The word "shelter" indicates something that covers and offers protection, or an establishment that provides food and refuge. In Moki's book Shelter, published by Gingko Press, the term inspires a series of wood artworks with architectural, philosophical and social twists about them.
The Berlin-based artist and illustrator portraits men and women sleeping on benches, hiding in tunnels or asleep in doorways. Moki's homeless humanity making shelters with shopping carts and scraps of wood hints at economic disparity, but also points at resilience in the face of misery.
Some of these shelters are temporary and they may last only for a few hours; others may be there for months, but, while they are destined to last for a limited amount of time, they are still attempts at recreating a safe home, a snug and concealed nest-like environment, even when their security and privacy are precarious since they are infringed by the fact that they are built in public spaces.
These temporary safe havens are therefore liminal structures, integrated in the urban fabric, yet marginalised at the same time.
There is an obvious architectural edge in these images with tents and hut-like constructions, and other assorted intriguing structures ranging from treehouses to well-stacked rooms underground that look like makeshift fallout shelters.
There is also another theme tackled in Moki's art, the possibility of camouflaging oneself: there is a masked elf-like figure in one of her portraits covered in leaves who may be inspired by Puck out of Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream; other men, women or children hide instead among heaps of fabrics or bags, they are sandwiched between piles of mattresses, battle the weather under a coat shared with someone else, or curl, hug and protect each other in a sort of exercise at physical camouflage.
The theme of camouflage is reflected in the technique employed by Moki that allows the artist to create puzzle-like formations on wood.
The artist draws and paints on wood surfaces replicating the textures of wood and the wood grain on the pieces she is working on, orienting herself on the grain direction, picking up on the existing veins and knotholes (a while back Moki employed the camouflage theme in collections of hideout garments that she designed and made by herself to complement her art exhibitions).
There are different inspirations for Moki's works, ranging from her own photographs, taken at times while talking to refugees in Berlin, to paintings such as Caspar David Friedrich's "Sea of Ice" and Ford Madox Brown's "The Last of England" that she reinvented and recreated.
Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space also proved inspirational and extracts from Bachelard's text were included in the volume.
Shelter also features a foreword by Margaret Morton and an interview with Moki by Anika Heusermann.
The most poetical images included in the book can also be read as modern fables with strong roots in contemporary issues relating to homelessness, refugee policy and alienation, but they also end up having more positive meanings.
As Moki explains in the interview in the book, her images of victims of natural disasters, wars or poverty, should make us think and prompt us not to escape into the private sphere and disappear, but to "recognise the forms of protection, refuge and safe havens, and not to recede into one's own shell," and use this recognition as "a powerful motivation for action".
Moki's original artworks for Shelter are on display at the Goethe-Institut (Bryggargatan 12A) in Stockholm until 31st May.