ORIGINAL ARTWORK DETAILS --
Dimensions: 16" x 20"
Medium/Media: Oil on canvas
Artist: Cozetta Gray Guinn
inspiration for this painting came from being academically associated
with African art as a museum docent and storyteller of the art
of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. This image is a symbolic
rendition of ethnographic accounts of world views and cultural
traditions of some West African societies. It is a composite of
images and stories and is not intended to represent a single group.
Any resemblance to a particular cultural group is purely coincidental.
The foundation for the painting is steeped in the philosophy of
man living in a spirit-filled world in which forces, both benevolent
and malevolent move among us. According to some ethnographers,
there are those who believe that the world is like a calabash,
a large, round, gourd-like melon cut in half. The lower part represents
the underworld, the top half becomes the sky and heaven, while
the middle plane is the earth. The forces of energy on earth are
said to actively move. In the painting the movement is reflected
by a circular motion and is represented by a series of curved lines.
The faces with scarification are those of ancestors who are represented
as masks of the recently departed, and serve as intermediaries
between man and a supreme being. These entities help man to maintain
proper behavior so that he does not stray from the prescribed
path and bring about chaos.