Michael Matthews is a South African artist. He is the founder member of the DASART and AM.t.t. art groups. A group of artists that aim to express their sensibilities through physicality and prosthetic devices.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.
The Anamnesis is a series about remembering or recalling our recent past. The recent past of South Africa and in the broader sense of South African culture. The Anamnesis series uses metaphor to explore the idea that women perpetuate the atrocities of humanity. Women are used as a symbol of the power of matriarchy and the main transmitter of cultural values. The works attempt to recall stereo types in a South African recent history. The women have been presented as a ‘Venus’ type figures; a symbol of fertility and fecundity. At the same time the women’s sexual organs, that are stylized, are displayed as weapons. The women are aggressive and independent, in no way is she going to be seen as a victim. She is taking responsibility for her role in history and in culture.
All the women are depicted as the same with only one item identifying their cultural group. The hat is used to symbolise the cultural group of the woman – the ‘kappie’ for Boer, the ‘ischolo’ for Zulu and the head veil, hijab, Berka or Niqab for Muslim, Catholic and Judeo-Christian women. The image of the woman in ‘Anamnesis I _III’ is juxtaposed with a metaphor for/of their culture.
TITLE: ANAMNESIS - VOLKSHERTALL.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC, OIL ON CANVAS.
SIZE: 2800 X 4290 mm.
(Three panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews Anamnesis Volkshertaal - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTQfPMvkT6I
In ‘Anamnesis - Volkswerk’ the Boer woman is juxtaposed with a cesspool of snakes that have been embroidered into a cloth. The snake literally seen as a symbol of evil as found in the biblical story of the Garden of Eden with Eve as the temptress of man. In this work, she sews the snake into a pattern of her design, an emblem, revealing her power. Unlike historical Venus’s in this work she ignores the viewer and gazes at the fruit of her labour in a longing way.
In ‘Anamnesis II’ the Zulu woman is juxtaposed with a crocodile that has a threaded surface that typifies beadwork and a detail of her hand. The crocodile is an ancient creature that seemingly reflects a subconscious state and is often considered by many cultures to be the physical manifestation of an ancestor. The hardened protective skin seems to have a beaded finish in its regular repetitious shapes and smooth surface. Beadwork is traditionally considered to be women’s work and an ‘isicabha’ (apron) of sewn beads is worm protectively in front of the genitals in many ceremonies – such as at the wedding ceremony. In this work the woman is possibly involved in a ceremony as she dances a rhythmic dance which is echoed by the serpentine movement of the crocodile.
In ‘Anamnesis - Slegsvolk’ the Muslim or Judeo-Christian woman is juxtaposed with a shark and an open hand. The woman confronts the viewer in a challenging way – front on. The open hand seemly has vagina stigmata on it, or a henna design, suggestive of a third eye. Note that the tips of the fingers are dipped in gold, as with the teeth and jihab. The shark, also cunt-like is volumetrically contrary to the fecund pregnant woman. A void verses a solid. Aggressive and threatening seemingly the mouth of death rather than of birth. The jihab is interesting in itself in that is seen on the one hand as suppressing women’s identity whereas many people see it as liberating women removing them from been objectification.
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews Anamnesis Volksheid - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76s4HYwklI8
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews: Anamnesis-Volkspele - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZrBgfXziOA
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews: Anamnisis - Volkstrot - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ8nGYDSeZY
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews Volkstaal - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIwmJaRCoqg
For more detailed information please visit the below web sites:
MICHAEL MATTHEWS BLOG: http://mxm2000.wordpress.com