Charmaine Watkiss

Philosophising consciousness from string theory..

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Year 2020
Medium Pencil, watercolour, and ink on watercolour paper
Dimensions 29.7 x 21 cm

About the work

I am interested in the exploration of duality in relation to African and African/Caribbean belief systems. The Dogon in their cosmology speak of the Nommo who are primordial ancestral figures, connected to the star Sirius. In Yoruba there are the Ibeji, who are twin deities said to have magical powers, and in Jamaican lore there is the duality of the Duppy and the shadow, which has its origins in the Ashanti culture of Ghana. The duality at play is between the visible and the invisible; the known self versus the unconscious; and the physical versus the ancestral.

About the artist:

Born 1964 London, Charmaine Watkiss lives and works in London. Graduated from BA Contemporary Media Practice, University of Westminster (1994); and MA Drawing, UAL Wimbledon College of Art (2018).

Watkiss’ work addresses themes including diaspora, ritual, tradition, ancestry and cosmology. Her interest in the usage of blue stems from her research into the long history of indigo including its production on the plantations of colonial America and the Caribbean, and sacred use in ancient African cultures, particularly with reference to the funerary rites, spiritual beliefs and cosmologies of West African and ancient Egyptian cultures. She draws connections between ancient tradition, knowledge and our lives – asking what role ritual and its practice plays in contemporary experience.

Selected exhibitions include The Abstract Truth of Things, Tiwani Contemporary Gallery, London (2020); Me, Myself and I, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London (2020); Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, The Gallery, De Montford University, Leicester (2020); Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London (2019); Thinking Graphite, Drawing Projects UK, Trowbridge (2019); Figure This!, Thames Side Studios Gallery, London (2019); Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, Salisbury Museum (2019); Out of Darkness, St John on Bethnal Green, London (2019); Wimbledon College of Art MA Degree Show, London (2018); Against Static (Curated by Tania Kovats), Wimbledon Space, London (2018); Lumen Residency Exhibition, Crypt Gallery, London (2018); and New Perspectives, The Centre for Recent Drawing, London (2017).

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