Saturday, August 13, 2016


 Newly completed Healing Goddess (next to Nigerian helmet mask) by Robyn Gordon

"Our work as artists is courageous and scary. There is no brief that comes along with it, no problem solving that's given as a task....An artist's work is almost entirely inquiry based and self-regulated. It is a fragile process of teaching oneself to work alone, and focusing on how to hone your quirky creative obsessions so that they eventually become so oddly specific that they can only be our own." - Teresita Fernandez

Since I've just completed carving my healing goddess I thought I would share with those interested about what initially inspired me to carve her. The new carving is a late addition to a series of Healing Goddesses I carved several years ago.

From an old series several years ago.

A primitive Songye figure or Nkisi (from the Democratic Republic of the Congo) started my thought process about doing a series.

Image courtesy of Boris Kegel-Konietzko

I thought he was rather ugly at first though some would disagree because he has a raw, primitive energy and charm and in any case he was not created to be a work of art but an Nkisi. An Nkisi  is a power figure that is believed to have protective powers for the owner and his family. 

Wrapped around the large figure are a number of smaller figures which could be handed out to those who needed protection from evil or misfortune. When the need for protection had disappeared the small figures would then be returned  to the bigger figure. 

I fell in love with this Songye Ceremonial vessel. It is a gourd with an inner basket (containing potatoes, I think) and several miniature power figures attached to the outside.

I think the vessel has a feel-good quality about it as opposed to the slightly uneasy feeling I get from the Nkisi. 

Nestled amidst the wood shavings on my worktable .... a favourite place to photograph my carvings.

It was important to me that my Healing Goddesses exuded a feel good energy and I can only hope that I've achieved that. It was certainly therapeutic to carve them.