I stumbled across this documentary recently. I'm a big fan of traditional African art but it was the mention of Dogon tribe that prompted me to watch it. I'm sure many of you will know them for being singled out in Von Daniken's fun fest but as West African artisans they are second to none. However, Western tastes and a perverse fetish for "used" idols and masks have not only created a black market and thriving counterfeit trade but are also the reasons the Dogon and many tribes like them have been subject to an almost complete freeze of cultural development. Griff Ryhs Jones is at his cheeky best in this BBC piece from 2013. Not only does this put him in good stead to dig like few would dare but he is able to bring striking parallels to not only contemporary art but I believe also low brow and dark art. It's for this reason I'm sharing it here. Please excuse the YouTube host, but BBC I player is no longer hosting this series. Click settings and turn off annotations to be rid of the silly yellow link.
13 May 2017
|From left to right: The Venus of Hohle Fels, |
The Venus of Dolní Věstonice,
The Venus of Willendorf
I may be slightly premature but there is method to this madness. Here in the Southern Hemisphere, tomorrow is Mothers Day. Like most holidays these days, crass commercialism often masks ideas and dilutes our reason. Not at those moments with shy eyes and lumpy throats we pass our cards or hand over gifts. Those eyes and throats know, it’s the TV ads, rushing round or the too busy to ring moments that steal so I wanted to snatch back from life this year for just a second.
Everyday of my life I walk past a photo of my Mother. It hangs in the hall in a modest black frame taken two years after I was born. She is leaning close to me as I clutch the edge of a no-doubt orange or green 70’s sofa balancing myself, in black and white. Not for style as the fading shades testament but because that was another time. Before the tellings off of my naughties, the disapprovings of my teens or eye rollings of my 20’s. Long before my memories permit my Mum sat perched, ready to catch me if I fell. This has never changed. It’s often the trees hiding the forest and in this respect a day out of 365 seems pale to bated breath, edge of seat for god knows how long but if moments and photos like this teach me anything it’s don’t wait to say thank you, or I love you or I couldn’t do this without you or you don’t look any different to me than you do in that photo Mum.
If you ever find yourself working your ass off, trying that little bit harder or taking a little more care just so someone might be proud of you. Know then that you are lucky and know they cared long before you’ll ever know. Happy Mothers Day to all the Mums and thank you to all the women who have featured in my life. Thank you for the time, lessons and helping me become a better Man. To the Mum’s to be, may you know all the reasons why…