Charmaine Watkiss

Sacred Guardian of the Eternal II

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Year 2023
Medium Pencil, coffee, watercolour and 22ct gold leaf on paper
Dimensions 29.7 x 21cm

About the work

My practice explores the botanical legacies of the Caribbean and traces that lineage back to Africa. Much of my work looks at healing traditions particularly plant medicines; the knowledge of which travelled with the enslaved from Africa to the Americas. This work looks at Indigo which was a crop grown on the plantations. This colour was once one of the world’s most valued pigments, and at the height of it’s production more valuable than gold. Long before that trade there was a sacred tradition on the continent connected to Indigo, which goes back as far as Ancient Egypt.

This woman is able to communicate between this world and the next. The symbol on the boat portrays how the Congo-Angolan people viewed the interaction between the spiritual and material world, believing these two worlds intertwine. The use of cosmograms can be found in many Caribbean cultures notably in Brazil and Cuba.

Career Highlights

Notable exhibitions:

Drawing Attention: emerging artists in Dialogue (A British Museum touring show) – York Art Gallery 2024;

Liverpool Biennial – uMoya: The sacred return of lost things 2023;

O Quilombismo – Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2023;

Spirit in the Land – Nasher Museum, USA 2023;

The Wisdom Tree, Solo show – Leeds Art Gallery 2022;

Breakfast Under the Tree – Curated by Russel Tovey – Carl Freedman Gallery, 2021.

Collections: The British Museum; Leeds Art Gallery; The Government Art Collection; Cartwright Hall Museum, Bradford; Abbot Hall Museum, Kendal; Nasher Museum at Duke University USA; International private collections.

← Yu-Chen Wang


Esther Pearl Watson →

Water from comet-sized celestial bodies are stored in their ships.

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