seeing differently

December 3, 2011

I wonder what comes to your mind first as you are looking at this picture ? A bunch of petals ? Allium sativum’s skin ? A   broken heart ? Or something else ?

How would you feel if suddenly your world would look in yellow or red or blue or whatever colour you cannot imagine right now ? Would it change anything for you ?

This is not a recent picture. Since the time I took this portrait of a lady deeply concentrated on her work, I could not figure out what exactly she was doing. I am always shy to take pictures of people in the street. The scene was so special, the mood in her workshop too, I just had “to click” from the street. From the various phials, pens and tools I had a quick glimpse at, I imagine she was doing some sort of calligraphy. What would you say she was making ? What do you see ?

Last Summer I visited a gallery in my hometown. There were two artists who presented their artworks. A lady (Mathilda Raboud) who had created some funny, cheeky and unusual ceramic angels and an Italian artist from Florence, Rosario Memoli. He had  worked with all sorts of textiles that he either sewed or stuck on a white canvas. It was  abstract art, a kind of reflection on the way space is organised between immobility and movement.

I know it is abstract art… but I could not help seeing it differently. Or rather finding a meaning to his particular creations.  Laugh if you want but it is what I seem to see in the  above picture : a proud rooster is chasing away a black and white sheep while his favourite polka dot hen is quietly nibbling at a flower 🙂

Same sort of tragedy with this other artwork by Memoli… I see a sort of hen (yes, again) and a strange mythological creature with a dangerous looking dented tail. They seem to be arguing. Could the reason be the many colourful seeds in the upper right corner that both are coveting ?  See the way my imagination takes over sometimes ?;)

For a long time artists have  shown us how to see and think differently. They taught us that there are as many ways as there are people since we all see everything differently. A liberating gift, isnt’ it ?

Rosario Memoli’s artworks bore no title. Maybe the artist intended to free our imagination ?  The writer Eugène Ionesco wrote in his book “Découvertes” :

An artwork is a series of interrogations. Since there is a construction, one can consider a work as an architecture of interrogations. Every artwork must be brought into question”.

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This is the Upper School Art Show of the Mounds Park Academy in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The show is open from May 17 to June 3, 2011.

How do I know about it ? That is a real nice story.  One that happened thanks to Internet, quilting, a painting class of  15 students between 15 and 18 and their dedicated art teacher, Renee Sonka, in the heart of the Midwest, Minnesota.

From Africa to Switzerland and on to Minnesota/USA

or how African fabrics are  inspiring and travelling !

You may remember this quilt of mine, an African mosaic I posted on January 2009 as I started this blog.  It is a logcabin pattern made with countless scraps of fabrics I brought back  home after a stay in Africa with my family.

The art teacher, R. Sonka, had a particular project in mind for her painting class. It was entitled : AFRICAN TEXTILES as inspiration for mixed media paintings. The designed plans were to study the textiles, infuse mixed media, think about subject and meaning, become the composer, develop sketches and realize one’s  idea !

In addition the students were to create a larger collaborative painting where each of them would be responsible for small sections of the whole. Together with the picture of the  quilt, I had also posted a detail of it. This is what the students chose to create painted versions of sections of my quilt.


A few students are working on their individual compositions.

Developping sketches

Glimpse  of a larger panel that students are working on collaboratively. The quilt image has been divided up so that each one can contribute a section to the larger whole.

Drawing inspiration from patterns and colours in African textiles.

This is the collaborative painting of a section of my quilt ! I cannot express how honored, admirative and touched I am as I look at the work of those 15 talented students. They used acrylic paint on canvas. Never would I have imagined that my quilt could be such a source of inspiration. It is a beautiful project and you can all be very proud of all you achieved !

The other three pictures represent individual compositions designed by students. More inspiration from patterns, textures, colours found in African textiles. They used acrylic paint on plywood, some include other materials such as fabric, cardboard and raffia.

Panel created by Avalon Levey

Panel created by Greta Gangestad

Panel created by Annette

The art teacher, R. Sonka,  sent me all those pictures, for which I am very grateful and happy to share with you.  Thank you Renee for all your mails and details; without them I would probably not have been able to explain well enough the development of this great project.

This is the school Art Show that represents the drawing, painting and ceramics classes. A beautiful compilation of weeks of work, individual and collaborative. I like this concept very much.

Congratulations and much gratefulness to each and everyone who participated in this fantastic and creative project. With many good wishes for the continuation of your teaching and studies.

Here is a link about the Art Show and the Mounds Park Academy in Saint Paul/MN.

http://www.moundsparkacademy.org/news/arts/2011/05/upper-school-art-show-open-fro.shtml