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Artists under Quarantine: Angelbert Metoyer

It’s a time to create more talismans.

By David Icke Turner

Both a visual artist and poet, Angelbert Metoyer speaks only in beautiful abstraction. It’s a wonder how he could call into Comcast and explain problems with service. Metoyer’s art, a syncretic amalgam of painted abstract images, and figurative drawings, is underpinned by esoteric thought, the African-American experience, his Creole heritage and a unique perspective on form. Among his notable fans Beyoncé and President Barack Obama. Hailing from Houston, Tx yet having set roots down everywhere from Rotterdam to Guanghzho, his experience as a global citizen lends perspective on how this quarantine is endured by artists.

You are an artist that has shown or has a residency in dozens of cities around the world. Are we in danger of that kind of global exchange becoming a thing of the past?

People that live the type of life that requires them to be in multiple countries/cities/places can’t really change that. This will be a moment people will remember. We’re having a human experience.

What do you anticipate will be the yet to be seen effects on your art and the art world as a whole?

How we will now commune and what new rituals will come about by remembrance and by inexorable habit are yet to be seen.

Thus far, has this quarantine been a productive time or has your world paused?

The world has paused. Part of my practice is waiting.The world is eternal and will Exist forever. We want to be careful with what we’re experiencing in America and abroad. I think something vast is occuring. We have more time to turn the pages of books. For me, this is a time to rehabilitate the working of inner space. This is a marker in time we’re living through. There’s gratitude in a shared understanding that will exist between all of us from this day forth.

This has happened. This quarantine has frozen calendars and removed artificial obligations. In a way we’ve gone back in time.

Throughout history, themes in the arts of a respective period are incongruent with the spirit of those times. Do you see any movements towards the dark and dire arising out of this or the opposite?

It’s a time to create more talismans. It’s not about whether it’s a dark moment or not but that we have an opportunity to create something specifically for our body and mind as an artwork. I think that how we live with art will have more meaning. If the intention is to give power, then its power lives in your presence to serve and restore .

A short month ago, conversations were centered on the inane and frivolous and suddenly we are focused on elemental human needs: food, water, oxygen, toilet paper. Does this realignment affect the themes and topics you approach in your craft?

Because of my practice, I think it brings me to think about materials in a different way. My conversations don’t necessarily dictate my work.


How afraid are you right now?

Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Solitude is perfection’

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