Iona Gibbons

Digital Portrait Photography

My art work centres on personal identity and transformation within a journey that embodies outer and inner self. African tribal body painting expresses identity within a system that not only communicates and reflects oneness with nature but connects the past to the present through spiritual ancestral ceremony. In my work I research the patterns and markings of African tribal body painting to recreate my own patterns that are divined from dreams, trances and intuition. I use digital photography from my mobile phone to capture these changes from the outer to inner self. I believe it is possible to cultivate inside all human voice a shamanistic pathway providing self-healing and nurturing on an individual level. I think the processes and meanings developed over many hundreds of years from Africa has an importance that is central to our human global societal healthy both present and future. I believe that the messages contained within African ceremony, dance and music possess world-wide resonating powers. These resonators place our human existence within its ecological context of connection to mother earth but also within the context of our human relationship to divine energy forces. This both unifies us as humans but also extends us to become bigger than our human scale through the power of belief and transformation. Behind the thinking of my images also runs the idea of people and places particularly issues around our planet as ‘geographical landscape’ verses ‘government border controls.’ I believe these issues are very relevant today as our world advances in technology allowing for cross cultural conversation via social media and worldwide travel. However, simultaneously these possibilities of communication are countered by constant changes to immigration control as seen in many Western Nations bringing changes to legislative freedom of movement as evidenced in the UK via Brexit. I value the way technology and the Internet gives use access to the world from our mobile phone and how powerful technology is captured on a pocket size scale to open up a universe of thought and experience. My work is all created on my mobile phone using free social media editing tools combined with everyday PC software. Technology is constantly offering us possibilities to connect to our inner creative and communicate to a global audience. Access to knowledge, access to our imagination and access to each other are powerful components for newness and change. Nothing remains static all is constant and flowing and as an artist I see my work as moments that hold a portrait’s expression or a moment in a story. My aim is that each piece stands in its own momentary aesthetic in a field of undefinable resonances of patterns and designs contextualised within a central message of identity, connection and communication.

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