Maria Mbokha McInerney
This work is a psycho-geographical meditation on site and place, in particular the landscapes and environment of Kenya, where I was born, and of Ireland, where I have lived for 20 years. It draws upon the ideas of contemporary African artists exhibiting in the West, who examine the idea that the fundamental forms of communication across diverse cultures allow different perspectives that challenge and enrich us. The use of a variety of materials and techniques reflects the duality of my background.
In the batik side panels, the chestnut represents Ireland and the tamarind Kenya. Seeds represent the abundant life and hope for the future that nature offers. The central panel reflects the African idea that nature is spirit-filled and deserves reverence. African Masks were traditionally used in ceremonial celebrations to represent the spirit world and were believed to be endowed with magical powers. Red paint represents the tears of the forest shed for the destruction visited on nature today.
In the combined material pieces, the circle represents the unity, completeness, and harmony of nature, as well as its beauty. Nature gives us life, beauty, and sustenance but when we use power to exploit her, we destroy something in ourselves as well as in our world.