A Peek Into The Mystical Lives And Rituals Of Urban Peruvian Shamans

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Italy-based photographer Andrea Frazzetta gives us a little glimpse into the lives and rituals of modern healers from Lima, Peru. His project called “Urban Shamans” peeks behind the doors of the rear private shops where shamans, or the so called curanderos, perform their traditional mystical rituals which are not subject to the laws and orders of today’s world.

Up to this day, curanderos are trusted by the majority of Peruvians and are considered to be in line with psychiatrists and physicians. At some point, the parliament of Peru considered regarding them as doctors. However, bigger part of the healers are frauds as they don’t really deal with physical disorders, rather with emotional issues like fear, evil eye or even business and love life related questions.

“Nestled in plain sight throughout the streets of Lima, these generations of shamans and their sometimes shocking ritual practices toe the line between cultural fixture and anomalous spectacle.”

In his pictures, Frazzetta managed to capture even the very intimate, strange and eerie details of these healing ceremonies. Most of them include the use of a small animal (guinea pig, black hen or a white dove) or a doll to whom the illnesses of the patient are transferred. (via Feature Shot)

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Hannah Kunkle’s Controversial Project Turns Kim Kardashian Into The Devil, The Virgin Mary And Even Jesus

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Brooklyn-based artist Hannah Kunkle puts Kim Kardashian on the altar, literally. Kunkle delivers Kardashian as the Virgin Mary, Medusa, the devil and even Kleopatra. With a flashy net-art inspired aesthetic, the artist takes Kim’s iconic, worshiped image and puts it to work, naturally, with religious/cultish iconography. The controversial juxtaposition is rather riveting  as its subtle insights perfectly captures the absurdity of our nation’s obsession with Kardashian and celeb idolatry in general. “We have accepted her into our lives via television screens, memes, and Instagram feeds”, she says. “If Jay Z is the father and Yeezus is the son, then she is the ever-present holy ghost of pop culture.”

According to the Huffpost, Kunkle’s recent exhibition in Bushwich titled “The Passion of Kim Kardashian” caused some controversy amongst the religious community in New York. “It’s deplorable,” Pastor Reggie Stutzman of Real Life Church told The New York Daily News. “It’s sacrilegious, irrelevant, and disrespectful… It’s idol worship.” The Hindu community had opinions about it too. “I am certainly not happy about this,” said Dr. Uma Mysorekar, of the Hindu Temple Society of North America. “Any religious symbol should not be used or abused.” (Via Huff Post)

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Masao Kinoshita’s Powerful Sculptures Are Skinned To Reveal Hulking Muscles

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With rippling, coiled muscles, the sculptures of Masao Kinoshita stand skinned and erect. Working with materials ranging from wood to resin to bronze, the Japanese sculptor uses an aesthetic we normally associate with natural history museums to render athletic, flexing creatures of the sea and land. Save for their multiple heads and engorged limbs, these beasts could easily be ancestors of man.

Kinoshita draws much of his inspiration from diverse mythologies, religions and folklores from around the globe. Fusing narratives across space and time, the horned maenads of ancient Greece live alongside the Yoga Asura deities of Buddhism in a visceral, animalistic universe where fitness reigns supreme. The Hindu god Ganesh poses confidently while a human baby and a small teddy bear develop muscles of similar size and strength.

Given the artist’s knowledge of folklore and spiritual histories, we might interpret his massive, hulking walrus as a nod to the beast mentioned in Alice in Wonderland, who is widely assumed to represent the Buddha. Built from wood, he would certainly seem at home in the story of “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” but his soulful eyes maintain a divine dignity that eluded Lewis Carroll’s infamous character.

Throughout Kinoshita’s impressive body of work, the physical and the metaphysical are allowed to coexist. Where modern religions condemn the pleasures of the body and exalt in those of the spirit, these sculptures present a world wherein the gods themselves are proud—even arrogant, as the case may be with those thong-wearing bodybuilders—to live within mortal anatomies. Take a look. (via HiFructose)
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David Mach’s Mind-Blowing Sculptures Made Of Metal Coat Hangers

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Scottist sculptor David Mach has a penchant for unexpected materials: magazines, matchsticks, and scrabble pieces, to name a few. In his series “Coathangers,” the artist constructs lifelike animals from wire hangers, allowing the pointed metal hooks to extend past the boundaries of the figure. To build these strange cacti-like creatures, Mach works from a plastic mold, applies the hangers, and coats the finished product in nickel.

Mach’s wild beasts, depicted with near realism, look magnificently aggressive when protruding hooked metal. Like defensive porcupines, the seem to be coated in a layer of quills, warding off the touch of curious viewers. The tiger, the stag, and the gorilla each occupies a distinct role in the hierarchy of the natural world; their predator limbs frozen outstretched or fearful mouths held open, they cannot help but resemble the taxidermied animals that roam the halls of natural history museums. Unlike those passive creatures, however, Mach’s animal kingdom is electrified with the addition shining, threatening spokes, eliciting trepidation as much as they do curiosity. Similarly, the artist’s crucifixion presents Jesus Christ as an explosive, angry being, emitting in his pain an agonized cry; here, we might imagine the biblical lines, “My God, why hast though forsaken me?”

Mach’s coat hanger method allows for the rules of sculpture to be broken; his figures are defined not by their enclosed form but also by material that emanates from their bodies as we understand them. Like characters on a static-filled television, they appear as illusions or mirages. Their blurry boundaries allow them to exist in a mysterious space beyond the corporeal. Are these creatures inhabiting the space before us, or are they merely projections, subject to vanishing at any moment? (via Visual News)
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Marwane Pallas’ Disturbing, Provocative Photographs Ooze Sexual Tension

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The French photographer Marwane Pallas’ painterly photographs contain within their borders an uncomfortable blend of allure and violence. His work centers around the body, honing in on its urges and most private yearnings. At times, the body itself is seen in profound sharpness, crystal clear, while it also sometimes bleeds sensual color, as if painted on a canvas. Pallas’ highly stylized images read more like murals than photographs, deliberately and seductively drawing us into a fictitious and allegorical narrative.

With his series What I Eat, the artist presents human appetite as an visceral marker of identity; a housewife is forced to eat her clothes iron, and a (possibly transgender) woman, having undergone a breast augmentation, munches on a plastic barbie doll, symbolic of the idealized female form. A cancer patient dips his cigarettes in ketchup, and a priest hesitates for just a moment before devouring a wooden crucifix.

In This Is My Body, religious allegorical icons stand in for an overwhelming eroticism. Eve in the Making presents the artist as still and pale as marble, wounded like Jesus Christ, engaging in an act of intimacy with a translucent head, whom we might imagine to stand in for God. In another self-portrait, a nose bleed causes blood, seen as wine like the blood of Christ, to drip over his parted lips into a glass below. A candle drips onto a pair of praying hands; on closer inspection, we see that the waxy light lays in place of a man’s erect phallus. Like Eve, the artist into apple that ultimately brings death, containing within it an ominous skull.

In Sur/Face, this sensualized physical body undergoes a metamorphosis, veering into a metaphysical and spiritual realm. Enchanted forests cover the artist’s head, and mossy roots stand in for veins. The flesh cracks open to reveal a layer of fresh new skin. Take a look.
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Jessicka Addams’s Disturbing Paintings Capture Lost Innocence

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The indie-feminist rock-artist Jessicka Addams marries the gothic with the whimsical, creating heartbreaking portraits of innocence lost. In her wonderfully sweet yet disturbing paintings and sculptures, the artist builds a candy-coated dreamscape ripe with sexuality, drug use, and metamorphosis. Her pale, virginal subjects look much like babydolls possessed, embodiments of mythical female mischief and corruption. These works, in some ways, serve as testaments to the pains and labors of the biblical Eve, the mythological Medusa.

Addams’s work is elegantly imbued with an uncomfortable anxiety that arises from the tension between icons of innocence and the suggestion of impurity. Rabbits, used in early Christian art, symbolize the coming of spring, the resurrection, and the rebirth of innocence. Here, this iconographical connotation is poignantly subverted; alongside images of bleeding nostrils, suggestive of cocaine use, these white rabbits could easily find themselves in the drug-induced Alice in Wonderland of Jefferson Airplane. Addams’s rabbits cry bloody pink tears and sprout sea witch limbs.

The cat, an animal both adorable and foreboding, also figures prominently in Addams’s pieces, often in the form of hybrid human or ghost. Addams’s aesthetic is distinctly modern, characterized by thick, dripping brushstrokes and somewhat taboo subject matter. Like those of the modernist trailblazer Goya, her cats seem to represent sin as it creeps in upon the untainted child; a burlap sack, with embroidered feline ears, envelops the face of a pale babe, who weeps as if mourning a lost childhood.

Addams’s exquisite works are charming and unsettling in equal measure, inspiring pity and empathy for our own former innocence. Here, human beings—especially women— are neither madonnas nor whores; instead, the human soul is a complexly woven tapestry, colored with surprising and miraculous shades of gray. Addams’s work is currently on view at The Cotton Candy Machine. (via BUST)
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Dead Woman’s Possessions Poignantly Brought Back To Life In 2-Minute Video

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In 2010, Gemma Green-Hope’s grandmother died; scanning a flimsy memorial service program, the illustrator desired a more intimate way to remember her grandmother. After inheriting her beloved relative’s old possessions, she animated them in search of traces of permanence left behind by a mortal soul. In this stop-motion video, titled Gan Gan, viewers see an entire life literally flash before our eyes; both mundane and exquisite objects are transformed into momento mori, as if we ourselves were at the moment of our death.

The whimsical, nostalgic animation elegantly draws upon literary and artistic themes of womanhood, so that in the wake of Gan Gan’s passing, a fertile, creative and distinctly feminine presence remains unharmed. Green-Hope recites the “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” hymn, a poem associated both with funerals and the sea. The sea remains a theme throughout the entire short film, and bodies of water are often seen as female, powerful, penetrable yet containing mysterious depths. The countryside, fairies, and the hearth—all iconographically seen as the woman—skip mirthfully in and out of the video. Left with the shot a books written about the sea, pulsating like waves, viewers are encouraged to see the matrilineal thread as something permanent and endlessly magical.

For Green-Hope, the cosmic and the personal are intertwined; amidst religious and natural icons, we see photographs that are poignantly unique to the deceased. Similarly, we are told in Gree-Hope’s sing-song voice specific things like “she rode a blue bicycle” and “she once shot a spider.” Unlike the mortal life, this video can be played over and over, forever preserving a memory that might otherwise fade away. (via Colossal)
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Jess Riva Cooper’s Screaming Sculptures Overtaken By Insects Reimagine Ghostly Spirits

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The artist Jess Riva Cooper’s Viral Series imagines the human body overtaken by malevolent plant life; like the bodies of the dead, her ceramic women busts are infected with ivy, flowers, and insects. Inspired by the Hebrew figures of the golem and the dybbuk, the viral females occupy a space between life and death; like golem, they are anthropomorphic beings brought to life by human (as opposed to divine) hands, but they are also seemingly suffocated by roots that harken back to the cleavage of the ominous dybbuk, a departed soul that fixes itself to the body of a living person. The word “dybbuk,” in fact, arrises from the Hebrew verb for “sticking from the root.”

Unlike the figures of Yiddish folklore, Cooper’s busts are female, modeled after the seductive sculpted faces of Classical Greece. Closing resembling the great alluring forms like Praxiteles’ Aphrodite of Cnidus, these figures abandon the feminine piety in favor of an ecstatic sexuality; serpentine vines crawl across their tender cheeks, and their mouths open wide to give birth to lush roses or to allow passage to fertile swarms of scarab beetles. Their eyes appear to roll back in sensual pleasure; their teeth gnaw on thick roots.

Cooper’s series seems to draw on ancient and Judeo-Christian mythology to construct a cohesive and elaborate narrative of female creative power; these women represent death and birth in equal measure. As the bodies of the dead are consumed by insects, they ultimately give rise to blossoming flora. This strange and natural cycle of rebirth serves as a metaphor for the artist’s beloved Detroit, where buildings and homes succumb to financial ruin and are eventually overgrown with feral plant life. Take a look. (via Colossal and HiFructose)
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