First published: Spring 2022
Artist Ben Edge documents the rituals of the ancient folk traditions of Britain through a series of paintings
While modern life evolves constantly, seemingly at an ever-increasing pace, many ancient British folk traditions and rituals persevere. The British people, like those of many nations, are fascinated by their country’s folklore, proudly and tenaciously passing it down through the generations – sometimes even reintroducing traditions that died out years previously. Stories, myths, legends and folktales get retold and re-depicted. Customary lore, actions reflecting folk beliefs, traditions and rituals – connected to religion, historical events, nature and the seasons, birth, marriage and other milestones – are carried out time and again.
Hunting the Earl of Rone, 2020, 35.5 x 39.5 in. / 90 x 100 cm
Folklore is often evident in outsider art, with countless creators finding inspiration in the legends and traditions, and so passing them on through their work: Sam Doyle’s corrugated metal paintings depicting the history and culture of St Helena’s Gullah community; Lonnie Holley’s portrayal of African traditions and Egyptian mythology; Pushpa Kumari’s renderings of Hindu epics inspired by the wall paintings of her home region in India; Reginald English’s bright tin sculptures of the folk spirits of Jamaica; Ilija Bosilj’s scenes from Serbian folktales painted in traditional peasant style; the list goes on.
The Garland King, 2017, 25.5 x 29.5 in. / 65 x 75 cm
“Folklore doesn’t come from the top, it doesn’t come from the palaces or the stately homes. It comes from the peasants that used ritual practice, superstition, storytelling and creativity as a way of taking back control of their lives and destinies from the oppressive regimes of the ruling classes,” says British artist Ben Edge.
The Green Man of Bankside and October Plenty, 2019, 18 x 15.5 in. / 46 x 40 cm
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #110