Cynthia Minden

Artist, Sculptor

ANIMA-L

Artist Statement, August 2019

Here is a gathering of souls, in waiting or repose, lined up, perhaps in migration. The interconnection between humans and animals is as old as our beginnings.

These sculptural forms, along with the masks harken back to ancient times and move us forward in the continuum of human and animal relationships. I am playing with ideas about archetypes and ancestral memory, also ritual and metaphor through the sculptures and the masks in particular and with these ideas in mind.

Living and engaging with animals offers me a deep source of connection and relationship. Blended into this connection is my unease about world events - from caravans of displaced people to the horrendous donkey skin trade between Africa and China ... these issues inform my work also.

Donkey modified (chewed and stripped) branches form the linear structure for these sculptures, the donkeys becoming collaborators in the work. The upright branches may also reference symbolic staffs, wands or relics.

I am working with a technique called random weave. This intermingling of materials is an opportunity to create order from chaos - the artist must strive to "tame" a mass of reeds or vines without following a prescribed pattern. Randomness and chance play a role, yet there is a structure and intention.

Felted balls made from donkey hair brushed out in springtime are contained within some of the sculptures. The sorting, cleaning, then bunching and rolling in the palms of my hands is the most basic of work; I could be working with dough or mud. The rhythmic rolling to compress the fibre is my connection to the ancient souls of many animals.

Worn-out fly masks have been repurposed to art masks, the material being very similar to needlepoint canvas. The masks, like the sculpture, reference ritual, tribalism animals. We are all in disguise at some time.