Deborra Stewart-Pettengill
MANTRA I, For IndiaMANTRA I, For India, (front detail)MANTRA I, For India (front detail)MANTRA I, For India, (left)MANTRA I, For India, (left detail)MANTRA II, For Sri Lanka, (right)MANTRA II, For Sri Lanka, (front)MANTRA II, For Sri Lanka (front detail)MANTRA II, For Sri Lanka, (left)MANTRA II, For Sri Lanka, (left detail)MANTRA II, For Sri Lanka, (back)MANTRA III, For Sri Lanka (back detail)MANTRA III, For AfghanistanMANTRA III, For Afghanistan, (front detail)MANTRA III, For Afghanistan (front detail)MANTRA III, For Afghanistan, (left)MANTRA III, For Afghanistan (left detail)MANTRA III, For Afghanistan, (back)MANTRA III, For Afghanistan, (right)MANTRA III, For Afghanistan (right detail)MANTRA III, For Afghanistan, (right detail)MANTRA III, For Afghanistan (right detail)MANTRA IV, For Africa, (left)MANTRA IV, For AfricaMANTRA IV, For Africa, (right)MANTRA IV, For Africa, (detail)MANTRA IV, For Africa, (left detail)MANTRA IV, For Africa, (detail)
MANTRAS
The Mantra Series began as an exploration of childhood, and evolved into cultural studies of children in a contemporary world. These pieces formally address the collective wellbeing of children living in difficult circumstances. The forms are totemic and consist of a sculpted and embellished concrete pedestal crested with a small ceramic figure. Each pedestal represents the symbolic foundation for the culture in which the child exists. I imagine it to be the tower of cultural heritage, covered in patterns and symbols from that culture, affirming its positive aspects. These pieces exist as meditations for those children, to be uplifted by the strengths of their culture. The small ceramic figure on top is either holding or reaching for an empty vessel. The strength of the concrete contrasts with the fragile quality of fired clay. The relative scale of figure to pedestal emphasizes the overwhelming odds faced by children who exist in any society.

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