Artist as Shaman
Artist Workshop and Exhibition
With Professor Elfriede Dreyer
Workshop 31 January – 4 February 2022
Exhibition 5 - 19 February 2022
Venue: Unit 37, Barbecue Bend Corporate Campus, Kyalami, Midrand
Art and Collect Gallery
Why is shamanic practice becoming relevant again in contemporary art?
In a time of crisis, people look for solutions to transcend their current state of being. They try to find alternatives to and transcendence from what they are experiencing at that particular point in time. To some extent, covid has brought this condition on and induced a search for vision, for a path forward and for ways and means to reimagine the world.
The roles of the shaman and the artist have always been tied to vision and a position of being between two worlds: that of the visible and the invisible. The artist makes the invisible visible, and the shaman aims to transcend the visible and enter into another realm. Shamanism has roots outside of the West, in the cultures of indigenous peoples across the world, extending through Siberia, Australia, and Africa, as well as the Americas and pre-modern Europe. But shamanism itself is not a formalised system of beliefs or an ideology.
In the modern world, the artist has largely taken over the role of the shaman. For our purposes in this workshop, we are interested in the artist as shaman in three roles: as endowed with special sight, insight and power; as transformer; and as healer.
The workshop aimed to rekindle creativity in thinking and doing, and present artists with alternative ideas for artmaking.
There was focus on each participant’s individual art production, techniques and thought processes. Advanced experimental thinking and creativity was cultivated and developed. Each participant produced at least one new artwork during the workshop. Artists were encouraged to move out of their comfort zone and become a shaman!
The key concepts and processes for this workshop were: Earth consciousness | Ritualistic and meaningful objects | Rapture, transcendence | Yearning for ‘another‘ world | Transcendental experience | Healing | Transformation | Movement | Cosmogram | Bodygram | Masks | Collectivity
Outcomes mainly concerned the processes of transformation and transcendence. Artists aimed to find alternative processes for existing thinking; new ideas, approaches and solutions for existing situations and 'problems'; and a corporeal approach to identity in order to transcend the limitations of the given/present.
Exhibition at Unit 37
The workshop culminated in an exhibition of artworks opening on Saturday 5 February 2022 at 11 am – 1 pm and continuing
until 19 February 2022.
The Exhibition and final works