L’Afrique! is an ongoing series of photographical digital collages shot and created by Ingrid Baars. The project is inspired by the richness of African cultural heritage in all its diversity, incorporating as it does both the human and the non-human. The amalgamation of classical African cult objects and real women enables the artist to transcend the natural and constitute an outerwordly realm that feels near but that is, upon closer inspection, quite unsettling; the aestheticism and romanticism of beauty are imbued with a deeper sense of awareness, of consciousness. Her images are beautiful, yes, but powerful as well. Although very much construed, they create their own reality and seem to possess a life of their own.
[g1_quote author_name=”Ingrid Baars” author_description=”Artist” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”left” size=”m” style=”simple” template=”02″]
I find it challenging to combine an antique, wooden object with a human being of flesh and blood. Three-dimensional African sculptures can have a very strong presence. I thought of the female human form, which is my main subject for as long as I remember, melted together with already existing objects and tried to imagine these two “elements” giving them the same ‘treatment’. My treatment of sculpting and manipulating the way I tend to do. I always work with human beings, women actually, never with “dead” objects and I’m sure I never will, but the combination of the two excited me.
[g1_quote author_name=”Ingrid Baars” author_description=”Artist” author_description_format=”http://africandigitalart.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/baars13.png” align=”left” size=”m” style=”simple” template=”01″]
What I want to achieve is to build a large series of two-dimensional sculptures based on African art that would have the same strong presence I find in some wooden statues.
[g1_quote author_name=”Ingrid Baars” author_image=”http://africandigitalart.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/baars13.png” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”center” size=”l” style=”simple” template=”01″]
I explore my freedom as an artist within the boundaries of this theme.
[g1_quote author_name=”Ingrid Baars” author_description=”artist” author_description_format=”%link%” align=”left” size=”m” style=”simple” template=”02″]
The combination of strong expression and presence with a sensitive vulnerability is what I find most interesting and this is what I’m looking for. As bold and forceful as my images may be, there’s always a very tender component. I aim for this. There would not be any power without this. I search for touches of humanity that move me. Wrinkles in a beautiful young woman’s neck, stretch-marks, birthmarks, tender skin with goose bumps, little downy hairs….I cherish this proof of humanity and give it a solid part in my creations. It’s criminal to kill this with Photoshop.”