From Bonk to the visionary Afro-Shamanic experience

"The artist Alvar Gullichsen travelled to the cultural centre of Villa Karo in Benin on a scholarship in 2002. He had then left behind both his Bonk project and his painting style of the time.

The African experience gave rise to an intensive period of expressive work. Instead of individual works, Gullichsen became interested in painting as a process, and in spirituality.

Moreover, the artist's musician-self was awakened at the wellspring of popular culture and he currently has a band consisting of African and Finnish musicians called Groovy Eldorado.

Due to the effect of Africa, after 2002 Gullichsen produced abstract and metaphysical landscapes, which according to the artist represent presence more than anything particularly African. He calls these works Afro-Shamanistic art because, in addition to Africa, their roots are in South American shamanism and the pictorial world of American indigenous people."

Excerpt from the catalogue of the exhibition The Power of Africa at EMMA-Espoo Museum of Modern Art in the spring 2010. Text by Nana Salin

Alvar Gullichsen