Totem: Portraits of the Spirit World
There is something fantastical and savage in mountainous regions that seem to tap into something primal in us, inspiring wonder, imagination, fear and awe. Every mountain on earth has been claimed by the cultures and religions of the world as spiritual and sacred, where nature’s cathedrals, liminal places, and portals that merge the physical and spiritual worlds may be encountered. The Taroko Gorge in Taiwan was such a place and it struck a chord with me as I dwelled in its presence. Instinct suggested that I reflect the images – I wanted to see where a chance stroke of reflection might lead to. It came as quite a shock to see totemic figures emerge. I have always liked totems as they represent the idea of humanity’s primordial kinship with nature or the universe. They also remind peoples of the attendant responsibilities of such a relationship.
It is perhaps because of the way our brains work that we see eyes, mouths, limbs etc. and I came to see this series as portraits of the spirit world. The people who have seen the images have pointed out different totemic faces in the works to me. That in itself, made this series more special to me.