Today I would like to share with you one of my works that will be on view from 21 July 2022 at MContemporary gallery in Sydney. This work : Alienated (from her family) will be part of my upcoming solo; Family meeting!
And I would like to thank everyone who submitted their stories (see previous post) which incorporated the titles of the works that will be part of my solo exhibition. (please note that those who used the titles to write their stories have not seen the images of the works) It is so exciting to read the various interpretations, because there are always more than one version of what happened at a family meeting;-) You are still welcome to share with me yours if you feel creative and have the time.
Today I am going to share the story Kaylee de Kock wrote using the titles of my works (see titles in bold below). Thank you Kaylee!!
“You sit quietly in the corner at the family meeting. You knew this was not going to be a joyous reunion, but decided to come anyway.
Everyone was bustling about and chatting about their lives. Being the one who alienated oneself from the family, no one pays you any mind. The only one who is happy to see you is the family pet, Tina, the Yorkshire terrier.
Your parents and siblings look at you in disgust. You remember being told once: “appreciate those you are with, because you can’t choose your family, for you are born into it.
Despite this you always wondered why you were raised by such an artificial and nuclear family. They needed you to carry their name high and you dare not have a dream of your own. What has love got to do with it? That’s why you made your decision eight years ago….
You first saw them when you were 10 years old: The good fairies. They lived in a forest near your house. You knew you would be playing with fire, but your curiosity got the best of you. You snuck out after them. A giant was resting in your path. He stood and greeted you. He asked you to follow him, joining the good fairies. You continued along as the nice friendly giant proudly walked into the forest that never seemed to end. You reached a clearing where countless fairies were dancing. They told you to dance along which you happily did. The music was like strings, pulling you along and moving your limbs to its will. The guests enjoyed watching you. You kept sneaking out every night to join your friends. Then before the year was over a great joy was announced. The fairies accepted you as one of their own! Suddenly a group of giants stamped into the clearing. Thank you for coming said the wicked giants. Fearing what they might do, the fairies proclaimed to leave and find a new home. You wrote a note to your parents and left with the fairies….
You don’t regret your choice. You had to tolerate your previous life, because you can’t choose your family. But that is wrong. You can choose who you want to add to your family. The end.
Only one month to go until the joyous reunion at MContemporary gallery in Sydney!
My solo exhibition is scheduled to open on the 21st of July 2022, and I can hardly wait!
Many of the original photographs that make up this body of work are found, sourced or donated by family and friends.
While many of the photographs were captured here, the scenarios in these rescued and reused images recreate a time and place seemingly devoid of a greater local South African context of that time – idyllic settings and or photo studios. My adding masks from different cultures is perhaps a re-stitching of a historical narrative where these different cultures ‘meet’ each other in a new time and space/continent.
With that said in mid-2021 when I started working towards this exhibition I noticed a hashtag on Twitter that caused much mayhem at the time (#familymeeting)
My own experience and expression as a family member is constantly a work in progress. Working on this body of work, got me thinking about what the word ‘Family’ really means. I also feel that a body of work focussing on the notion of Family is quite relevant due to the fact that a lot of people from all over the world could not get to see their families in real life during 2020 and 2021.
So I started re-creating my own imaginary ‘family meeting’, removing the faces and historical identities from these vintage photographs and replacing them with a variety of cultural masks and colourful embroidered flowers, a new fantasy emerges. A world clinging to the need to believe in the magic of innocent aspiration.
Inspired by using only the titles of the works as inspiration, I started writing a short story of sorts. (The titles of the works that are going to be part of this exhibition are in bold italic):
Once upon a time, before the year was over, a great joy was announced as the nice friendly giant proudly walked into the forest, followed by the good fairies. There was to be a family meeting; a joyous reunion between the artificial family and the nuclear family, even the family pet was there. The nuclear family was playing with fire that caused them to be alienated, but at the end, what’s love got to do with it, if you can’t choose your family? Thank you for coming said the wicked giants, the guests enjoyed watching you. The end.
I have a couple of friends that are going to play a game with me, by writing their own version of this story by using all the titles (in bold above). I will be posting the various interpretations during the weeks to come here on this blog. You are welcome to play along. Feel free to send me your version story.
2 months to go until my solo exhibition opens at .MContemporary gallery in Sydney!
“The mask functioned simultaneously to obscure a person’s face and to create a new identity.” Gary Edson from the book Mask and Masking: Faces of tradition an belief worldwide.
“Masks and masked activities were utilized to manipulate perception and emotion. They were instruments of power that attracted and focused attention.” Gary Edson from the book Mask and Masking: Faces of tradition an belief worldwide.
My solo exhibition will open on the 21st of July 2022. Feel free to register your interest with the gallery: Here
Footnote: My art photographed by Kleinjan Groenewald