Marja-Leena Rathje
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hands, still


detail from ARKEO #1

Dave Bonta's The Animators is an amazing dream story of cavemen creating images of their hands on rock walls. It's given me an inspirational push to finish a post that's been on my mind for a while.

I keep thinking a lot about hands and what they do. Hunt, plant, gather and eat food. Cook, clean, sew, build. Touch, hold, caress, massage, love. Hold tools to make, write, create, play. And print and paint hands on rock walls.

As regular readers know, I'm fascinated and inspired by the art of early humans. I've written about how common hands in rock art are in many parts of the world, including in Borneo.

In recent weeks, I've been also astounded by images of disembodied puppet hands at the Marionettemuseum in Salzburg, Austria, hands of the puppeteer (scroll down the page to see Tina Modotti's photo), some gloved mannequin's hands and a digital stop sign with a hand.

In my own work, I've experimented with scans of my own hands and have made collagraphs of them to use in one of my prints. Eventually I even printed my own hands directly on prints. And finally, there are the most recent examples using my own hands again in ARKEO #1 and ARKEO #2.


:-) (Anyone know an emoticon for a handprint?)

Leslee, I wish I knew!

Hands are fascinating. Today I came across a new artist for me: Elizabeth King, through a link on Pamdora's blog.

Her hands on her sculptures are beautiful.

Also a controversial painting by Marcus Harvey of a child killer in the UK: Myra Hindley's face was constructed out of the handprints of small children.  It outraged many people, but I thought it was an inspired idea.

Hands are potent symbols.

Olga, thanks for these links; hope you don't mind that I hyperlinked them for ease.

King's hands are very beautiful and emotive, as are her other sculptures! The hands on Harvey's painting are hard to see in the image but I can just imagine their power on this huge (11ft by 9ft) painting... and the controversy.

Potent symbols indeed!

Evocative post, Marja-Leena. I too have always been fascinated with hands - and very protective of my own; it would be so hard not to have them!!

Thanks, Beth! Next to my eyes, my hands are most precious. I didn't mention how especially fascinating it is to watch the hands of babies, elders and the deaf signing.