Look carefully at these two paintings by Colbert Mashile, and then answer these questions, before reading the artist’s words below:
- What do these two works each seem to you to depict?
- What feeling do they evoke for you? How do they convey this feeling?
“I come from a place that is shrouded by powerful cultural norms and customs. At the age of 10, I had to undergo initiation rituals with my peers of the same age. My immediate response to the horror and trauma of the event was suppressed until a later stage when I realised … how traumatised I was. I decided to heal myself by dealing with these experiences in my
artworks whereby I try to use psychological images which I feel comfortable with in an attempt to replace horrific scenes, sights and sounds of the initiation ritual … The work depicts shadowy images deriving from the emotional experiences of initiation … I try to be as truthful as possible such as the use of earthy colours and jagged edges … The work is attempting to understand a perception widely acknowledged in my culture, about the secretive ritual of initiation.” Colbert Mashile
Talk About This
Do Colbert Mashile’s words change your perception of his works at all?
What do you think about the ideas that he expresses?
Should it ever be possible to challenge or change
Do you think that harsh or physically painful aspects of rituals like these are necessary to the process, in order to achieve their intended outcome?
Many societies and communities no longer have any traditional rituals to mark growing up. Does this matter, do you think?
Has something else fulfilled that tradition in any of the societies or communities you know?