ManWoman was born Patrick Charles Kemball in 1938
in Cranbrook, British Columbia
. After a near-fatal accident, he took a vow to be "god's artist." One month later, he had a spontaneous out-of-body experience
. He applied to the Trappist monastery
in Kentucky and went
off to study at Alberta College of Art in Calgary
. The monk
s accepted him but said that he had to give up art
. He refused. In his interviews, he says:
For three years I had dreamt every night that my name was ManWoman. In my dreams I was both male and female. Sometimes I was twins; one was male and one was female. Sometimes I was half and half; one side was male and
other side was female. Sometimes I was wearing women's clothing in the dream but being a man. So there was this incredible intermixing of male and female things.
In one dream I was walking down the street and all the little children of the block gathered around me and started chanting "ManWoman, ManWoman, ManWoman!" In another dream I was on a university campus and this old,
authoritarian-type lady looked at me and said, "There's another one of them ManWoman!" - apparently it meant something about rebellion and students. I'd be signing my previous name in a check and it would disintegrate; I couldn't write it, then I'd realize I was writing the
wrong name, so I'd write "ManWoman" and it would be perfect. -- ManWoman, Modern Primitives, p. 43
From my experiences, and the idea that in your physical body you may be male or female but in your spirit you're beyond all that (you're whole, not just a half), I figured I had to change my name. And that's what the name represents, although some people get the wrong idea. So you could say that the pressure from within to be a ManWoman was overwhelming...
...all through the 60s I wore nothing but floor-length robes, some with hoods, but mostly yellow; I have a thing about yellow; I never wear anything but. I don't own a stitch of clothing that isn't yellow; I slowly phased out everything else.
ManWoman's life took a new course when he had a dream in which a very beautiful, spiritual holy man was showing him a glowing symbol which he said was a symbol of god's love. It was a pure white swastika radiating light. I was asking, "But what about the Nazis?" and in reply he reached over and drew this little swastika on my throat and said, "Take this as your sign, and use it as your own symbol, because it has to be freed from the taint of the Nazis. It is a symbol of the Divine, and you should take
it as your task to purify it... or purify people's attitude toward it." -- ManWoman, Modern Primitives, p. 41
I don't collect any nazi stuff - none. People have brought me swords and guns and you name it - things I could've resold to a collector for a huge profit, but I just said, "No. Thanks for thinking of me, but no thanks." Because people don't need that reinforced; the Nazi use of the swastika was only about 10-20 years, compared to the thousands of years the swastika has been around; it disappears into pre-history.
-- ManWoman, Modern Primitives, p. 46
ManWoman's works and ideas are available at http://www.manwoman.net/
Editor's Note: ManWoman passed away on November 13, 2012.