Adorn, New Solo Exhibition by Paul Lewin Now On View at Betti Ono



Adorn is a series of surreal images inspired by traditional African motifs,
jewelry, adornments, and fashion. In most African cultures adornments are
not merely for decorative purposes. They convey values, beliefs, status,
and achievements. They play roles in ritual and ceremony while honoring
the gods, goddesses, and ancestors. They are a form of communication
and storytelling. They also speak of the deep connection African cultures
have to nature. This way of life has been passed down from generation to
generation dating all the way back to ancient Africa. Over time many of
these adornments and fashions have transformed and morphed into
modern day versions that still pay homage to the ancestors. New
hairstyles, jewelry and fashion all inspired by their ancient forms.

The work of Paul Lewin mixes traditional Caribbean and African imagery with visions of the surreal. The women in Adorn wear the traditional head coverings from the northern nomadic peoples of Africa. Although here they seem to be made of a strange organic shape shifting material. Some have large irregular shaped jewelry with traditional African patterns indicating a high status in their community. Others have natural hairstyles adorned by pendants animated with juju. Their foreheads have tiny African masks permanently attached to them indicating their connection to the spirit world. Some seem to have the ability to directly communicate with animals.

As an artist, Lewin has always been fascinated by the concept of alternate realities.