Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 4 December 2006

Axis Mundi

Some pictures can be found on Ana Galano’s Blog [eventually I’ll get my act together and all my artwork, etc. will be consolidated and uploaded to this site]. Here is a bad snapshot of one side of it at my aunt’s house before installation:

My aunt said it looks like a StarGate, and I celebrated. Woohoo!

A little note:  The interesting thing about the artwork is that it [or display/explanation of it] always manages to place me smack dab in the middle of an important life lesson.  It had become somewhat of a challenge and an integral part of this work [like Bricolage] to work only with what I had collected or could find around me*.  I was successful up until installation day; as I found myself driving to Home Depot to buy sand, I grew angry [and yes, I cried].  I had lost touch with my work and it was completely my fault.

02_02.jpg charm 1.jpg charm 2.jpg

There was something comforting about watching my mother sift the sand that my sister had infused with her energy and it mirrored the patience it took for me to clean up the grungy metal, figure out how to construct the pieces, collage the digital images and paint layer after layer after layer of the painting.  But here I was going against the whole process of patient reconstruction and meditative repetition; I still had not learned that one could only be accomodating up to a point and now I was compromising the integrity of the process – and, of course this means the integrity of my vision. Therefore, as usual, my desire to make everyone comfortable only ended up with the stifled portion of my psyche rearing it’s head and causing an uncomfortable situation anyway.**  I had to come back the next day when no one was there to complete the installation.  Again and as usual, Ana came to my rescue to supply the stabilizing energy needed…I don’t know what I would do without her.

Following is the ‘artist statement’ for the work.

21st Century Shaman…

The work in this installation is made from discarded building or construction material combined with digital images that have been transformed through my creative process – the layered application and personalization of spiritual symbols.  The central painting in Axis Mundi is a combination of Cuneiform, Greek, Binary Code, the Cross, the 8-spoked Dharma Wheel, the Yin Yang and an enlarged version of my handprint.  The space is marked by sand and stones collected from a performance by my sister and spiritual traveller – talisman for my own spiritual journey.

The Shaman travels the path that connects heaven and earth to bring back knowledge from the other world.  The work of the artist today, as in perpetuity, is to express a unique vision, while synthesizing the experiences of this world with their connection to the place in us all that makes up the world spirit.  It is a Herculean task that is necessarily layered over the backdrop of industry, the digital age and globalization.  One has to make and maintain a sacred space, either physical or mental, in order to sift through this background noise and find that singular expression or voice.

As a being caught between the ancient and the future, through my work and life-long study of both the religious and creative experience, I attempt a sustained reconnection to ancient spiritual knowledge that has subsequently been dimmed by living and standard education.  The expression of this synthesis between the “knowledge” that is taught to us and the “knowledge” that is ingrained in us is my method of transcending the subjectivity of these experiences.


* Unlike the thousands of dollars I spent for ‘A Phenomenological Approach’

Phenom crowd.jpg new-14.jpg PhenomGlow.jpg

** And so, I need to chant the little reminder that Charm has on her office wall – ‘When the Zen ends, the ass kicking begins’, hold on to my newly made staff and remember that in the 21st Century Shamans need to stand their ground or end up losing their footing along their path.

8 Dec. 2010 Update: Found the print version of the artist statement tonight so had to check to make sure it was in my ‘digital memory’ – Yay! it’s here.  It’s also one of the posts that needed clean-up. So here it is again… repost.


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