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    Ijosˇ Benin

436 Sherbourne Street Studio 5
Toronto, ON
tel: 416 435 3638
www: ijosˇ benin


Artists Statement:

statement of work Identity is a personalized mask that hides the private self, the private face; antithetical to notions of 'true self', our various masks also mirror as aspects of our 'true face'. These present works are formed from scratchy lines of early figurative works on angels and later works on fall/soar (descent/ascent); here, themes of death/rebirth, flight and slipping identity emerge: the desire to be born again. In these paintings, I play with representations of the mask(face) of the Benin Queen Idia. As the face(mask) that graced Africa's largest arts and cultural festival, she represents longing and loss; she spells 'past', inconceivable loss/gain. Within these paintings, she is generalized into a mask of a personalized identity with a past removed from, yet oddly comfortable in the present. Inherently palimpsest, these paintings are visual palindromes: a revelation of diverse layers of meaning, when turned upside down, retains expression. To ease my dissatisfaction at the speedy pace of completion of past works and because of lower back pains, small irregular flowers/images are repeated incessantly, to give an expression of release or suffocation. The intention is to create labour intensive repetitive work that maintains still a sense of spontaneity. ijosˇ benin

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