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Tangata manu (Bird-man) Painting

Rod Kitson

United Kingdom

Painting, Oil on oil

Size: 36.6 W x 49.2 H x 2 D in

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Artist Recognition

link - Showed at the The Other Art Fair

Showed at the The Other Art Fair

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Artist featured in a collection

About The Artwork

The last and largest piece completed for the Blue Lotus exhibition, this painting is all about creation and downfall. It is meant to be read anti-clockwise from the eggs in the hand at the bottom of the composition, through self-realisation/corruption, deification and ego, before finishing with the tarot figures being taken to the next world by the dolphins. Tangata manu (Bird-man) is the winner of a traditional competition by the inhabitants of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), where competitors would swim out to a nearby island to retrieve the first sooty tern’s eggs of the season. The winner was the first one back with the eggs in tact, who would be crowned bird-man. The figure in the painting is my version of the cult’s deity, Make-Make. In its hand is held a nest of eggs and a chick, a copy of a wood and ivory sculpture which was found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Details & Dimensions

Painting:Oil on oil

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:36.6 W x 49.2 H x 2 D in

Shipping & Returns

Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

I am an artist based in London and my work is concerned with the experiential and developmental elements of a daily practice. My temporal projects have taken in life-size painted recreations of my live-in workspace, portraiture and reimagined figure drawing. Machines for Living In The representation work on sale here comes from my Machines for Living In project which began in 2018. For 190 straight days I documented my lived experience by painting a 1sq-ft section of my studio-flat every day. It was about honesty and acceptance. Honesty in terms of the technique (or lack of) on that day, the level of will (to spend time and concentration), and the actual time constraints around the act of living and other commitments. And acceptance of the work under those constraints, which meant I the work made was not always what I set out to make. I exhibited this in 2019 and sold it ‘by the square-foot’, because of the workmanlike way in which it was created. I was left with a problem that the body of work had holes in it. It was then that I decided this would be a self-regenerating piece of work which would now represent time passing in a more expansive way: Every time I sell a piece, I go back to the section and repaint it as it appears NOW. Whatever is there now, is painted, no edits, no overdubs. So the whole represents my life over the period of four years, and counting… Blue Lotus The brightly coloured figurative work on sale here was part of an exhibition called Blue Lotus, which was borne out of the pandemic. Pre-Covid a big part of my practice was life drawing, but that was stopped when the virus hit. With no new material to work from I returned to the stack of drawings accumulated over the years and began to think of ways to upgrade them. I escaped into memory, mythology and imagination, and aimed to be more visceral in my approach, embellishing them with ink and oil paint. It was a very productive time for me, and I had a lot of fun making them. The title Blue Lotus came from the lotus flower, which symbolises something beautiful coming out of the mire. I also opened country's first pandemic-inspired group show, where I brought together more than 200 works of art made during lockdown, called The Art of Isolation at my studio-gallery.

Artist Recognition

Showed at the The Other Art Fair

Handpicked to show at The Other Art Fair presented by Saatchi Art in London

Artist featured in a collection

Artist featured by Saatchi Art in a collection

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