June 26, 2010


So I finally finished this epic coloured pencil drawing that I started while I was on holidays over Christmas... at least I think it's finished. Why I decided to create an A1 size drawing with tools that can only cover about a milimetre of paper at a time is beyond me, but once I started it I just had to keep going until my fingers felt like those of an arthritic grandma and I was practically cross eyed.

Anyway, lesson learned...hopefully it was worth the bother. I am still tyring to come to terms with the fact that Shaun has described this piece variably as 'fantasy art' and something that looks like it should have been done on black velvet (he swears it was a compliment). The reality is that I was reading a lot about shamanism, and my fascination with that somehow became entangled with my love of tribal bellydance and gypsies and primitive cultures and voodoo...so I guess the result is a confused but honest salute to all of those things. In a way, this pretty much sums up how I feel about being a privileged white person living in an ethnically diverse country where our concept of culture is based entirely on embracing the bits we like of other people's.

In response to these feelings I've been reading more about the history and folklore of Germanic people, including fairy tales, traditional witchcraft and celtic shamanism amongst other things. It's a nice realisation that we do in fact have our own culture and it hasn't entirely disappeared - we just choose to ignore it in favour of things we find more exotic. Clearly I've been as guilty of this as anyone, but in light of recent discoveries some of my art might start taking a new direction now.


Captain I said...

i guess whats really cool is that the further back you go the more they just merge nicely into each other, after all we're all basically africans anyway right? Its not decadent to pick and choose, its just pragmatic, one can act on culture rather than in/of it, mind you that might be a smug western thing to say i suppose. I like this one, but then again, i like them all.... nothing wrong with the black velvet poster either in my opinion! Now there's a culture i can get my appropriating claws into.

Amy Duncan said...

thanks nathan, I thought you'd like this one. I don't think it's smug to say that, I totally agree with you...and I think we have the right to a personal relationship with the various cultures around us, exotic or not. but I'm a little disturbed by the increasingly popular notion that everything foreign is wonderful and everything 'white' is somehow scraping the bottom of the culture barrel. I have 'holiday in cambodia' stuck in my head for some reason...

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