Symposium Part 4 – HYPNOTIC REPETITION & My Observations.

1. One Legged Pool Player

The One Legged Player is totally on the task. Her appearance looks frivolous and theatrical to distract from her determination and the fact that she cannot afford to miss any shots. Her outwards image portrays glamour and fame, but the reality is diametrically different.
The One Legged Player is frozen in a stretched position, suspended in the vacuum of repetition. Every shot is executed in an identical posed pose in a hope to attract attention and increase the stakes, hence maximise profits.
I am hesitant to come to conclusions that there is something repulsive about it. The first impressions of wonder and curiosity are replaced with laughter and astonishment.
The performance continues regardless.


2. Coach To Myiek

This piece portrays a coach driver. He is preparing to leave Kawthoung for a 20 hour long journey to Myiek. The road is terrible and unpredictable. His old coach must be in a top condition before the passengers are allowed to board.
The driver looks very tired and substantially overweight. He spends his life driving his coach between those two distant cities in Myanmar.


3. Burmese Captain

This work portrays a Burmese captain in charge of a long boat. His job is to transport people and cargo from Ranong in Thailand to Kawthoung at the furthest southern point of Myanmar. His main clientele are poor illegal workers from Burma trying to earn a few baht in Thailand.
Following a long conversation with him, I become one of his passengers. To maximise income, he accepts as many people as possible. He even travels on the very front of the boat to save valuable space. This place is very uncomfortable and rocky. He is also fully exposed there to the power of the tropical sun. He tries to get some relief from the burning heat by hiding under a colourful umbrella.
The image is very clashing in colour – very kitsch. This is further enhanced by his crude and cramped body position.  His ankle reveals a massive tumour.
There is a gigantic growth on his leg, perhaps caused by prolonged exposure to the sun and continued contact with polluted water in the port.
My creative intention was to portray him in his usual setting, while crossing the same water many times every day.
The focus is on him. The beautiful surroundings no longer matter. He cannot see the landscape. He is trapped in his daily routine.
The colour of his shirt blends in with the orange stripes of paint on the boat. The umbrella is feminine and looks absolutely ridiculous.


4. Three Monks Begging

Mixed media on unprimed canvas.
168 cm x 118 cm
This new piece portrays three Burmese monks taking a break from their money collecting duties, while entertaining themselves with a large group of pigeons.
In the area, there were large numbers of child monks present. Most of their days are spend extorting large amounts of cash from the hard working, fearful and deeply religious market community.
They are immaculately dressed in pink robes and sarongs. Simultaneously, they walk bare foot to project an image of poverty and humbleness.
However, the truth is different. They have got daily targets to fill their metals trays with a mixture of coins and bank notes to satisfy the needs and expectations of their superiors.


Symposium Part 3 – Repetition and Ritual.


Life tends to deal with these problems naturally through repetition and obsessive engagement in distractions.

An excellent interpretation of this concept was developed by Zbigniew Rybczynski(1981) and his Oscar winning piece titled ‘Tango’.

and his subsequent 1987 animation called ‘Imagine’

Both are characterised by identical starting points and their destinations.
This would imply that there is no room for progress in hypnotic repetition?
Roman Opalka, seems to be a master of this phenomenon in his ‘Counted Paintings’ series, which consumed his life.

He began painting numbers from one to infinity in 1965, in his studio in Warsaw and continued until his death in 2011.


  • Daily rituals, work and religion.
  • Time, procedures and commuting.
  • Breathing, heartbeat, sustenance and sleep.
  • Everything is done to order.
  • Retirement, loss of purpose and death.

Entrapment in hypnotic repetition.
Suspension in the vacuum of life.
Charlie Chaplin questioning industrial repetition as a lifestyle:

We live in an industrialised society and are compelled to take part in this repetition.

Points for discussion:
• What is your entrapment?
• Do you find it comforting and reassuring that tomorrow is going to be there?

Three Monks – Developments

Recent development and enhancement of colour composition.


Last video modification with reversed and looped ending.

Initial video experimentation with an attempt to contextualise the piece and support its meaning with unnerving sound.


Dreaming about The Island Girl

“Her messy hair a visible attribute of her stubborn spirit. As she shakes it free, she smiles knowing wild is her favourite colour.”

“She didn’t just walk on the wild side,
she lived there, dancing in the streets
and setting fire to its sky.”

J. Iron Word


Pearl Twink. The New Madonna.


Heaven can only be with you in it.

Wherever you belong…..

You’re not the girl with long hair, oval eyes, luscious lips and perfect teeth.

You don’t look like  the girl on the magazine cover or runway,

Hell, you might even be straighter than an arrow.

But you’re the most beautiful.

The way you love hard, laugh with abandon, push your glasses back to your face, wipe the sweat off your forehead, the way that crown dances on your head.

Sure, you’re a queen,

Of hearts, of love, freedom, beauty, wisdom.

Your huge heart is large enough to hug all the children of the world.

you refuse to be undermined and wield your sword in the  fight for truth.

WCW’ by Maryam Atoyebi 

The Bathing of Pearl Twink – The Process.

This is my last blog entry and one day before I am due to fly out to Thailand and ultimately travel through Myanmar.  I am planning to gather a broad range of primary sources for a further experimentation with the newly initiated process.

I have edited a number of documentary recordings of various stages of the washing process.  The creative potential is definitively there and I will continue to question the metaphorical meaning of the uncertainty of the washing process.

A video and a GIF below, document the process of my work and thinking. There is also an intriguing dialogue between the resistance of the fragile image and the brutal and violent machine intervention.

Washing In

Washing Out



The Bathing of Pearl Twink.

I have just started the next phase of the long planned process of experimentation with machine intervention.  I have alternated individual washing cycles with the overprinting and refreshing of the image. When the ink was dry, I used the washing machine again and programmed different lengths and temperatures to maximise the effect of uncertainty and unpredictability.  Cold washes had minimal impact on the image.  The screen-printed text started, however, to become softer and softer. Therefore, it appeared to be more ambiguous and difficult to decipher. The surface of the painting itself, became damaged and populated with watery holes and creases. This change to the texture and integrity of the piece has started to create an impact on the dynamics of the painting.

My plan is to continue with this process in order to find out, how far it can be stretched. What I would like to establish is the limit of uncertainty.  How far can this process be taken to before the inevitable becomes the obvious, predictable and very certain.  I am fascinated by a dialogue and interdependence between both contradictory perspectives and the testing of the boundaries.

I have managed to record several interesting images depicting this new to me method of working.


Dialogue with Pearl Twink

Final proposal for my submission to the Interim Exhibition.

This portrait is hypnotically hovering behind the text – emerging from the writing and vanishing again.  The model is looking down with pride and confidence. She is emerging through the messages and remains deadpan – a distant observer.

The video instigates a sense of a dialogue between provocations and her responses to them.  Despite the attention, she remains undisturbed.

The piece tries to question the presumption within our prejudice and allows us to understand the contradictory point of view – the opposite perspective.  Therefore, forcing us to confront and reflect on our own behaviour in the context of making judgements without  thinking and appropriate analysis. We simply devalue the status of a person from a different culture.  Labelling and categorising removes individuality and creates a climate for a lack of our responsibility towards them.

The patterns and colours echo the culture of her native Nigeria.  They are vibrant and dynamic, reflecting the power of pure Chroma highlighted by the tropical sun.

Earlier versions during the developmental stages were jumpy.  I felt that the portrait did not interact well with the messages.

This is a smoother and more refined version in Premier.  However, there is a jump at the end, which makes the looping disjointed.

Initial attempt at frame animation in Premier.

First experimentation with. Photoshop Gif

Screen overprints of the initial portrait.

Development of printing text.

Pearl Twink. Waiting For An Uncertain Response.

I am very excited to have started working on an alternative direction of my project. My new piece is a portrait of Pearl Twink, a girl I met in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

The concept for this piece is to instigate a dialogue between my reflections on her definitively uncertain life, and interweave them with her responses to my provocative statements. The plan is to use a range of processes, including painting and screen printing. This will be possibly extended and developed through video and Gifs. The narrative element continues to be very important. It reinforces the ambiguity of the message I am trying to communicate and questions it’s place in the broader contexts.

The previously overused blasting process will be now replaced by a machine intervention. I will experiment with using a variety of washing powders, temperatures and lengths of cycles to remove the under image and the overprinting layers of text.

All my new work will be created on unprimed and unstreatched canvases.  Currently, I am using Calico and synthetics. However, during my forthcoming trip to Burma, I intend to collect a variety of materials and appropriate, locally produced fabrics, to increase the element of authenticity of my project.

I have already started to develop an under image. It is still a recognisable portrait of Pearl Twink.  This part of the process is associated with deep reflections. My thoughts are jotted down all over the piece as rough notes and the most important content is just below the image.


Subsequently, I have refined this text and its content.  I wanted for my message to be more provocative as well as form a discussion between her ideas and my judgements.


A copy of the refined text is below. I have also experimented with different ways of making the text less readable and partly invisible.




Subsequently, I was faced with a dilemma: should I use a handwritten text on top of the under image or develop a typographic silk screen?


The screen idea has worked very well and the inking process was very fulfilling.   I felt that this process has began to work as I had intended.

Additionally, the overprinting has started to take shape and created fine details and a sense of layering.


The message containing Pearl Twink’s response is also ready to be transferred onto a silk screen.  As soon as this is done, I will initiate the overprinting process, which will be subsequently washed off by experimenting with machine intervention.

This is intended to reinforce the element of uncertainty and waiting in anticipation; worries and anxieties of what will happen during the ‘washing’ cycle. There is no stopping it whilst the process is started. All I can do is to wait to see the result and assess the accidental value of my risky approach. The potential of loosing it all is real!

As an alternative idea, I am also considering to develop an animation, or perhaps, a video piece, and include the flashing and alternating of individual stages of the overprinting process and the messages.



I could not resist to record the last attempt of blasting the ink off to reveal the content of the screen and its message.

I feel very nostalgic!