AFRICA DE-MYSTIFIED

Did you find:

  1. An Elephant

  2. A Lizzard

  3. Africa

  4. Botswana

  5. Nefertiti

  6. Album Cover: Toto IV 1982

What do you see? In this piece, we’ve used the phenomenon of pareidolia to our advantage by embedding hidden images in the work. Leonardo da Vinci wrote about pareidolia as an artistic device. "If you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills," he wrote in a passage in one of his extensive notebooks.

Depending on where you come from you will most definitely see different things. A Toto fan sees his favorite album cover been intricately carved; an animal lover will see the elephant and a lizard; a geography novice will see Africa; a geography expert will see Botswana; a history buff will see Nefertiti.

In no particular order, here are the explanations:

Toto IV is the base of this handcut image of an elephant. The reason IV is chosen is because it features one of Toto’s most famous songs, “Africa”. In addition it sports a very pretty red color.

One of the elephant’s ears has a striking similarity to that of Africa the continent. The other ear has the same contours as that of Botswana, which happens to have the biggest elephant population of all the countries in Africa.

In between the Botswana ear and the elephant’s head there is a lizard, there are a lot of lizards in Africa. Wikipedia for example has 85 pages dedicated to lizards of Africa. Let’s just say they are a dime a dozen and the lizards presence is warranted.

And finally, Nefertiti is between the elephant’s head and the other ear. Her distinctive headpiece is visible from the side and her breast landed in what Mussolini referred to as Abyssinia.

 “Africa”, handcut artwork by elmgARTS

“Africa”, handcut artwork by elmgARTS

 Toto IV album cover

Toto IV album cover

Oskar Elmgart