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See the Timekeepers in an online exhibition by prolific painter Norman O’Flynn
The masked portraits are a reflection of what is happening now
Norman O’Flynn’s Timekeeper portraits incorporate his trademark pop iconography, graffiti-like slogans, superheroes and religious symbols tattooed across the bodies of masked figures, which are elevated by vibrant backgrounds.
You can see them at Cape Town’s WORLDART gallery, which is hosting an online exhibition entitled The Image In the Mirror, which features a selection of the Cape Town painter and sculptor's powerful Timekeeper portraits (2016-2019).
PORTRAITS THAT HOLD A MIRROR UP TO HUMANITY
“Norman O’Flynn painted the first Timekeeper portrait in 2015 as a reflection of society right now, in other words, it was a reflection of our time,” says gallery owner Charl Bezuidenhout. “He soon realised these images and slogans had less to do with the subject in the portrait than it had with the world in which they live. And so, he called them timekeepers”.
The figures are based mostly on real-life people encountered by O’Flynn. Several portraits include sharks circling above us and bombs falling from the sky. Another has the phrase “mother should I trust the government”.
“I realised that what came out was just me observing the glitch,” says O’Flynn. “I wasn’t trying to tell anyone what to do or what I think. I just showed them what I saw.”
MASKS TO PROTECT US FROM OURSELVES
The artist explains that the masks all the figures are wearing represent a filter protecting us “from what we take in and what we release, germs, words – all of it”. “We are also really busy sharing our opinions, especially on social media platforms, but do we actually make a contribution?” says O’Flynn.
“Or is the truth that we are saying nothing because we’re too busy saying the things that we think will gain us credibility and help us look cool? So I covered the mouths,” he adds.
VIEW THE ONLINE EXHIBITION
These portraits are all available as limited edition prints and can be viewed and purchased on the WORLDART website.
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