Drawing is the beautiful language that I use to express my thoughts. I like to be meticulous with my drawings and subject matter. I make my drawings using a physical paintbrush. I do a lot of research when starting a project or new drawing. I get my subject matter in museums, archives and on my travels around the world.My main interest is in translating complex ideas into simple drawings. I am currently focused on historical narratives that intersect with current society and I use historical imagery to highlight current political ideas.
I use a paintbrush to make drawings because a paintbrush is the most expressive drawing implement.I am interested in how authority figures are portrayed. I use recognizable historical figures such as for example Stalin and Lord Kitchener in my work as symbols of power. Marching armies and groups of people is what I am visually concentrating on because those images symbolize the other side of authority; the common man following orders.I am entranced by bandaged people, for me that is symbols of the way humans try to remedy difficulties. A bandaged person also conveys a sense of having something to cover or hide as well.I am very concerned with the symbolic values of my work and my intent is to make you- the viewer- ask yourself questions about your assumptions. I believe that history is important as our morals and judgments are founded upon historical narratives.
My drawing of authority figures, military, soldiers, police, medical preparations, and children is my way of dealing with my personal disillusionment that I believe others are also experiencing due to the Covid-19 situation. I am making artworks as a rebellion against the idea that nothing matters.I have been disillusioned by authorities. The lockdown has absolutely shattered my belief in all governments and all authority, they have really dropped the ball, the propaganda emanating from the media has dropped all pretenses of even trying to be objective. We have been lied to so many ways from the beginning of the quarantine and lockdown that it makes you think how long they have been doing this in the past.
I invite you to look at my work and let yourself be taken on a journey of beautiful disillusionment.
Peter Mammes was born in Krugersdorp, South Africa on July 6, 1986, Into an Afrikaans-speaking community. He moved to Johannesburg at the age of 11 and attended the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein, where he received his only formal training in art. Interested predominantly in drawing and painting, he had his first solo exhibition at the age of 16.
Peter started working in isolation after high school, developing his drawing skills and making artworks based on medieval European woodcuts. He set up a studio in India in 2013 and later in Russia, where he researched and developed the themes that have become inherent in his work. In 2018 Peter set up a studio in Cairo, Egypt, where he made a series of drawings informed by his research into both ancient Egyptian art and hieroglyphics and contemporary local politics.
Peter travels extensively around the world to find ideas and imagery for his work, collecting patterns that he finds on stone carvings and reliefs on temples, facades and graves. He was recently commissioned to design a commemorative coin for circulation for the South African mint, released in 2019.
Peter currently resides in London on an exceptional talent visa. His studio is in Whitechapel.
Designed by Peter Mammes