Understanding the theory behind a work of art!
© 2019 Michael Auld
Q: What do you think is the meaning behind the above wall sculpture?
THE ROLE OF THE CRITIC
A: I belong to the group of fine artists whose works are intended to make specific statements. When I am in the role of a graphic designer the objective is as different as the role played by a decorative designer. Decorative design does not necessarily need to convey a philosophical message. Visual communication, practiced by a graphic designer or illustrator share the need for the clarity of communicating a message. However, images applied in my fine arts projects, need explanation. The above sculpture, titled "Busta Deconstructed" and the enlarged segments below, mean the following:
|Above: Jamaica's National Bird, whose colors are in the flag and was the model for my above sculpture.|
Above: Close-up #2. An enlargement of etched and colored Plexiglas overlay of the torso of the bird.
THIS ARTIST’S VIEW
The late Professor of Sculpture, Ed Love, a friend, teacher and co-worker said while he was organizing an art exhibition for Howard University’s Department of Art, College of Fine Arts.
“Never depend on a critic to define your work...The artist must be the one to describe the meaning of the piece.”
He had come to pick up one of my sculptures for an exhibition that he had titled, “Objects of Power”.
An Artist’s Rationale
How does a sculptor turn this history into a sculpture?
As a man of the people, the metal framework was made from a Jamaican “common man’s” mode of transportation, the bicycle, in the form of
’s national bird, the Swallowtail
Hummingbird. The hummingbird, although small (like Jamaica ) is a territorial fighter.
Called colibri by the Taíno and associated with gold. In both the
island and Central American empires the hummingbird is considered a brave
fighter that even challenges larger predatory birds. It is similar to Busta’s
struggles against the Jamaica British Empire. Mexica (Aztec) warriors, on whose graves
hummingbirds were placed, revered the fiesty bird.
THE VIEWER’S ROLE
While creating any artwork, the viewer is often kept in mind. Especially since I was schooled in advertising design, my aim has been to clearly communicate the message(s) within the piece.
THE ARTIST’S INTENT
Few people of the Americas are taught about Amerindian history and its impact on our current lives. So, after researching Taíno (the people who met Columbus in the Caribbean) mythology, I chose to recreate the Epic of Guahayona. Gua-ha-yo-nah, the First Shaman, whose name meant “Our Pride”. The epic was a cautionary tale.
He said to the (Taíno) women, “Leave your children and husbands and come away with me. And I will give you much gueyo.”
Gueyo was a green chewing tobacco, mixed with the salty ashes of an algae. Chewing it gives one a buzz.
Guahayona took the women away to the
(meaning “No Fathers”) and stranded them there. Guahayona then went on to
Guanin, the island
of Matinino . He then continued on to other adventures. [This epic influenced the naming of California by Cortez after the conquest of the Mexica (Aztec) Tripple Alliance, who had read Garci de Montalvo's popular 16th century novel "Las segras de Esplandian". The novel was about "black" Queen Califia from the Island of La California and her female island of Amazons. While in Baja California, Cortez had seen the Californiana Mountains in thje distance. He had thought that the mountains were the tip of Montalvo's island of "La California". The Guahayona Epic had been transcribed by Fr. Ramón Pané in Hispaniola (Ayti Bohio or Kiskeya), on the orders of Columbus, and soon ended up in Spain. The Taíno had begun to rebel against Spanish oppression and Columbus wanted to know more about them.]. Island
Sculptural Interpretation of a Myth
Using natural materials, I designed and built three sculptures as an installation for the epic of Guahayona's Travels in his life-sized canoe to Matinino (The Island of Women) and to Guanin (The Island of Gold)
Above: Guanin, The
Above: Enlargement with
shell eyes, inlayed mother-of-pearl and gold leaf wing feathers.
On this page (below) are
enlargements of "Matinino" with details of elements
associated with womanhood and childbirth. The artist used images incorporated
in the sculpture to emphasize the island "standing alone" concept and its
association with femininity.
Above: Enlargement with shell eyes, inlayed mother-of-pearl and gold leaf wing feathers.
On this page (below) are enlargements of "Matinino" with details of elements associated with womanhood and childbirth. The artist used images incorporated in the sculpture to emphasize the island "standing alone" concept and its association with femininity.
(Enlargements) of Island Women
Above: Taíno tri-pointed stone cemi of Yucahu the "God of the Sea, made in a shape reminiscent of the tuber, the yuca/cassava, born of the virgin mother, Attabey and Without Grandfathers."-- Dominican Republic.
|Above: Enlargement of sculpture's head. Carved from red sandstone, it is in the form of a tri-pointed cemi that is sometimes tied to a tree,|
Some Viewer’s Interpretation
Oh well, the viewer's opinions are primary!