Princess in the Veld

Studio news/blog

As promised…here’s more info about this fantastic group show curated by Adele Adendorff.  Feeling very excited, blessed and thankful that my work is included in this show amongst wonderful fellow female South African artists.

The Princess in the Veld showcases a selection of sculpture works produced by local, contemporary female artists and contemplates the position of women in our current South African dispensation and forms part of the 2015 KKNK arts festival in Oudtshoorn. The exhibition hosts works by Frances Goodman, Doreen Southwood, Reshma Chhiba, Wilma Cruise, Karin Lijnes, Hannalie Taute and Larita Engelbrecht. Despite South Africa’s democratically premised constitution and the passing of numerous revised bills advocating the rights of women, female emancipation remains unrealised: Highlighted by high crime statistics of rape and domestic violence and prejudice against women in the workplace and society at large. Although a far more proactive approach is needed in order to enact real change for women in South Africa, this exhibition aspires to raise awareness of, and stimulate discussion around, the plight of women.

The ‘princess’, as part of the title, is employed as a thoroughly fabled, and somehow condescending, designation for women and underscores the relation between female identity and (gendered) space. The South African social landscape, still dominated by parochial views of women, is viewed as a space riddled with fallacies regarding femininity – a condition that merely serves to perpetuate the oppression of women. As an illustration of these literal and metaphoric spaces evident in society, fairy tales (narratives based on idealised and stereotypical notions of women) are utilised within the context of The princess in the veld as a curatorial slant to mirror these defunct views and abusive practices towards South African women. Fairy tales generally position female protagonists as extensions of particular (gendered) spaces within the narrative – private spaces, the domestic realm and nature) – spaces that are often shaped by (and upheld by) traditional roles assigned to women.

Despite the signs of prejudice scripted within the pages of these tales, alternative readings could, adversely, offer opportunity for transformation: The conventional fairy tale plot leads the heroine (usually spurred on by curiosity or emotion) into unfamiliar (and often forbidden) territory – a space generally designated by the forest, or in the case of indigenous tales, the veld. The word ‘veld’, as part of the title of the exhibition, suggests uncultivated, leveled grasslands associated with the South African landscape, in particular, the Karoo. The curated space therefore acts as a metaphor for the veld, wherein positive accounts of heterogeneous and transformative female identity could be shaped, illuminated by the selection of artworks, expressive of an empowered sense of femininity. As part of a kind of ‘corrective’ curatorial approach and the desire to reconceptualise female identity, the veld is conceived of as a space that engenders freedom from the constraints persistent in society, and serves to revise perceptions regarding female identity. The fairy tale is then employed as a curatorial mechanism that, on the one hand, emphasises the pervasiveness of conventional and essentialised notions of femininity and, on the other, promotes the emancipation of women that exist within the interstices these binaries yield. The bodies of work of the artists selected for this ensemble allude to the underlying notions prevalent in fairy tales of European and African origin in order to align with the premise of the show. words by Adele Adendorff as well as images below.

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The world at her fingertip

Art portfolio- my work

I am pleased to announce that this work is currently on show at the KKNK (Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, in Oudtshoorn (South Africa) until the 11th of April.  It is part of a fantastic group exhibition called “Princess in the Veld”, curated by Adele Adendorff.

I will post more about this specific group exhibition as soon as I can but in the mean time you can look at all the work and read more about each of the artists  here

The world at her fingertip 2015 (cotton thread, rubber/inner tube/ batting and wood. (photo courtesey of Adele Adendorff

The world at her fingertip 2015 (cotton thread, rubber/inner tube/ batting and wood. (photo credit: Adele Adendorff

From the curator’s pen:

Opting for rubber tyres and coloured cotton thread, Hannalie Taute’s engaging artworks weave a feminine narrative that re-stages parochial views and prevailing stereotypes of local women through her careful selection of medium, content and treatment. Taute’s practice is largely inscribed by a feminist agenda which aims to break down essentialised notions of female identity and offers, instead, an alternative view of the roles women play in culture and society with particular reference to the South African milieu. Drawing her inspiration from cultural myths, fairy tales and social constructs that often frame women as demure, subservient, fragile beings, Taute’s pieces aim to dismantle delimiting notions of femininity through the use of irony and pun. Similarly, the format of Taute’s artworks also negotiate the traditional boundaries imposed between so-called high art and craft which furthermore conflates Western and non-Western notions of art.

Taute’s incessant search for the regeneration and review of the female self is not merely explored thematically but also underscored, conceptually, through her unique selection of materials. The artist makes use of harsh, masculine associations evoked by the rubber tyres. This, juxtaposed alongside the labour-intensive and elaborate stitching of imagery and text, questions traditional associations of the domestic realm and so-called ‘women’s work’. The employment of the craft of embroidery, evident in The world at her fingertip (2015), situates Taute’s interpretation of female selves as simultaneously alluding to and resisting traditional notions of femininity. The artist’s often tongue-in-cheek approach subverts traditional notions of femininity and, instead, yields an interpretation of female identity that is liminal, empowered and engaging.

detail of work (The world at her fingertip)

detail of work (The world at her fingertip)

So if you are in the Oudthsoorn area, you are welcome to go and have a look.  The exhibition is at the Prince Vincent building in Baron van Rheede street, Oudtshoorn.