• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Wifredo Lam. In perhaps his most famous work of art, entitled The Jungle, Lam puts many powerful symbols on display. It is the undertaking of this essay to explore this renowned work of art, and to discover the intent of Lams symbols and subtlet

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Cuban surrealist artist Wifredo Lam (1902-1982) was renowned for his unique style which combined his rich cultural heritage with the social issues that inspired him. Throughout his life he traveled many places and learned from some of the most famous artists to ever create art, namely, Pablo Picasso. Lam has become an international symbol for the form of surrealism, along with the Chilean artist Roberto Matta (1911-2002). In perhaps his most famous work of art, entitled "The Jungle," Lam puts many powerful symbols on display. It is the undertaking of this essay to explore this renowned work of art, and to discover the intent of Lam's symbols and subtleties. By doing so, the observer can place into context the many symbols and underlying meanings that make up the work of Lam. He used these symbols and subtleties to draw attention to the plight of the African descended Cubans living in a social quagmire. It was his intention to bring these issues to the rest of the world, who were unaware of the poor social status of African descendants in Cuba. Wifredo Lam was born the last of nine children in 1911 to Yam Lam and his second wife. Yam Lam had immigrated to Cuba from Canton, Ohio, and was of Chinese descent. At the time of his son Wifredo's birth, Yam Lam was already eighty-four years old. Wifredo's mother was a mulatto woman with some American Indian blood. ...read more.

Middle

Regardless of the significance of the sugarcane plants, it helps to create a feeling of a very small, cramped space. The mood is almost one of frustration and claustrophobia. It also seems that this scene is in the moonlight, or a scarcely lit area. Barnitz labels the sugarcane background as a "symbol of servitude,4" and Lam himself describes what he was attempting to portray in this part of his work: ...the title has nothing to do with the real countryside in Cuba, where there is no jungle, but woods, hills and open country, and the background of the picture is a sugarcane plantation. My intention was to communicate a psychic state.5 This establishes that whatever occurrences transpire in the jungle is disapproved of by Lam. By "psychic state," Lam meant he was attempting to portray an event or area that was in a sort of a manic funk. It is easy for the observer to understand this psychic state that Lam was attempting to portray. When initially observing "The Jungle," one struggles to process what is occurring. The dark colors and schemes of cubist figures that intertwine are difficult to interpret. I believe this is how Lam attempted to make the observer notice the "psychic state" of the subjects in the painting. The subjects of "The Jungle" are four intertwining, cubist women who seem to share a body with the foliage surrounding them. ...read more.

Conclusion

It gives the feeling of uneasiness, or some kind of repulsion. It is well documented that Picasso and Lam were close friends during their time together in France, and this similarity in their work is not that surprising. From studying "The Jungle" in detail, the meaning of the painting is very apparent. Wifredo Lam was attempting to reach the outside world and alert them to the poor conditions that the blacks were living in. His use of surrealism plays with symbols to our unconscious thoughts and feelings. The use of the African masks identifies the blacks that he is concentrating on, while at the same time referring to the world of Santeria. He uses the image of scissors to convey a sense of desperation and turmoil from the black community. Lam also included distinctly disproportionate bodies to accentuate the growing problem of prostitution in Cuba. By combining all of these features, Lam paints a very clear picture to the observer on his views about his home country. I originally selected this piece because it caught my eye with its vivid, enthusiastic color and unusual style. My attraction was one that was purely aesthetic, as if I had seen a beautiful woman. Beyond the way it catches the eye, "The Jungle" sends its observers a powerful and stoic message about the unacceptable social standing of the black people of Cuba. It seeks to play off of our unconscious thoughts in relation to the African masks, the scissors and the strangely distorted body parts. This work of art displays a message to its observers, and it is a powerful one. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Art & Design section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Art & Design essays

  1. Personal study for art

    This shows that this statement may be one of the reasons why her work is based on violence against women. This may be one of the reasons why she creates images of women being disrespected by men. It shows that people don't care about anything nowadays, their religion, their belief or other all they seem to care about is themselves.

  2. Free essay

    Discuss arguments for and against the view that Conceptual Art should be regarded not ...

    She is not seeking illusory freedom in creating an alternative heterocosm through sculpture- she is merely expressing what is going on inside her, writing the body. Paglia's vision of the wholeness of femininity is irresistibly connected to Fried's emphasis on shape, what secures the wholeness of the object is the singleness of the shape.

  1. Browning's View of Art, "Andrea del Sarto" and "Fra Lippo Lippi."

    Andrea has not committed the familiar Browningesque sin of rejecting life for art; but his tragedy is a double one. Because of his own defects of character and talent, life as well as art has betrayed him and he is debarred from tasting the full joys of either world.

  2. Primitive Art’s Influence on Modern Art

    Though the "Two Nudes" is not as primitive as Picasso's work of next 2 years, it has a rawness and simplicity that shows his important step in that direction (248). Late in 1906, Picasso began sketches of his most famous work, "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" (251).

  1. Photography Essay.

    This is much less aggressive. Clint Eastwood's pose is very aggressive in the way he seems to be pointing right at you. It makes the photograph stand out. The photograph is shot in this way, because of the reputation of Clint Eastwood.

  2. Virginia Woolf Lecture 1 - aesthete or feminist revolutionary?

    career as one misguidedly directed towards writing about vague experiences in the mind' (Reid, Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, 1993, p. 1). Woolf's upper-class feminism seemed dated in the face of fascism and world war. Feminism was crucial to her revival from the 1970s.

  1. An Examination of the Pre 20th Century Female Nude Painted by Men

    Not only is it suggested that Botticelli himself had a love for this woman, which therefore hints his representation of her would subconsciously be beautiful and seductive, it is also suggested that Botticelli used a number of women to form the one we see today.

  2. In What Ways Did Art Become More Widely Accessible in England in the Eighteenth ...

    summer exhibitions. Through activities and societies who held annual exhibitions - notably the Society of Arts and the Society of Artists, contemporary fine arts had begun to occupy an increasingly public position. George III27 felt one of his public duties was to promote the arts28, consequently he gave his patronage

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work