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Very Old and Very New 

Wednesday, Apr 28 2010
At “Past Forward: African Spirituality in Contemporary Black Art,” several Bay Area artists dig into old, old rituals and magics. “Through my art, I want to be a shaman, who is guided by the spiritual acumen of the ancestors, that shows others how to reach the other side of emotional and psychological pain,” says Ramekon O’Arwisters, whose work always has a wizardlike understanding of ancient symbols. Here, he contributes Sated Above the Salt, a throne for a bad mage, encrusted with tiny, glittering metal bits and flanked by, yes, white pillars. Among other things, his work reminds us that serious artists are probably the closest thing contemporary society has to magicians. The other reorganizations of artifact, ritual, and historical circumstance include the dreamy yet harsh video work of Kamau Patton; Karen Seneferu’s life-sized human-figure-based Techno-kisi II; and Willie Little’s Walking Sticks, meant to help you along. All are multilayered pieces that reward contemplation, and all are strikingly beautiful.
April 22-Aug. 19, 2010

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Hiya Swanhuyser


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