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ACCESSION NUMBER: 1973.013.060
DATE: 1964
MEDIUM: appliqued, embroidered cotton corduroy, wool, felt, velvet
DIMENSIONS: Actual (fully opened): 101 x 199.3 cm, 5 in. (39 3/4 x 78 7/16 in., 12.7 cm)
COLLECTION: Alberta Foundation for the Arts

ARTIST BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Born Patrick Charles Kemball in Cranbrook, British Columbia in 1938, the provocative artist and poet ManWoman is perhaps best known for his crusade to rehabilitate the ancient hooked cross, better known as the swastika, from its association with Nazism. His project involved inscribing his own body with more than two hundred swastikas, writing the book Gentle Swastika, and designing a cartoon character called Smiley Swastika. The project resulted in unwelcome attention, forcing him to post a warning on his Friends of the Swastika webpage that he held no racist agenda; he also faced heightened scrutiny at airports and a near-assault from a trio of Jewish bodybuilders in Venice Beach. Discussing the aims of his controversial career, ManWoman wrote, “Art allows the suppressed, tabooed contents of my mind to bubble up into consciousness. Art speaks when words are forbidden. Art creates images to free the mind. If anyone wishes to follow my method meditation, let him do Art—not pretty pictures but Art from the guts!” Despite the controversy he apparently sought, Manwoman’s education was conservative: engineering and architecture at the University of British Columbia (1956 – 1959), and later instruction at the Alberta College of Art and Design (1959 - 1963); ACAD granted him an award of excellence as a notable alumnus (2002). In addition to participation in numerous group exhibitions, including the Los Angeles Art Fair, Artropolis in Vancouver, and The Cat Show at the Force-Nordstrom Gallery in San Francisco, ManWoman mounted several solo exhibitions, including at the Katrina Gallery in Ottawa, Gallery X in Phoenix, and “To Hell With Hitler” Swastika Show in Japan. A range of private and corporate collections house ManWoman’s work, including those of Imperial Oil, the MacKenzie Health Sciences Centre, the University of Alberta, the Edmonton Art Gallery, and Museu Internacionale de Neu Art in Vancouver. ManWoman died of bone cancer in 2012.

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve. 

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