“The ritual and the mask are universal, since they connect people to their roots and to the meaning of their presence on Earth”Clemence Mathieu
Guardians is an ongoing series exploring the reconstruction of the artist’s identity after leaving the Christian faith, and about the nature of belief as a space between reality and imagination. These images are portraits of the entities who join the artist as she returns newly born to the grounds of her upbringing. These masks, constructed mostly from natural and found materials on the islands, manifest spirituality outside the boundaries of organised religion. They declare a new way of being to the place which formed her.
The making of each mask begins as a re-molding of a certain way of believing. As soon as they are worn an entity is called into existence that has movement and life. Once photographed, these entities become idols, or gods, or spiritual guides that beckon towards a better place. Old gods have been replaced by new ones — not ones of authority but of inspiration. Inspiration to be, to play, and to live in a way that feels more right and more true for oneself.
Danielle Macleod is a photographer based in the Isle of Lewis. Working on medium format film, her photography draws on traditional Hebridean culture, local stories and her upbringing there. The series ‘Guardians’ emerged when the artist moved back to her home in the Isle of Lewis after graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 2020. With the support of the An Lanntair artist support programme, this is her first body of work outside of university.