A Myriad Of Interpretations Emerging From A Stain And Stitches

Nicholas Hlobo
N
icholas Hlobo, Macaleni Lintozomlambo
Recently viewed at Tate Modern

Intro, discharge statement: This piece from Nicholas Hlobo got my attention because of the stitching work and the amazing luck the stain in the middle of the paper creates. 
I will go on explaining what this piece means to me, what it makes me feel emotionally and intellectually. I have read the fantastic artist’s bio and the historical concept but nothing I read resonated with me. So I deliberately decided to let it go.

 It’s the beauty of art, a myriad of interpretations can emerge from one artist who was brave enough to reveal his world of imagination.

An octopus, waves and harmony. The coffee stain in the middle of the yellowish paper is the beginning of it all. The two big hollow are emotionless.  The flow of colors, the voluptuous shapes of the tentacles and the splashes of the agitated water around it makes it hard to believe that this stain is a coincidence.

The stitches, up close, are mapping out the body of the octopus. The entire silhouette is not traced with the same color. It’s a palette of autumn colors: red, orange, rose, beige and light green. Subtly alternating around the contour of the creature.
The spatters left alone on the paper are stressing out the violence in which the octopus has been thrown into the water. Or perhaps it’s escaping from a terrible fight with an underwater predator.The defenseless octopus is struggling, in shock; and maybe that’s why its eyes are open wide. How will I escape this terror? It seems to be questioning.

The defenseless octopus is struggling, in shock; and maybe that’s why its eyes are open wide. How will I escape this terror?

The red stitches are thus not irrelevant. It’s red for a reason as it’s representing blood. The octopus has been attacked and it’s bleeding.

Powerless in front of this image, I can’t help but feel compassionate and speechless. Is there any way I can help? Maybe if could get a needle and marine blue thread to stitch over the red. The octopus could go back to the water and dance around the waves, aimlessly.

Although my interpretation has nothing to do with the purpose of the artist, like all art pieces it’s meant to open the door to inner reflection. This is a perfect example. It looks like the Rorschach Inkblot psychology test. By describing what you see on a random inkblot, your psychological profile can be laid out.
It’s the beauty of art, a myriad of interpretations can emerge from one artist who was brave enough to reveal his world of imagination.

 

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