Wednesday, July 30, 2014

THE DASSANACH PEOPLE


Dassanach woman with bottle top and found object wig.
from google image for education only

Elizabeth Gordon   Detail of Mixed Media Assemblage 2014
Bottle tops, cork, wooden rulers, Antique English Ship Building Molds,
trade beads, nails, ribbon, fabric, rusted metal, felt piano tabs, wooden plugs, etc.
                   Cultural Aphasia


All Cultures posses art, all cultures express themselves in art, music, and drama.  For some groups it is so integrated into the culture there is no name for art or music.  For them it is if there is no way to separate who they are into a separate subject.  


Detail of Assemblage
mixed media, found object collage


When I first thought of doing an assemblage for an art show I had thought for years of doing an African based fetish piece that talked of cultures, art, and the views we have of other cultures from our own.
Knoxville Museum
 Well into the early 1900's and late 1800's we looked at other cultures that seemed less advanced than our own as specimens to look at under a microscope or to capture like an oddity to put in our museums for observation.  Precious tribal objects, sacred religious pieces, bodies and skulls
museum artifact
of other humans as if they were an object, not respected nor treated more than a curiosity I have thought many times what would happen if our objects of reverence were treated the same way, our graves, our ruins, our lives that are precious to us.  Now as these cultures have more power many are demanding their artifacts back.  And our museums are having to open their doors to let this happen.  


African Artifact

In this piece I have taken some of the ideas I learned from studying the Dassanach people and tried to incorporate it in my assemblage.  Their headdresses or wigs of bottle tops interested me a great deal.  They collected what was precious and what was available to incorporate into a costume to be worn and adorned.  Bits of metal from bullets, a watch band, nails, fabric and other became fascinating intricate objects of art.  So in my own way I recreated this to express all of these aspects. Where the eyes would be is a photograph of immigrants looking out at who ever is taking a picture of them.  The slides at the bottoms have photographs of people from different cultures that represent different genders, ages, and countries.  A specimen number is written on each, as if to be studied by anthropologist or categorized for a museum. Actual people were used as examples often called human zoos.  The barbed wire is reflective of many things: wires that is on borders that keep people out, prisons wire, the holocaust, torture, and sacrifice.  The fishing lure has many meaning as each piece in this assemblage, my intent is to present an object or image that will trigger your own education, and your own experiences.  But a lure can be to lure people in, to fish for beliefs and ideas, to catch….our minds work on image identification to a belief or meaning associated by our education or experience in life.  What we attribute to meaning is key to our culture, our perception, and our beliefs.  In Surrealism, a early 20th century art movement, that existed during the heyday of Freud's psychological theories, symbolism is central.  It is a movement that seems to call to me and also be a way I can unconsciously and consciously convey ideas and thoughts that are somewhat complex. 

Detail of mixd media assemblage with slides, photos, barbed wire, wooden found objects,
fishing lure, trade beads, nails, cork, shipping molds, rusted found metal.

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