Medicine Man

The Medicine Man series is a further exploration of works inspired by Indian sadhus or "holy men" whom I have met and photographed during a recent sojourn to Mother India. Information about the Indian sadhus and my process regarding these is published with my series of work Injuriae.

Perpetual Silence

My work Perpetual Silence was created during the recent Xenophobic attacks on migrants living and working in South Africa. The work looks at otherness, innocence, individual guilt and accountability, punishment and/or healing, broadly speaking: an investigation of the human condition. The subject in the work is deliberately not a migrant, but rather an innocent bystander. By employing this strategy I am hoping to stay clear of a literal interpretation of my artistic concept and to rather ask questions other than the obvious about issues of otherness.

The intensive layering in this work include glued pages from antique dictionaries/newspapers, acrylic paint, ink and needlepoint.

Each print in this edition of 12 is unique and hand finished and no two prints are the same. These are four different variations of the work:

Injuriae series

In Hinduism, a sadhu is a religious ascetic or a "good or holy" person. During a recent creative sojourn to India I was fortunate to meet a few of these Indian sadhus whom I respectfully photographed along the way. In my creative work, I am currently fascinated by concepts dealing with the law of the land, individual guilt and accountability, punishment and/or healing and modes of escape, either physical or mental; broadly speaking: the human condition. In the light of the above I decided on Injuriae as the title for this series of works. The Latin word "Injuriae" could be translated to English as "injury, injustice, wrong doing, offence, insult, abuse or sexual assault". The intensive layering on these works include glued pages from an antique medical encyclopaedias, archival pigment ink digital printing (layer upon layer), acrylic paint, ink and needlepoint.

One way of life in Hinduism is renunciation of the world and asceticism, which is the path of the sadhu or Hindu holy man. The term sadhu comes from the Sanskrit for "accomplish" and can refer to any religious ascetic or holy man. The sadhus include saints of various traditions, men (and occasionally women) who have left their homes to concentrate on physical and spiritual disciplines, and also hermits, magicians and fortune-tellers (some of dubious religious intent).

The sadhu way of life can take a variety of forms. Sadhus may live together in monasteries (mathas) belonging to a particular order or isolate themselves in small huts or caves, but many wander throughout the country alone or in small groups.

Sadhus generally congregate on important religious occasions, such as lunar eclipses or melas (fairs), and throughout the year are found in large numbers in sacred cities such as Varanasi and Haridwar, India. Their dress and ornaments differ according to their sect but they usually wear yellow or orange robes. They might shave their heads, allow their hair to lie matted on their shoulders, or twist it in a knot on top of their heads, but a normal haircut is rarely seen.

Sadhus generally take vows of poverty and celibacy and depend on the charity of householders (laymen) for their food. Sadhus usually have only the possessions they carry with them: a staff (danda), a waterpot (kamandalu), an alms bowl, a rosary, and perhaps an extra cloth or a fire tong. The typical Hindu ascetic (sadhu) usually wears a distinctive mark (pundra) on his forehead and often carries a symbol of his sect.

Sadhus are not Hindu religious officials. Compared with Christianity, they are the counterpart of the hermit monk, not the minister. In fact, it is considered inauspicious (unlucky) for a sadhu to show up at a Hindu wedding, for he represents celibacy and infertility.

The Hindu attitude toward asceticism has always been ambivalent. On the one hand, there is a genuine regard for hermits and wandering ascetics and a desire to gain spiritual merit by feeding religious mendicants. On the other hand, the fact that fringe members of society may find a sort of respectable status among Saiva ascetics often led to a decline in the moral reputation of the latter.

Sources for the above:

- "Hinduism". Encyclopaedia Britannica (2007). Encyclopaedia Britannica Online.
- John Bowker, ed., Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions (2000).

Injuriae I - V

Mixed media on 250gsm Canson etching paper
112 x 78cm
UNIQUE once-off work - no edition

Paper Dreams - (hand finished artist proofs)

Paper Dreams I - VI

Hand finished linocut and mixed media
on 300gsm Hahnemühle etching paper
55 x 39cm
Ed. 25 with 5 artist's proofs
2015

Paper Dreams - (linocut and blind embossing)

Paper Dreams I - VI

Linocut and blind embossing
on 300gsm Hahnemühle etching paper
78 x 28cm
Ed.25
2015

 

The Wisdom of Dragonflies

Other works