“Temple of the Wooden Mask”
Jamaican-born painter Paul Lewin creates intricate paintings that draw from world history, West African and West Indian cultures, and various artistic and scientific movements.
In his latest exhibition, “Behind the Wooden Mask,”Lewin explores the religious and cultural significance of masks.
“In many cultures of Africa and the African diaspora, ceremonial masks are sacred portals to the surrounding spirit world. Masks are used in many social, spiritual, and religious ceremonies. In these events, it is said that the one who wears the mask becomes possessed by it’s spirit. They are transformed into a sort of medium, allowing for dialogue between the spirits, the community, the ancestors, and the natural world. In our daily lives we are surrounded by spirits, gods, goddesses and the souls of departed members of our community. Behind the wooden mask this world comes a…live. A place where there is no boundary between the living and the dead. Where the spirits of the animals, the forces of nature, and the ancestors are all held in sacred regard. Behind the wooden mask we are able to tap into the collective memory of Africa and express it through our traditional forms of art, music, dance, and ritual. The paintings in this series are inspired by our connection and interaction with the natural and the spiritual. Each piece attempts to blur the lines between our world and that of the world of the spirits. Behind the wooden mask we go within, to the eternal. And we go home.”
“Of Earth and Sky”
“Behind the Wooden Mask” is currently on view at Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland California from now until January 14th.