Kitawa: The Thinking Hand and the Making Mind (Hardback)Giancarlo M. G. Scoditti (author)
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Sketching and carving both visualize and memorize a given image, but within Nowau culture the manner in which this is achieved in a canoe prowboard is entirely different than in a conventional drawing. When studying the impressive ceremonial canoes of Kitawa, in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea, G.M.G. Scoditti became struck by the absolute predominance of the artist's mind in the process of creating images: all its stages, its uncertainties and experimentation, must unfold within its silent, rarefied space. Only once fully formed can the image be revealed to the village in material form.
Reflecting on the absence of orthographic writing within Nowau culture, and finding parallels with poetic and musical composition, Scoditti gained further insight into the Nowau processes of creation through the critiques the Kitawan carvers made of his own fieldwork sketchbooks. Spurred on by their curiosity, the anthropologist handed over his art materials to the master carvers to make their own drawings on paper or cardboard. Traditional pigments used on the polychrome canoe prowboards were added to the unfamiliar media of watercolour, acrylic, coloured pencils and ballpoint pen. Three-dimensional ornamentation became two-dimensional as images of self-decoration and huts were added to those of prowboards. This exercise was all the more fascinating given the prohibition of drawing on the surface of the wood before carving. On return to Italy, further graphic dialogues unfolded when an architect and an artist from the tradition of Italian Abstraction responded with their own intriguingly different interpretations of the canoe prowboard and its relationship to the Nautilus shell. All these drawings are brought together in this book, along with Scoditti's own sketches from fieldwork and ethnographic collections in Newcastle upon Tyne and Rome.
'The fieldworker's or museum ethnographer's sketches are never going to be quite the same. Through the double filter of Kitawan philosophy and Scoditti's ruminations, the apparently simple triad of sketch - drawing - carving opens out into a discourse on the creative mind. The Kitawan creator - here primarily the male carver - does not have to demonstrate how he creates, and what springs from these pages have a fascination of their own. Several distinctive hands, Kitawan and Italian, reflect from different interpretive and professional vantage points on the very process of drawing through doing exactly that, drawing. The result are images that delight and challenge, sensitively assembled, beautifully reproduced. An extraordinary record of creativity, and a rare corpus of visual memorials.' - Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern, University of Cambridge
Publisher: Sean Kingston Publishing
Number of pages: 201
Weight: 975 g
Dimensions: 280 x 216 x 18 mm
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