Roots of the Cotton Tree: Works by Paul Lewin • August 7- August 29, 2015
Opening reception: August 7th, 2015, 6pm-9pm • RSVP on Facebook
“Roots of the Cotton Tree” is a series of paintings inspired by scifi, fantasy, African folklore and Caribbean folklore.
“Throughout the Caribbean Islands and in Africa, silk cotton trees are considered sacred, a place where the spirits of our ancestors dwell in its roots. They can grow up to 80 feet tall with very large trunks. This was also a belief held by the Arawak and Taino tribes that inhabited the Islands for thousands of years prior.
The work reflects on the journey of my ancestors through the diaspora and of ourselves today as our stories continue to unfold. In the Caribbean much of the folklore that exists has been passed down from generation to generation, dating back to ancient Africa, and kept alive through the traditional art of storytelling. The Caribbean Islands are a melting pot of many different cultures, African, French, British, Chinese, Indian,The middle East, and Taino just to name a few. The early Afro-Caribbean communities refused to let go of their heritage and most traditions were passed on in secret. As they began to take root in their new lands the folklore of the Africans began to fuse with many of the other cultural traditions.
I found inspiration in the stories of our ancestors ability to use art and ritual as a means of psychological and cultural survival in a new world. Finding ways to adapt the old teachings and artistry within new surroundings in order to continue on. With this series I have chosen to tell my story through visual representation. Old folklores re-imagined through new experiences and new ideas of self. The work for this formed somewhere in the crosssection of Scifi, fantasy, and folklore. All the elements of my past,present,and future.
I like to mix traditional Caribbean and African motifs with surreal visions of nature and the ancestry that surrounds us daily. I hope to continue the rich tradition of storytelling that has inspired me and many others to keep creating and moving forward on our journey.”
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