JAMES REKA – Mother Earth
Acrylic & Aerosol on canvas
126 x 160 cm, 2022
Part of the “Eden” series.
“This collection of artworks titled ‘EDEN’ explores the theme of desire and the underlining flawed nature of mankind – the realisation that we are not perfect nor exempt from falling for temptation. One of the humanistic, defining elements of man, at least in our modern society, is the balance between desire and morality. Many of us, understand this core challenge in life, that we always want, what we can’t have.
I have sought here to relate to these Primal urges that lead us to instinctively explore ourselves and our surroundings, the eternal catalyst of discovery and pleasure that leads us into temptation.
This is what lead me to draw upon the metaphorical ‘Garden of Eden’ references that abound in scriptures and texts, from the book of Genesis. It is the fruit that was forbidden to Adam and Eve, but to which they succumbed. It symbolises the battle between good and evil that overcame their Garden of Eden, the same battle that rages even today in our modern lives.
But how many times a day do you jeopardise your own “salvation” when you are tempted? After all, the breadth of “sins” we commit daily threatens the pathway to our potential paradise and we risk the fate of banishment that was wrought upon Adam & Eve.
That’s why the representation of fruit is a critical symbol in this series, a metaphorical form that alludes to sinful or forbidden pleasure.
Central to the garden theme of this series, are the influences of my new life in Malta. Since moving from Berlin I have been exploring this collection of islands and I have been inspired by its ancient Neolithic history and culture, tracing back to pre 5000BC. Visiting and understanding the ancient temples scattered across the islands has been a significant influence on my work for this exhibition. I have used the Symbology, the sacred geometry of the megalithic structures and the natural colours and soft light of the Mediterranean.
I took inspiration from the full-bodied female “mother-figure” statues, that once were residents of the ancient temples of this historical landscape. This has allowed me to overlay their form in a series of figurative canvas works, focusing on the contrast of fruit & “nature” elements, with abstract elements of the human form. This is an abstracted composition of organic life, inviting the viewer to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between Mankind & Nature. These artworks also incorporate symbols of nature and in this Eden setting, I have used a richer colour palette for the background of these works, referencing the fruits and colours of the Mediterranean contrasted with a grey-scale colour palette for the female figures referencing its stone-like statue forms.” James Reka
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