about the spirits"!

Thank you for asking repeatedly. Currently I am working on a special project, approximately 40 pieces including textile masks, paintings and prints of mask-sketches. I will exhibit these pieces during the month of March 2008 in the Käthe Kollwitz School in Marburg, Germany, where my brother teaches. A vernissage will take place, the exact date has yet to be communicated.

If you are interested and click on the link for their web-site, you will find a blue "in english"-button on the left side. The "KKS" is a school specialized in healthcare, social service/education as well as tourism and gastronomy and it takes a special interest in "intercultural work, the integration and support of disabled people, ecological responsibility and hospitality".

The school is named after the famous german expressionist painter Käthe Kollwitz and regularly organizes exhibitions in cooperation with artists.

Ancestor Spirit Masks

Faces of Ancestor Spirits appear in my sketchbook. They express hope, force and energy. Love, pride and inflexibility. Cheerfulness, acrimony and inpenetrability. Cultural integrity.

“My” masks are expressing the ideas I have about ancestors in general. They show my concern with men, nature and spirituality. They are particularly inspired by intense research about tribal art, by old family portraits and a series of books with portraits of people living at the beginning of the 20th century.

These masks are stylized images of men and women I have not met. They honor the ancestors’ lives, their knowledge and their relationship with nature. I feel that many of their skills and talent were transmitted to me, like the facility to translate visions and ideas into matter by means of pen, paint and brush, - cloth, needle and thread.


Creation of the masks comes naturally. I sketch faces, heads, figures, often with a headdress and colour it with watercolours. The image will then be painted onto plain and undied cloth, linnen or cotton and embellished. Pieces of cloth, rope, thread, embroidery and many layers of paint are used until the object becomes complete.

12 comments:

clevelandgirlie said...

Thank you for explaining the mystery behind your penchant with these mystical spirits. I knew there was more to it than a mere superficial fascination. You never cease to amaze me my dear Andrea. Now I can appreciate them even more.

Cris in Oregon said...

You mentioned 'WE' Are you doing all the 40 masks or are others doign some too?
Did you get into this project. Thru your work?
Still not sure what you mean by "Thing's that were transmitted to me and others". Like from Visions or what you read about these people? What would the ear ring mask represent? March isnt all that far away. ;)

Lynn said...

Tres interesante! (no idea if this is even spelled close to real, but the message is there)... Great depth here...oh so interesting...the show will be phenomenal. How wonderful to be a part of that! All the ancestors are beaming at you Andrea. You do them proud!

Patti said...

Cultural integrity. The reason why culture prevails is because of inflexibility and inpenetrability. Otherwise it would simply be lost. I think I told you once before that I lived in Papua New Guinea as a child. The mud men wore those muddy grey helmets, called 'mud masks' and look like extra-terrestrials! I love this project of yours!

Carla said...

How excited you must have been. An exhibition in februar. I wish you a lot of inspiration for this project. The all look so lovely. It must be a succes.

Sue B said...

It will be a fabulous show. I wish I could be there to see it in person.

sukipoet said...

A wonderful verbal picture of what it is you are doing. I feel honored to be watching the process of your pieces coming together. I do believe in a sort of Jungian way that the talents and thoughts and dreams of our ancestors reverberate through us. Collective unconscious I think he called it. One can feel this, a connection that takes us beyond our small selves and into the larger world consciousness.

I will check out your brother's school link. Even before I do it sounds like a wonderful school and how lovely that you will be exhibiting there.

Thank you for taking the time to express in words what your path is. Blessings, Suki

ANDREA said...

Hi my dear blog-friends, I'd like to thank you for pushing me :), helping me to put my art into words. Thanks for your comments, ervery one of it is interesting and immensely important to me.

I think we are all driven by the same inspirations when we do our art. Be it quilts, fiber-art-creations, paintings of trees and birds, portraits, mandalas and animals, handmade paper robes.
When we look at each other's art, we feel connected to the world as it was, is and will be.

In the meantime, and in reaction to your questions and thoughts I have altered the text again, to be yet more coherent. (BTW I find it a lot more trouble to write about the work than to tackle it).

Warm greetings from Paris, where it is windy and rainy, brrr.

TammyV said...

Andrea - the Kathe Kollowitz school! how absolutely exciting! You must keep us posted (and when the exhibit is up take lots of pictures to post). Oh, I want to come!!!!! And March is my birthday month. =] To see all your pieces in one place! and in person! This is just a beginning.

And I know what you mean about writing about your art. How is it that blogs are so easy and then writing about our own art is so hard?!

Emmy said...

Very interesting and I hope you wil have a great show
It is so very great to see the progres of your work
I love it so much

Cris in Oregon said...

I am just full of questions arent I? Thanks Andrea for explaining more. Now I understand much better.

clevelandgirlie said...

I've just re-read your post as "amended" to add the wonderful news about your exhibit. You must be so very proud and excited to be able to share your "spirit" by virtue of your masks with the general public. We are all so fortunate to be able to witness your journey of accomplishments and triumph. March will be here before you know it. I can't wait!