Tino Plank

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“Snake Goddess” (plaster mask, 6” x 8” x 4”) “Bona Dea (the "Good Goddess")” (mask)

Tino Plank, MA is a visual, literary, and performing artist with degrees in forestry and multi-cultural spirituality. He has studied extensively with the West African elders and shamanic practitioners Malidoma Somé and Sobonfu Somé, as well as with renowned mythologist Michael Meade. Tino has also been deeply influenced throughout his life by nature itself—and his environmental sensitivity and sensory awareness form the basis for his eco-spiritual and dream related art pieces.

His training in indigenous healing modalities, dreamwork, and creative expression allow him to weave together art and ceremonies that honor the gifts so often hidden within the wounds of the modern psyche. As a mentor, advocate, and social activist, Plank has worked with at-risk youth, prisoners, and trauma survivors using masks, poetry, dance, and dream imagery to help them regain a sense of belonging and connection.

Artist Statement

Oftentimes, contemporary uses of tribal art forms such as masks allow for the expression of events that can occur beyond the context of spoken language. In many indigenous cultures the images in human dreams are considered an answer to a call from the rest of the universe to join in a non-verbal and image rich mode of communication. I aspire to create pieces of art that encourage the viewer to take a step back in time, to retrace their own native roots, and to feel a connection to their own ancestral wisdom.

By using plaster facial casts I have created masks upon which I’ve transferred dream images and their symbolic content. In keeping with many tribal folk-art traditions, my masks are simple in form, symbolic in character, and constructed using natural elements such as bones, beads, feathers, and shells.

“Snake Goddess” is a mask that was inspired by a mixed-gender group dream session focused around breaking free of modern-day imposed images of the Feminine. This vision of an untamed Eve is made from pieces of a broken mirror symbolically framed within the entwined bodies of the snake.

“Bona Dea” (the "Good Goddess") is a second mask inspired by the same group dream session. Connected in Roman Mythology to the God Vulcan, she emerges from deep within the molten womb of Mother Earth—a metallic and mottled form that carries the healing imagery of transformation embodied in the serpent.

2005 IASD Dream Art Exhibition

22nd Annual Conference for the International Association for the Study of Dreams
June 24 - June 28, 2005
Berkeley, California

- 2005 -
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