Importance of Art and Culture
A Reflection with Khanya’s portrait
Primal Light and the Alchemy of Fire
The light, companion of humanity since the beginning of time is, without question, one of the most important elements for the life of the human race.
Over tens of thousands of years the light, that intangible ally that makes possible and illuminates our existence, gradually became for our ancestors related to the importance of art and culture. This, especially for the works and achievements of builders and artists.
It was that concept that, as if it were a conducting thread, goes through creativity from the most remote past to the present day.
About 1O.OOO years ago, averaging the end of the last glaciation, some human groups that still developed their lives as hunters and gatherers. They began to establish the first settlements and as a consequence, also the first rudimentary constructions and buildings.
The improvement of the climate and the increasing adaptation to its new sedentary condition, led to the discovery of agriculture, which, in turn, also led to the gradual but constant increase of populations in the settlements.
While the first urban centers were formed, new social needs emerged. For example, in the attempt to preserve their rituals or the spiritual foundations acquired during their nomadic life or perhaps because of the need to establish new hierarchies and symbols in the growing populations.
From a certain time or moment of the development of those primitive societies and coinciding with the beginning of the Neolithic period, megalithic constructions spread across wide geographical areas of Europe. Other latitudes begin to appear; examples of which are Stonehenge, in England; the alignments of Carnac, in France or the Dolmen de Soto in Spain (Huelva).
Skilled under the sky
The most surprising is that, in addition to developing the technological skills to displace and couple the huge stone blocks of these ancient and magnificent constructions. They also had the ability to give extraordinary importance to the control and guidance of sunlight based on their ritual and spiritual needs. They were mastering the technique of getting that light to penetrate the interior of the monuments, on seasonally appointed dates, particularly in the Winter and Summer Solstices.
This, on the other hand, records that they also had great mastery over some astronomical knowledge without which they could not have achieved such extraordinary light effects inside the megalithic monuments.
In this way, the importance they attributed and the dominance they obtain of the sunlight, became an intrinsic element of the megalithic constructions themselves. It increased the aura of spirituality and respect for those spaces of worship, particularly dedicated to ritual meetings and collective burials, as has been determined by most researchers and anthropologists after conducting excavations and in-depth studies around the world.
But although for the humans of our time as well as for our ancestors, the original light is the light of the sun, we must not forget that many millennia before the first megalithic monuments were built, mankind already had knowledge and mastery of another form of light and heat without which our path to the future would have been much more uncertain. Of course, we mean fire.
Leaving aside the great advances that were developed as a result of the domain of fire, such as those related to the eating habits and customs of men and women of remote prehistory, we could not explain some of the most beautiful artistic manifestations that emerged in those remote times of the history of Humanity, such as the extraordinary paintings found in the depths of hidden caves.
Light and pigments
It is exciting to imagine those ancient artists working feverishly in the light of great torches, perhaps following some religious magic ritual, hallucinated, transmuting in art that alchemy of fire, light and pigments, to leave us their pristine art as an indelible mark of their passage through this world. The light, as already said, has always been our faithful ally and companion.
Dreams and desires
But beyond being a cause and motive of our existence, it has also meant a challenge, particularly for artists who have tried, since immemorial time, to capture in the vision of their art, that each one of them has of things, of reality or simply of their dreams and desires. Reproducing in their works the light of these elements is the greatest challenge that pictorial art poses to artists.
The Importance of Art and Culture
For the graffiti artist and muralist MANOMATIC these are some of the keys to the realization of the portraits of his new collection in the paintings in which the artist has been working. It is an imaginary and creative study, where he tries to capture representations of these people in their daily lives and inquire into the past to tell that story from an almost anthropological paradigm, but always with his own tools, which are provided by contemporary art and use of graffiti.
Through his painting, he explores that remote universe of shapes and colors and invites the viewer to immerse himself in a time and a past that tells the story of his ancestors in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, present-day Huelva.
Immersed in his creative process, he orientates his imaginary and fantasy towards painting a series of portraits modified and worked from the treatment of color, either by combining certain pigments similar to those already existing in the prehistoric period, particularly white, black and red, either with totally current pigments such as blue, green or yellow or by combining both.
Art in Huelva
The iconographic images that he has been incorporating in his works belong to the engravings of the decorated orthostats, blocks or vertical slabs, found in the Dolmen of Soto in Huelva.
They are forms carved in the slabs of the tombs of what is believed to be warriors who lived in this area of the peninsular southwest and are part of this collective burial.
Series of portraits
The artist plays with the ancestral fire and the primal light, going back to the moment of the original creation, giving genesis to the character of Khanya, a mythological woman that at the same time carries the light and takes care of the fire. She is one of the characters represented in the new series of portraits of the graffiti artist MANOMATIC for his new collection called IDENTITY (Ortostatos and Skhema series).
”The one that shines”
Khanya, word that means “the one that shines” in Zulu’s language, is the woman who keeps the embers lit that will serve the life and survival of the men and women of her community; It will, therefore, be responsible for fire and light, vital elements that beyond the utilitarian, become true guardians whose presence represents the benefactor breath of the protective spirits.
MANOMATIC, through these characters, wants to pay tribute to their ancestors, using the symbology of light as an artistic continuum that represents, as a true Identity, both their homeland and their own vital project.
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