Parallel Spirits

Parallel Spirits

For years at the Art Students League I studied African and Mexican Art, in a continual search to identify the resemblance between both.

I decided that getting to know someone requires to spend some time living with them, so during my sojourn to Mexico I painted ornamental Mexican and African designs to show that the two of them could coexist harmoniously on the same plane.

After 25 years in Mexico I realized that for certain groups in Mexican society, synthesizing African and Mexican art could have a potentially incendiary significance. However, while looking at a pair of sculptures I possess, I saw something that had eluded me for 40 years.

Eureka! I had found it, the spiritual bond between African and Indian art, considering that the great Mexican art was created by Indian civilizations.

As a result of this discovery I painted Parallel Spirits. The female is Ashanti and the male is Aztec. The Ashanti concept of ideal beauty is long necks, high forehead and a small mouth. This reminds me of an exhibit I had some years ago where a lady, while looking at my paintings, told me: “I just love your work, especially those long necks… you are surely influenced by Modigliani.” My answer was: “No ma’am, I was influenced by the Africans and so was Modigliani.” However, the spiritual content of both expressions gives significance to the form of African and Indian in my painting, Parallel Spirits.