Oxidised silver leaf on nails, earth, coffee, water and acrylic on wood
125 x 122 cm35’000 USD excl. taxes
Alexis Peskine’s deeply poetic and engaged large-scale portraits, rendered with gold coated nails hammered into wood, bring ancestral history and wisdom to the fore, channeling collective experiences in a unique yet universal language. His choice of nails as primary medium evokes the symbolism and traditions of the Minkisi Nkondi ‘power figures’ from the Congo Basin, believed to possess a multitude of gifts. The magical power of the figures is activated by the insertion of nails into the carved figure, stirring and animating the Nkisi Nkondi to action and granting the medium a bond between the invisible and visible world. Passage (Lemanja’s Tears) draws attention to the historical Middle-Passage, the forced voyage of Africans across the Atlantic, after being taken from the coast of West Africa to America. The work emphasizes the importance of traditional African languages and cultures: dyed in indigo, the portrait of the woman represents Lemanja, a water deity of the Yoruba religion. Brazil, Peskine’s home country, has kept traditional African polytheistic religions such as Candomblé which has Yoruba origins. Alexis Peskine’s transcendent portraits showcase how people of African descent succeed in transforming difficult experiences into beautiful and gentle expressions. A constant duality co-exists in Peskine’s work, one that balances violence and beauty, the inner and outer world, reality and the surreal.