Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mama JuJu

How strange these past couple of months have been.
For one (thankfully brief) moment, I thought perhaps I'd had enough of "art" and slumped into an unmotivated, non-creative phase that was filled up with some personal and health related issues and (even more distractingly) enormous volumes of information about animals and volunteering at Adelaide Zoo. Although I consider myself an accomplished multi-tasker (this is not is actually quite often a curse), I was finding it almost impossible to diss-asociate myself from a new and deeper understanding of the plight of the earths wildlife, enough to even concentrate on, let alone produce, any new artwork. I have to tell you, this stuff is consuming.
So, a couple of weeks ago I made a decision to take a conscious, forced break from animal related matters so that I could (hopefully) gain a little perspective. So that is what I've done.....and it seems to be working. The funny thing is, now that I've (temporarily) cut off the supply of wildlife information (books, documentaries, internet etc.) the mountain of facts that have been jumbled and crammed into my brain are sorting themselves out very nicely in a calm, non-invasive way. I'm still passionate about animals (probably even more so), but things are starting to balance themselves now.
So, to Mama JuJu.
This is a piece that I started sculpting two years ago, but abandoned at an early stage in favour of other more pressing pieces. I still wasn't sure what she was going to be, even after painting her but, my kids were re-watching "The Office" episodes and in one of them Michael gives Angela the character of "Mama JuJu" during a How to Host a Murder game (brilliant episode, by the way).
I loved that name, so decided to make her into a kind of voodoo witch-doctor complete with all the stereotypical paraphernalia. She is holding a little doll that I sewed up by hand and has pouches and shrunken heads (which were huge fun to sculpt!) hanging off her costume. All of the fabrics used are hand-dyed and she has human hair adorned with feathers and combed out hessian. Her necklace incorporates real bird bones which I've meticulously bleached and cleaned.
I'm happy with how she's turned out and it's very satisfying to finally complete a character that has been sitting around staring at me accusingly every time I walk past her. She kind of reminds me of those wonderfully overblown Disney villain(esses) like Ursula from 'The Little Mermaid'.....all smiles and enticement one minute and sticking a pin in your eye the next. Lovely!
Till next time.