Open Call #6
Global Majority Artists.
9/10/23 - 11/11/23
These paintings explore my identity and my conception of ‘home’. This means many things but when I think of the nostalgic associations of home, that warm familiar place, I think of my 11 years in Hernando, Mississippi.
My relationship with the American South is complex and multi-faceted, these paintings are an exploration of these feelings. I grew up with many family stories, and my awareness of family history is strong. However, many of the stories of the quilts that lay on our beds were never told. I’ve recently become interested in our family heritage with quilt making and textile work. This history of quilting is rooted in poverty. The hands depicted in these paintings are representations of labouring hands that are created out of necessity. Many of our family quilts no longer exist; they’ve been worn out and disintegrated over time.
My family story of quilting is missing a lot of threads. The few of us left in the family are, in the present day, disconnected from the reality of poverty and similarly disconnected from the story of quilting. These paintings are an effort to connect.
Playful, loose application of the paint in combination with the two-dimensional nature of these paintings, makes a deliberate nod to Southern American folk art. I’ve worked with a layered technique deliberately evoking the layered process of quilting.
About the Artist
Savannah Rios-Wills is a North East based painter. The therapeutic, grounding nature of painting has captivated her for over 10 years of practice.
Born in Barcelona to an Argentinian father and an American mother, her childhood was spent in rural Mississippi until moving to the UK in 2008. Here, Savannah carried out her secondary and further education, graduating in 2017 with a degree in Fine Art from Newcastle University.
For many years Savannah has straddled the world of art and mental health. Her creative practice took a back seat as her drive for delivering community-led art workshops took priority both within the UK and internationally. This culminated when she gained an MA in Art Psychotherapy in 2023. Savannah’s interest in people, mental health, self-expression, identity, and the natural world flows through her work.
In 2022 Savannah was awarded Arts Council funding to develop her creative practice. Now with the DYCP project coming to a close, she steps forward more confidently as an emerging artist.
The Last Supper by Matlakas sees a crowd of people happily getting their food, everyone gets fed and the price is not an issue. The joy portrayed in this painting is a symbol of gratitude for what is given in a world where yes, there is excess but unfortunately, many people do not get to benefit from it. Matlakas, in his most recent works, wants to transform all the scenes of life into positive scenes, even when often it's not the case. portraying a happy humanity is a way to fight the sadness and struggle of living, a way to cheer up. Matlakas proposes to the people a last Supper of Joy for everyone, where there is no betrayal or hidden stories as in Leonardo's Last Supper, where there is no leader and each person gives a reason to smile to the others! a video of the work can be seen here:
About the Artist
Matlakas is a multidisciplinary artist working across several media such as performance and painting, street art, and installation. He has been working internationally in the past years. He finds an anthropological essence in what he does and a great connection with each context I work and research in. Matlakas current work focuses on the deconstruction of dogmas, questioning the existence of how we live in our society. I re-create departure platforms for new ways of thinking. His interest in envisioning and re-creating the world and presenting it through his art in an improved way. He believes we as human beings are just at the start of unfolding our true potential.
The Three Sparrows and the Fallen Moon
Watercolor and pencil on paper
‘The Three Sparrows and the Fallen Moon’ is an illustrated story exploring themes of escapism, the search for belonging, and the power of kindness. It revolves around the journey of the lost moon that is eventually found.