Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Story of the finger bone

Here is the backstory to this piece called "Gold". As I was putting it together I decided I wanted to use a real finger bone. I felt it would add a discomforting brevity and remembrance to all those lost in the annals of history. Perhaps help it be remembered as one of those lessons from history where thousands of innocents died for greed of gold ( in light of current claims lobbied against oil rich land). So I went and ordered one from the Bone Room. So I get it in the mail and I feel really queer about it. I call the bone room and find out it was from China originally. I can't open it. It sits on the shelf for several weeks. I feel haunted by it. Who's finger bone was it? Was it from an executed convict, sold by permission of the family, robbed from a grave, what?

One day my friend came over and I asked her to open the package and we look at it and I just can't do it. I can't use it, can't look at it, let alone touch it,can't keep it in the house (my friend took it away). So much for me wanting to make others uncomfortable! I think now if I had used it it would have been too distracting. So I used a chicken bone, and I know what chicken it was because I ate it.

The point of the bone: represents the bones of thousands of women and children still buried in the fields where the camps once stood. Underneath the white woman is a black face because thousands of African women and children died in camps, not because the British thought them hostile, but because they lived and worked on Boer land.

So I even creep myself out with my own artwork sometimes.


Anonymous said...

Amazing piece! I just love it's meaning. VERY powerful! You are so talented! Thank you for sharing your art with us!

Jafabrit said...

Thanks angela,

I don't feel very talented at the moment. I have a show I need to create a piece for and I have spent hours in the studio for two days working on an idea and I am coming up with horrible stuff, arg! arg! arg!

I may be typical of many an artist, my best work is the next one and then the next and the next and so on. lol!

Colette Amelia said...

Well creep away. Us in our comforts and our inability to think about let alone have a life that makes us scared or makes us uncomfortable...pah! We got to get out of our closets and out from under our covers and see and experience the world for everything even the stuff that is disconcerting...thats what makes us wise.

(I still think the doll is scarier, I must have indeed been traumatized by one in a previous life or something)

dinahmow said...

Well, first up I said"that's not a finger!"
Then I read on and, yes, I think I can understand your reluctance to take your original idea all the way.
That said, I think a real finger would most certainly have punched home the intention.
But it's still a dramatic statement.

emm said...

You chickened out with the chicken bone- put the finger bone in! You can do it. Just commit, listen to Tool while you are doing it. It'll be ok and the piece will say what you really want to say.

HMBT said...

This one is so...crap I need a better vocab...deep. I love the work, I would have used the finger bone, but then I would have felt totally weird about it being around my home. It's not the putting together of the work sometimes that gives me the's learning what I was doing in the first place. I often finish a work and then learn what I was saying or thinking with the work...for the inside...and sometimes that means that I don't want to see it or live with it afterward, good work or not.

I hope that your working in studio time will render something that resonates with your inner self for your upcoming show....I hate it when that happens!
Love the splatter work above too...very cool!

emm said...

I had to get up early because I couldn't stop dreaming about the finger bone! The significance being- the finger bone begins your story, a lot of stories actually. Do I want to see it? I don't know. The truth is, I get weirded out when I'm in an antique store surrounded by dead people stuff and this is the ultimate in dead people stuff.

L.M.Noonan said...

This is a beautiful work. And it really doesn't matter what sort of bone it it really is because it conveys the message perfectly. I love the generouse monchrome frames you're using of late.
PS...I'm leaving 'the' work until after Xmas just to add that certain piquancy to the stress levels.

rosa n said...

I absolutely and completely LOVE this piece! The composition of it in the box is so perfect, the balance of the pieces and the painting is wonderful. And the story is also very intriguing, makes me want to go to wikipedia and learn more about the issue. I am officially inspired...

Jafabrit said...

colette I was never a one for wanting dolls as a kid, but what creeped me out was clowns and clown paintings or statues.
Thanks dinah, I think as it stands the current bone works and besides I haven't a clue what my friend did with the finger bone (got lost when she moved or mixed up with her box of bones)
ha ha chickened out emm, good one.

I know what you mean bad kitty.

ah loretta, by piquant do you mean you pull your hair out delicately or in a rage, eeek! I think I made a sort of breakthrough for what to use to support my statement on this new piece. I decided not to work on it further so I could spend a few days glorying in the possibility of it. Oh yes, the black wood frames really have become a signature style. I started to make them because I just couldn't afford framing and never could seem to find frames that complimented the images rather than distract.

Thankyou rosa, I appreciate the comments because I do find assemblage rather a challenge. I love demeng and wish I could do assemblages like that but I end up doing things that have a lean look. I never knew nor ever learned in school or elsewhere (it just wasn't discussed) that the British had concentration camps in which thousands died. I learned there was a war, that the Boers were the bad guys, but not the real story behind it.

Susie Q said...

Awe powerful.
What can I say? You are truly an artistic genius. I can hear you clucking over that but you are. No matter the type of bone, the message is there. Clear and loud. You make people think. Make them feel. Thank you for sharing it with us.


Lynette said...

This is a very amazing and powerful piece! I think the chicken bone is just as effective as a human bone would have been. It almost sounds like the finger bone was starting to haunt you, and maybe would continue to bother you placed in this piece.

Margot Potter said...

Hmmm...I tried to leave a comment. Blogger is so kooky.

I made a piece that was initially going to have real bones...then I ended up making my own bones out of polymer clay. It was a powerful process.

I can't believe you can buy real human bones?! Wow.

Beautiful work, as always.