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TokesPlace Presents:


Percy Martin’s Bush Men Myth

31 Jul

Since the 1970s, Percy Martin has created a series of lush and technically complex prints illustrating the daily lives and rituals of his mythological Bush People. The prints and myth have many followers and collectors.

Percy Martin

Martin is an accomplished printmaker and recently retired teacher. His work has been shown in the US, Africa, the Ukraine, Russia, Central America, various South American countries, and fourteen African countries. He has been in many exhibitions and one-man shows and is in numerous private collections.

My interview with him suggests that his myth is dynamic in its contours because his conceptions and experiences are dynamic.

Apparently his creative process comprises long and hard thinking before he begins creating his images. My interviews, and biographical material about him, suggest that his thoughts are visual. The myth’s narrative is written after the images are created.

In this exhibit Toke’s Place presents a mini show of the Bush People myth. The images are presented with relevant abstracts of the myth narrative. Hopefully this will enhance viewer’s appreciation and understanding.

Legend of the Bush People

Imprinted deep in the minds of The Bush People is the memory of tribal ancestors.

Drumming Bush People 12” x 18” black and white etching (ca 1979).

In the beginning, the tribe roamed and hunted freely.

Bush People’s Tomb Black and White etching 24” x 18” (ca 1979)

An all seeing eye protects the Bush People against harmful spirits. The symbols on the right side of the image suggest their language is under development.

Nubai Watching the Sky Dances II 36” x 24” (ca 1979)

Nubai teach Bush women to fly. They become Sister birds to protect Nova, their High Priestess. Nova’s twin brother Avon was the high priest.

The tribe respects animals and built temples to worship them. In the temples there is Saint Mar, the tribes principal benevolent spiritual presence and guide.

Self Portrait of St. Mar Monoprint 14” x 11” (2009)

School was held in temple buildings. Here men and women prepared for the rites of passage that would carry them into adulthood.

Brenda, having failed her rite of passage, decided to join her sister Beloit in a new land. Brenda convinced Avon to marry her and join her in the new land. Avon did not know the new land was a water society, with an oppressive quid-like water deity.

Angel’s Kiss 24” x 18” color etching (ca 1986)

Nova, Brenda, Beloit, Avon and the water deity are shown. These are the myth’s principal participants. Beloit learns that she has lost the war she started against Nova. Sister birds in the sky protect Nova.

Toke’s Place hopes this abstract of Martin’s myth whetted reader's appetites for more. Keep your antennas up for Martin's future opening at the Parish Gallery in Georgetown.

Query to readers from Toke’s Place: Can Martin’s images be appreciated without reference to the myth?


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