Friday, June 10, 2011
I began this canvas with the intention to create it in a similar aesthetic as the male Massai piece. I found it interesting though, to apply my own outlook to their otherwise unknown personality. Where the male Massai warrior is naturally invested in his own culture, native influences and traditions, the female Massai has been introduced one way or another to modern western culture's; in this case Hip Hop culture. She's intrigued with the movement and diversity of the elements, specifically graffiti and breaking, but enjoys the mysterious abstractions of turntablism. She relates to the Emcee in a spiritual sense, the cypher reminds her of her ancestors ancient rituals which are composed of raw energy, individualism, a sense of combat and inner release - much like a cypher in any Hip Hop form.
She has yet to really discover the intricacies of the culture and only knows the absolute basics at this point, which is vital to her understanding of the actual culture, and not the commercialized, corporate aspects which are far easier to access. She does her own tags whenever she can, teaching young Massai about it and encourages them to try themselves. The adult's don't disagree with her expression, but do all agree amongst each other that she should stay focused on her responsibilities in the tribe. The elder's enjoy this newly found craft of her's, they've taken notice and grant that such activities help her keep in touch with the spirit world and her fallen ancestors. These new found elements of Hip Hop are ones she's adopted to the point where some may call it a religious endeavor, she now knows that there is a beautiful world beyond her land.
I chose to convey this narrative with her because I too feel that strongly about Hip Hop culture. I include it in my everyday life in one way or another through music, painting, writing, digging, learning etc. essentially though it was her expression that I saw that triggered that idea to take form, which is the main plane of inspiration with all these recent portrait pieces.