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Niels Brozat

Title Return to sender: when the mask speaks / Icon #028

Year 2019

Material Egg tempera and oil on panel, rosary, wooden arms and SOTT mask

In the summer of 2019, despite the terrible heat, Niels was able to work on the mask in his studio, a bunker with a constant temperature. His work includes various media within the theme of the medieval imagery of Europe and the Silk Road. Although a mask like this fits less well with that theme, Niels has chosen not to edit it, but to work around it. He leaves the original shape intact because he likes it the way it is.

The mask shows two hand-carved arms with wooden hands, one open and one closed, which extend through the mask and carry a rosary with an icon attached to it. Niels' work is known for his icons, which he has been making since 2012. The whole forms a striking image. He: 'there is a balance between playfulness and a certain bleakness through the arms coming out of the eyes.'

The icon itself tells its own story: a missionary from Africa comes to Europe to convert people, instead of the other way around. This is symbolized by the book falling out of the picture and going around the corner. Niels emphasizes that this work is not intended to be political, but comes from the attitude of 'why not?'

Niels' motivation for participating in the project is simple: Frank asked him and he considers that an honor. He is proud to be part of the SOTT family.