The Seer, 2010

Many of Ernesto Ferriol’s paintings include symbols of male power and female wisdom, brought together under the ‘Sky of Amida’, Amida Nyorai being the Buddha of Limitless Light in the Japanese Buddhist tradition of Pure Land worship, who presides over a heavenly paradise and promises salvation and rebirth in his paradise for true worshippers. The ‘male’ aspect is sometimes a figure with a masklike face and harlequin legs with no body, sometimes a black ‘worker’. The ‘female’ equivalent is often described as a ‘seer’ who watches the proceedings and sometimes ministers to the male as if it were a baby.

‘A Seer under the Sky of Amida’ was the title of an extensive exhibition of Ferriol’s work shown at the Kendall Art Cultural Center in Miami in 2020.

Each of Ferriol’s canvases includes a rich array of symbolism, mixing Caribbean and Japanese elements such that they can be read and understood in a many ways, some helped by titles such as ‘The Seer Feeding the Monster Goliath’ and ‘The Black Man Does not Care who Hokusai is’, others with open-ended titles like ‘The Chest and the Key’ and ‘The Mime Bleeding’.

The last painting in this portfolio is titled ‘When I became Japanese: Self-portrait as Leonard Foujita’. Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886–1968) was a Japanese artist who moved to Paris in 1913 and introduced a hybrid Japanese-European style into the west. You can see examples of Foujita’s erotic work on the website here.