Media - Paintings
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Colbert Mashile Is a young artist from Johannesburg Who's Work deals with tradition, customs and rituals as well as attitudes prevalent in society. As a young boy, Mashile had to undergo certain circumcision rites that left him with a lot of emotional trauma and psycological confusion.
"I was born in 1972 in Bushbuckridge (Northern Province). I come from a place which is shrouded by powerful cultural norms and customs.
At the age of 10 I had to undergo initiation rituals with my peers of the same age. The ritual in the Bushbuckridge area is not based on issues of transforming boys into men as such, but to reinforce tradition. At that age it is impossible for boys to become men physically and emotionally. My immediate response to the horror and trauma of the experience was suppressed until a later stage when I realised that I had difficulty in looking at gaping wounds of injured people, especially the wounds that were inflicted for ceremonial purposes. I then realised how traumatised I was. I decided to heal myself by dealing with these experiences in my artworks whereby I try to use psycological images which I feel comfortable with in an attempt to replace horrific scenes, sights and sounds of the initiation ritual. I am not necessarily advocating the demise of the practice, but just to express my individual feeling which I believe would be shared by others who have endured the same. In most cases such psychological trauma is rarely spoken about because the general perception of the initiate is to have a sense of pride and belonging. This is a long process of healing which I believe will end when I finally accept that the pain and horror is gone forever.
The work depicts shadowy images deriving from the emotional experiences of initiation. Formally the work seems hard and unforgiving to beauty-seeking eyes. I try to be as truthful as possible such as the use of earthy colours and jagged edges. The numbers which can been seen on the artwork speak of the years and ages which highlight important events in my life."
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