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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

When something Dies...

It’s exactly two weeks today I arrived Johannesburg South Africa for an artist residency at the Bag Factory located in Newtown. The recent xenophobic attacks have made everyone edgy but so far all seems good.
this image was take on my first day at the studio

My studio at the Bag Factory is pretty empty, very little happening. I cannot say I am completely settled but I have been around town, trying to find my bearing, gallery hopping for most of it, from Momo to Goodman, to Everead Read, Circa,  Harzard, the Wits gallery and one I can’t pronounce hence can’t spell. My best so far has to be the solo exhibition at Everead Read by artist Deborah Bell, it was an amazing experience and the group exhibition Intersections showing at the UNISA art gallery Pretoria.

The sculpture (with sound) installation at Everead Read Gallery


To do List...
Creating art is about learning to live within or to occupy existing narratives as opposed to trying to create one’s own and I doubt it’s even possible to do so.
My new series “Ivie” will be explored while I am here.  Beads are found within most African cultures, they take different forms and colours as one crosses borders. South Africa is one of those countries with colourful bead work, one style or form is common among zulu brides hence through this similar bead structure with the Bini brides from Nigeria, the discussion and examination of roles of women can therefore cross into this new space I am occupying.

As with residencies I attend, I like to use them as an opportunities to try new techniques and new materials. It is definitely a chance to experiment and I intend to do a lot of that.

So “When something Dies”...
Between Hairvolution and the Ivie series, one consistent element has been voids and absence, so as I think of something dying, I want to contemplate a void or absence, initiate a process of dying that will lead to a void.

Why...
One main feedback I received on Hairvolution was on the temporality of the materials I used (paper, ink jet print although fixed, newsprint) I tried to explain that temporality is a major component in the concept and development of the project (life and memories) hence it spilled into the materials I used. Since then I have been curios about this idea of something dying, allowing a death to occur rather than trying to save it, and how do we deal with this loss when it occurs?? I don’t know...

I have been thinking about initiating a project that starts and ends, not ending instantly but as time passes. My project at the Salzburg academy took a similar route but time wasn’t a factor in its termination as I had the work thrown away so it got a more instant ending. (I was sad about that)
I am interested in the subject of life and the cycle of starting and ending but not only with materials but the intangible, memories...
Memories have a beginning, initiated by an event or object (maybe or sometimes), but where does a memory start and where does it end? when a life is gone? But then it can begin again in and through another life or person. When I think about this, I also think about Ayie, and I taking on my father’s memories. I remember I said something in one of those posts on Ayie about choosing what memories are released but often times many memories go to the grave.

My interest here is in that start and end,  the forms they take as they move from host to host and how they begin another life in a new place or body, time becoming a major factor in this performance of life. Also I am thinking about the materiality of what is left over in the process, if any remains. I want to create a work and watch it die while I observe its life... a performance, thinking think thinking...

Anyway enough said, I haven’t figured it all out, if you are in Johannesburg feel free to holla or stop by at the Bag factory, I am here till July.
Before I forget, I have gotten a few “is this your hair” questions but not like Lagos (I do not exaggerate when I say I get it every day I step out of my house in Lagos). Population is probably one reason but there’s something about Nigerian women and their connection to hair...
Cheers!


I also met friends from  last year Asiko (Dakar)
Kitso and Dana, beautiful people.


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