Mixed media busts, Patrice Lumumba and Mobutu, collaboration, Nicola Holgate and Maurice Mbikayi. On display at Zeitz Mocaa, Cape Town, as part of a group exhibition (Im still waiting to credited as co creator in this collaboration...why?)
I wanted to show you some process photos. As I mentioned the challenge was to use recycled, found and what have you materials at hand.
The result of this approach as an added benefit is that the busts are very light weight and strong, a bonus if they ever need to be shipped anywhere (as opposed to heavy cast materials)
I always wish that I had taken more photos during the making phase but the truth is that they are more often or not an after thought, at the end of the day, in the worst light.
While trying my hand at sculpture for the first time last year at Greatmore, I had Maurice as a neighbour in the studio across the courtyard. This courtyard at Greatmore is a very special place where artists come out of their respective caves and talk. Its also a very visceral perspective of each others practice, you can see, hear, smell and feel what the other is up to all day.
Maurice works hard. His practice is one that definitely blows any idea of artistic "glamour" out of the water. It takes a lot of hard slog, working with difficult materials to make his works. His themes are equally difficult, focused on the inevitably apocalyptic / dystopian outcome of our human endeavours. With good reason too, coming from the Congo as he does, he has personal experience and national history to draw on.
In November last year, already in full swing in preparation for his current exhibition, he expressed the wish to include more figurative sculptures, portraits; specifically of the two most central historical Congolese political figures, in his show somehow. If only he had the time to make them.
And so a collaboration was born. I was game to give it try, I had the time and Maurice very sweetly expressed confidence in my ability to pull them off. I'm grateful to him for this push. THIS exchange is the essence of the beauty of colleagues in any industry.
We are both interested in using found and recycled materials in our processes, indeed this is our primary meeting point as artists. Fancy art materials are expensive anyway, so we added the mandate, or challenge if you will, for the sculptures to be as cost effective as possible considering a non existent budget between the two of us. Obviously you also want to make work that is going to stand the test of time; they must have archival value as objects.
Oh, and he needed three heads for his babies too, so my five sculptural contributions in total took me three months to make; using newspaper, cardboard, clay, and of course paint. We agreed that Maurice would finish off the busts with newspaper collage, resin and clothing details. Maurice added video and sound to the installation in their final presentation which I, sadly, have not seen as I left Cape Town before he completed them. I await an online share.
The busts of Mobutu and Patrice Lumumba in particular are super cool as objects I think but I have not fully wrapped my head around their importance as commentary. They are a warning. They are Caesar and Brutus; an historical loop. They are a tragic legend. A political recurrence throughout history. They are happening now. Maurice's entire show asks us "Will we ever learn or is it too late?" "Are you ready for the results of your actions?" "Do you have your own house, heart and soul in order?"
Thank you Maurice for the photos (from our WhatsApp chat, so they are not fancy you understand)
Maurice's show is currently on at Gallery Momo, Cape Town
Joburg Fringe docks in Cape Town.
New city, new artists and mother city energy to keep us all on our toes.
Joburg Fringe does Cape Town brings together the best of Joburg, in the Cape Town art scene.
Featuring live DJ showcase, poetry, video art and of course the visual art, and things in between.
Full list of artists exhibiting available on the Joburg Fringe page.
Offering an inclusive art space welcoming all walks of life, and beyond.
Official participants in Cape Town Art Week 2019.
1m2 volume . A couple of months ago, my fellow artist here at Greatmore, Maurice, had a little studio clear out to make space for his large works in progress. One of the things he was letting go of was a couple of fiberglass molded fish bodies. The story behind them made this hard for him to do.
It goes like this: Many years ago Maurice started hanging out with the taxidermist at the Iziko museum, in order to learn the basics of mold making and working with fiberglass. The relationship developed into one of an unofficial mentor-ship, an apprenticeship offered from a place of generosity and a meeting of creative minds. Maurice and the man became very fond of each other. When the taxidermist retired, he gave a couple of fiberglass blanks to Maurice when clearing out his own studio. So Maurice was happy to hand them on to me and see them used. No pressure!
At the beginning of the year I made a small fish for a charity auction that I liked so much, I was dying to make another, so of course, here was the perfect base, only about 10 times bigger. The mold was made from an actual real-life full-size Steenbrass. These fish have become endangered so their own story ties in perfectly with the message I want to convey with this piece.
It has taken 2 months to cover the fish in single use plastic cutlery with water bottle details. Attaching each piece with hot glue, which is essentially melted plastic has been excruciating! My finger tips have been burnt and blistered again and again! The things we do for art :) So finally it is done, I present you with this fishy situation thats as much about the pollution of our oceans and the fish that live in it, as it is about what we consume as a result, this plastic contamination that we eat with chips!
The aggressive fishing of our oceans and the waste created by that industry is referenced by the endangered Steenbrass and the net its caught in, coupled with the plastics pollution coming from our addiction to throw away consumerism. I have aimed to elevate everyday disposable junk to art. To make a beautiful and precious thing from materials that are normally discarded without a thought. And of course, the work of the old museum taxidermist is finally brought to fruition. I wonder if he would have approved?
Their payoff line says it all and you got to love it: "The Joburg Fringe is an artist-run initiative run on Joburg energy + fokol funding"
Check out the itinerary in the doc attached! Unlike the mainstream Art Fairs, its FREE !
The story of the little Mermaid is nearly 200 years old, give or take a decade or two. The pioneers in the field of psychology or psychoanalysis; Freud and Jung both, used stories like this as case studies to illustrate and introduce their concepts of the conscious and the unconscious parts of our minds.
If you know the story, feel free to skip my synopsis in the next paragraph; and I don't mean the Disney version with all the horrible bits left out and the ending rewritten.
Anderson's original version, if you are unfamiliar with it, has a complicated animosity between the world below and the world above, involving a clash that causes the death of the Queen, the little Mermaids mother. The little Mermaids older sisters drown sailors for fun, more in tune with the traditional “siren” model of Mermaid behavior while the little Mermaid herself is fascinated rather than repelled by the world above, collecting a problematic amount of human artifacts from shipwrecks and falling in love with the Prince she watches from her watery world. When a storm sinks his ship, she saves him, taking him to a beach where he is found by a beautiful human Princess who the Prince believes to be his savior; having no recollection of the truth. The Mermaid contrives to become human so that she can win the affections of the Prince and be with him forever. She approaches the sea Witch for help. The Witch who takes the little Mermaid's voice in exchange for human legs, is also her Aunt, her Father's estranged sister. The Witch gives the Mermaid three days to to get the Prince to fall in love with her, failing which she will die and become seafoam; as Mermaids don't have immortal souls. Things are set up so that the Prince in turn “finds” the little Mermaid in her human form and adopts her into his inner circle. As she cannot speak, the Mermaid entertains and attempts to attract the Princes romantic interest by dancing for him, even though she experiences pain with each step on her new feet. The Prince however decides to marry the Princess who found him on the beach, spelling the Mermaids death according to the contract with the Witch. The little Mermaids sisters go to the Witch and get a dagger in exchange for their beautiful hair, a subplot here finds the Witch now in possession of the little Mermaids lovely voice and her sisters hair, making her beautiful for some diabolical plan against the sea King that we won't go into. The sisters give the dagger to the little Mermaid and tell her to kill the Prince on his wedding night in order to be returned to the sea as a Mermaid. However, the little Mermaid cannot bring herself to do this, she throws the dagger into the sea and dies. As she is becoming seafoam, angels appear and lift her spirit up with them, to spend 300 years bringing happy vibes to children in order to be granted an immortal soul and access to heaven. The Prince takes a moment to be sad about the disappearance of the Mermaid, still without any idea of the whole story but lives happily ever after. In a nutshell.
I am intrigued by this notion of using a made up fantastical story to analyse the human psyche. Indeed, long before the fairy tale writers we know and love, like Anderson and Grimm, stories have been the vehicle for sharing values, morals, the intricacies of human nature and the murky depths of what lies beneath the surface of the conscious; like greek mythology or the bible even. In fact there are common threads that weave their way through all of these stories.
Of course Jung and Freud had different takes on the psychoanalytical concepts of the unconscious. My understanding of it is that Jung believed there was not only a personal unconscious but also a collective unconscious, an inherited, instinctive mind process filled with alchemical symbolism and imagery, like fairy tales. Jung thought that one should seek to form a relationship with the unconscious or go kicking and screaming through what you cannot prevent experiencing anyway.
Freud on the other hand believed that the unconscious was unique to the individual; a bubbling cauldron of dangerous and primordial stuff that comes out one way or another, the result of tension between the Id, (the Id defined as wants, desires, impulse and instinct) the Ego (the sense of self) and the Superego (the Superego being responsible for our moral judgement). This tension caused by life experiences. Freud thought that the unconscious needs to be made conscious.
Between the two of them, if it's not one thing, it’s your mother, you know?
But back to the little Mermaid; this story has been used for psychoanalytic study since somewhere in the 1940's. Having written the story in the 1830’s, it's worth keeping in mind what the world the author lived in was like. A world where the most esteemed person in the land would be a King, with the majority of people living as farmers, cobblers, bakers, goatherds and such. A world with an emphasis on Christian morals and values, where your actions secured your place in heaven or damned you to hell for eternity. A world that also allowed for the notions of magical characters, good or evil, like Fairies, Witches and Wizards, Trolls and Angels.
I have a copy of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales illustrated by Jiri Trnka, published in 1959. I have loved this book since I was a small child, in particular the illustration of the Prince being saved by the Mermaid. What I loved about it was the way the waves are drawn, very graphic, hook- like and ominous. I liked the position of the Prince’s body that struck me as a natural position for a floating body, it feels right. I love the the way his hair seemed to be rooted in the water. What bothered me though, was how the body seems to be placed on top of the image of the ocean, more as if floating in the air than in the sea. I also always felt like the Mermaid in this image was rather superfluous, surely not doing very much in her action and angle.
I googled what a drowning person would look like and found an article on this body position exactly, where the air in the lungs causes the body to hinge and hang off of the upper center of the back. Im convinced that the illustrator had witnessed a body in this position for real.
So how is the story analysed? I'm going to give it a bash and probably make both good doctors turn in their graves! Apologies in advance.
I like to think that both Jung and Freud can agree at the very least that the sea can represent the unconscious. Then let's imagine that the Prince himself represents the conscious or the Ego.
The little Mermaid could represent an aspect of the unconscious that is destined, according to the story, to become conscious, once she is fully embraced and integrated. A fishy female energy that comes from the deepest depths to be made part of the upper reality of the world if all conditions are properly met. One could consider her a representation of the Id from a Freudian perspective. So in the original story, the Id is therefore rescuing the ego, or the self from the tumultuous sea of the emotional unconscious. However, to remain a permanent part of the Prince's life, the Id must get the Ego to fall in love with and “marry” it in 3 days. Impossibly, it must do so with no voice and in excruciating pain caused by the feet that replace the tail.
To the Mermaid Jung might say, there is never enough time and love is always painful, and as for the Prince, his male centered world benefits from the female attentions of both the little Mermaid and the Princess on the beach, leading to a happy result for him.
Of course, in the story these caveats laid out by the Witch that made this magic happen are insurmountable obstacles and even though the Prince is ultimately very fond of the little Mermaid, she remains voiceless and never truly known by him.
If the Mermaid represents an aspect of the unconscious that can save him, then by humanising her BUT without an identity; voiceless, helpless, virginal, she can never completely be an equal, or a sexual partner. As she is from the unconscious and instinctive, the conscious cannot access her genuine qualities and purity of being.
She pays the price of eternal silence and dies while he lives happily ever after, oblivious that he got it all wrong with her! He gets to do this because the Mermaids heroic act of saving him leads the Prince to meeting another that he marries instead. For shame! Or perhaps, when the Prince marries someone else, he let go of his Id and the Mermaid?
I must add that an analysis of the little Mermaid herself presents this question; is she that loyal part of ourselves that is so intent on reconciliation, on getting the “orphans of our consciousness” to meet and marry (but not always successfully) Or is she a complete doormat suffering from a hoarding disorder and daddy issues? Freud would suggest that she presents with a case of penis envy (powerlessness, for us ordinary folk) acted out as risky and rebellious behavior, due to a struggle with her Superego, aspects of which are represented in the story by both her authoritarian Father and the scheming Witch. Or something like that anyway.
So if the Mermaid saves this sorry ego from drowning in his unconsciousness by momentarily making him aware of this aspect of his Id, then what happens if the Id does not reveal itself to him at all? well what happens is that he is just another soul, drowning in an emotional sea of unmet desires, pressures of external expectations and overwhelming life issues with no desire to live. End of story. No Mermaids, no beautiful Princesses on the beach, no magical wedding on a ship, just another overwhelmed human man out of his element.
Now, maybe that is more like the reality of life but let's take it just a little bit further and follow Anderson's inclination to shine a little light at the end of the tale with a dash of moral lesson. What if this half-human/ half-fish plays the same role in this story as the half-human/ half-god in others? This story character that can never be properly loved and appreciated by the mere humans they take care of, characters that always end up sacrificed for the greater good in some way. Would you call this faith?
I decided to re-imagine the image, leaving the Mermaid out of it and just look at the situation the Prince is in. I emphasised the patterns of the water in the original but laid them over the drowning Prince transparently, suspending him in the water, not the air and at the mercy of the pull of the black waves in the distance. It is clear that he, a being of air is in a life threatening situation in the water, setting up the scene for the fact that a Mermaid, a being of water, is in equal danger if living in the air on land.
I had to wonder how you would analyse the story from either school of thought, if no Mermaid came to rescue the Prince. Well of course, without the Mermaid there really isn't any story at all; Prince falls overboard, drowns, the end.
But, what if the Mermaid /Id is a metaphor for an innate desire to survive, a basic impulse to make it through? what if that was what could save the drowning man? Can he save himself? Is there still a tale without the fairy?
What if this version of the illustration does have a Mermaid in it, just not one you can see? After all the story is not over in this image one way or another. He may yet survive or he may not, we don't know. His fate is up to whatever comes up from below, or above, or from within. This is life. This is the story.
Maybe the moral of the tale is that we should all get in touch with our inner little Mermaid, try to make it to shore and find our happily ever after.
Size: 55cm high.
This articulated figure is sculpted in paper clay on a wooden ball jointed manikin and dressed in a variety of ethnic fabric and haberdashery remnants.
She embodies my impression of the spirit of Generation Z.
Gen Z are the youngest group of humans, born after 1995, and range from 0 to 23 years of age.
They are a unique generation for many important reasons, including being the first group of human beings to have no concept of a world without the internet and personal devices to access it. This makes a generation of people who have a wide range of haphazard knowledge and education gained from the school of video tutorial, indeed they are know for not looking up from their screens and engaging with the world around them a lot of the time. It is speculated that as a generation anxiety disorders are extremely prevalent, possibly as a result of the degree of digital connectivity that is their norm.
Young South Africans of this generation are also the first genuinely “born free” people, in more than 200 years.
As a group the data that has been gathered on them world wide indicates a clear set of traits regardless of origin.
For instance, their sense of style is irreverent and individualistic, freely mixing traditional and modern elements in a way that follows no rules. In fact the merit of rules are likely to be assessed via internet searches before they are either accepted or discarded.
A similar attitude can be seen in relationships with older generations. The idea of respect for elders simply because of age, or for authority for that matter, is seen by this generation as a thing to be earned via actions and evidence, not as a given or a rule. I have read studies where their arrival in the boardrooms of the future is nervously anticipated with conflict expected where baby boomers are in the seats of authority. At the crux of this issue lies the fact that they have an inherent understanding of new technologies that puts them in the position of teacher, rather than pupil.
The data also shows that their hopes and aspirations are more likely to be focused on happiness rather than wealth and position and that they are unlikely to be interested in business models that include authoritarian baby boomer styles anyway.
I think they are beautiful and interesting as a group. They are inheriting a broken world with overwhelming problems but we have already seen the power of their voice in the media in response to large issues like the gun laws in the USA. I fear they are also a vulnerable group that is faced with growing mental health issues, addiction and an epidemic of suicide as the answer to the question that is life.
With this figure I celebrate them.
I celebrate their quirky clash of ideas that has to save our world because it's a job laid at their feet. Its now or never. I acknowledge that they are not like the rest of us. They are a whole new type of human being. They are the sum of all human evolution and I believe they can and will change the world absolutely.
Merit award from Vuleka art competition with ArtB Gallery for my portrait of Kimathi! Top 6! So pleased!
Thank you Artb Gallery for a fantastic event. Every one of the pieces in this exhibition was incredible. Its rare to see. Congratulations to the three winners, they were carefully chosen and deserving, and Im so proud to be one of the three merit award recipients. Yay!
SOLD! And I must admit I cried. This project, that has over 100 or more original pieces in it has been in my life for 2 years. Its a deeply personal work and I have grown attached.
That said, I have imagined a million times, who it may be that I was making it for..it was never mine.
Im so delighted that the house will soon belong to not one but three children! Of both genders! None of that dolls houses are for girls only nonesence. (Over the past months I have met many men who have confessed to loving a dolls house in childhood)
I cant wait to meet them and show them all the bits, many of which cannot be seen by just looking. I hope the house lives long in their lives, art disguised as a toy, a toy disguised as art, an artful toy, a nursery for future art lovers and even art makers!
Thank you gorgeous George of Chandler house, for a happy experience. #dollshouse #sold #chandlerhouse
The Dolls house and "over the wall" neighborhood paintings can now be visited at Chandler House, 53 Church street, Cape Town. One of my favorite galleries in the city. Its First Thursday this week! Be sure to swing by to have a look and say hi.
Fresh off the easel, a portrait of Kimathi Mafofo, an artist resident at Greatmore studios. Kimathi was raised in Kimberly by her artist father and has lived in Cape Town for several years where she is raising her two young daughters.
Her artistic process entails painting large canvases filled with foliage, often featuring a female figure draped in a veil, symbolizing protection. She is known for photographing her work, printing them onto smaller pieces of fabric and embroidering all the detail.
The portrait shadows her work and process, with her skirt referencing the veil. I have painted her in many layers of oil and glaze, resulting in a soft feminine translucency. Size: 1445mm x 785mm
A thought experiment: What if you combined color theories?
I was curious to see what it would look like if you could see colors in the body associated with chakras, emotions and facial expressions and how they would correlate. Do they correlate? Imagine if this is what we could see in each other? Would it be easier to understand each other?
Wouldn't it be more accurate to define each other with a wider range of color descriptions beyond black, white and the blends of the two? And how very inaccurate that is anyway, if people were black or white, then surely the two combined would be grey? Strange that when we refer to a combination of black and white in people, we called them colored. Imagine how unpleasant it would be if we referred to them as grey?
And imagine if we turned blue when feeling sad. Funny that we do say that: "feeling blue" but never say "feeling red" or yellow, orange, green or purple.
In my Mannequin, I have combined the three theories, I think its a fun result.
For a good while there, after making a woman and 3 children, the glaring absence in the family was the husband character. Now this wasn’t a particularly intentional situation, I just didn’t get around to it. You must make all the toys before you can play with them and I have made a lot of things in and around this house. For my narrative, the husband is so central; the reason the house and the lifestyle exist at all, that is wasn’t necessary to have a physical character to represent him. This is the structure of many privileged homes. The fact is many husbands and fathers are absent while they work to afford the bodies that stay at home. That stay at home in this kind of home. So that’s a different story, because thinking about the people who should be a permanent presence in this kind of house made me realise that of course, there had to be a maid even before there had to be a husband. The Maid, a counterbalance to the Madam.
Let’s face it, very few women of any race would be living in a house this size, managing the sheer volume of “things” inside the house, not to mention looking after the needs of three children without help. The notion that this help would be provided by the husband is not an impossible one but in Africa, it is rather improbable.
And oh, my goodness, how can I begin to unpack the complexities of the Maid vs Madam relationship. I am totally daunted.
I have been not only a Madam myself but have also been a child in a home that employed Maids. I say Maids because there is that too. One may have one Maid for many years, but most homes will have a history of many women who have filled this role, who have worn the household uniforms. These women who in a broad sense may as well have been one person. A person who sits on the fence between employee and family member. A person whose background will have so many similarities to those who came before her and those who will follow. Backgrounds that included poverty and lack of opportunity, husbandless homes of their own and children who miraculously take care of themselves. This common background that goes without saying. Backgrounds that are inconvenient and awkward to think about let alone genuinely care about as well.
That’s not to say that there are no instances where a Maid and a Madam have done well at an arrangement that is comfortable and fair, at least, as fair as possible. In my experience however, this is not easily done. Particularly when both sides have been anaesthetised by “how it’s always been done” and the very many implications of that, from both sides.
Then there is the child’s experience of being cared for by a Maid. That added layer of mother fat, that friend, that slave, that possession, that adult authority. That rock or that hell. All the while, never really thinking about her children that are probably never seen. The children that wear your old clothes and play with your old toys. The children that are out of sight and out of mind.
I don’t present a maid in this house with any clever message in mind. I’m not inclined to offer any advice or solutions. I simply present her as pivotal must have figure. A conversation we need to have.
Anyway, others have written about it better than I can. I attach some links on opinion and research pieces I have found online below. You will notice many common themes.
Speaking of, a writing workshop will be held with the house as a stage on the 11th April at Greatmore. It will be hosted by myself and Maire Fisher.
On seeing the Facebook advert for this event, Gill, an ex-South African living in New Zealand contacted me. She told me how she uses images and objects to do a form of spiritual counselling focused on evaluating your relationship with your God and Dream work; a method of psychological counselling. She explained that she would like to try working with the house for herself. Not physically obviously, being so far away but via images of it. She enquired about the maid which I have mentioned in an earlier post, so I shared images with her featuring this character.
She sent me two examples of how she worked with the maid images and the image of the kitchen featured in the invite.
The first piece is a prayer, using the trick of imagining herself in this kitchen; the sights, sounds and smells as a reflection on her life. The second are thoughts about the maid relationship drawing parallels with a disconnected relationship with God. I think they are very interesting and for me, an affirmation that this house has value as more than just a toy. Thank you so much Gill.
I present you with the maid here today, I made her as beautiful as I could. I intend no offence, these are simply memory images of how it was and still is. How do we talk about this? How will our children talk about it? What is the future of this relationship?
The following downloads are Gills work, the first "email" is an explanation of what she does and thoughts on using the house in her work, the second and third: "Prayer" and "A maids tale" are her writing work using the Kitchen image and the Maid images below.
If you are unfamiliar with Máire Fisher and her novel "Birdseye" see a review in the link below. A story of a family living in a very familiar False Bay setting, from the view point of Bird, a young girl.
Máire immediately had a vision of writing into the doll's house when she first saw it. I think the idea of a writing workshop with so many details to draw from is truly inspired and I cant wait to read stories conceived from the viewpoint of others.
The idea ties in exactly with my own urge to collaborate with others on stories. Over the past months, I have loved seeing how different people react to the house. It evokes something in everyone. A grown man confessed to fond memories of playing in a dolls house as a child, a child asked me "what is a dining room?" an American visitor to my studio and I cried in each others arms.
I have added a new character to the house that I will reveal in a further post. A character that invites a whole new conversation. A very Southern African one. A version of this character lives in Máire's novel too, an important person in little Bird's life, as is true for many South African children past and present. The Maid. The other woman, the other mother in our white homes. A woman with a secret life and longings children don't wonder about in their possession of this woman.
Stay tuned for pictures of her, I made her as beautiful as I could, as these women are.
Back to the point though! If you have ever wanted to write, or are already writing, consider spending a magical morning with Máire and the dolls house in the setting of an Art Exhibition. You will be surrounded by art above and beyond the doll's house itself, including work from 2 other artists. Certainly, there will be enough visual stimulation to inspire novels.
Residency Show, 5th April to 12th April 2018 (note: date change)
Please save the date to visit our group residency show from April 5th to April 12th at Greatmore Art studios, Woodstock, Cape Town. Im hoping to be announcing other little happenings in connection with this show during this period, so stay tuned!
You are also invited to the opening on the 5th April at 6pm. I hope to see some of my people there!
After almost 18 months of making my dolls house, its finally no longer this thing in my head, what a relief not only for myself but for those around me to see what I've been aiming for...I've had a lot of head tilting puzzlement to contend with. Not helped by my mumbled explanation because I really didn't know what I was doing either. So now, here it is, this massive creation that happened.
Its been really interesting to witness how people respond to it. The most recurring reaction is this natural tendency to "dream into" it. This term "dreaming into" is something I heard from my friend Dain Peters, a practicing psychotherapist.
I have been aware of the therapeutic aspect of a dolls house my whole life, having lived in my own as a child. So this lovely phrase resonated for me. Of course, this is exactly what we do in play, this dreaming and enacting. (I had a giggle watching this grown man bending arms and legs of the mother doll, wanting to find a natural position for her to sit, This, his first time "playing" with a doll of any kind. "She looks too stern!" he says, tilting her head a little.)
He told me of a Doctor J.L. Moreno who came up with the concept of psycho drama. A practice that has been used for individuals as well as entire communities to understand and process trauma or conflict. The concept involves role play, story telling, and witness. This allows the protagonist to step back and view their own story from all sides. To analyse actions, thoughts and choices connected to an event or a problem.
Is this not what a dolls house allows also?
Our conversation led on to to all the details and layers in our lives and homes, these things that when represented in a dolls house allows the illusion of a reality. We dreamed together about the personal life this woman in the house may have, and the glaring absence of a male figure...because I haven't made one...yet.
The image of a bunch of letters tied with ribbon came up. Personal things; letters, jewelry, papers.
A treasure box in the house, things you wont or cant immediately see. What a sweet layer that would be .
The idea of course stuck and manifested in a little video complete with historical background and appropriate sound track. But there is a problem...I broke the law! of copyright that is. Due to the music the video was rejected by both Facebook and Instagram. so disappointing!
After hours of researching this rather dry subject I have managed a compromise. I have uploaded this video to YouTube and they have allowed it but with restrictions. Be warned, the video may not work on all devices, probably not on a cell phone or ipad but may work fine on a laptop or desktop PC. Also, it may be riddled with adverts. Ce La Vie. At least it remains as I intended.
The song in question is a sweet and poignant one, originally written for a screen play in 1945, it was put on the map later by Ketty Lester who sang it in a gospel style for the first time and gave it a whole new lease on life. This is the version I chose. It has been covered by so many others; Elvis, Tom Jones, Allison Moyet and many more in between and since.
The love letters themselves were written by famous people. Some surprising and some we all know about, like Beethoven's "immortal beloved" The copied letters (including Beethoven's) were written by Burt Reynolds, Winston Churchill , Zelda Fitzgerald, Henry Ford, Johnny Cash and Jimmy Hendrix. What a motley crew.
I hope you manage to view my offering and enjoy it. I know! its very sentimental but very much speaks to my own life and mood.
The love letters
My family and I are contemplating our futures after living in Botswana for more than 15 years; preparing to pull up those roots and hope like hell there is a good place to put them next. In this frame of mind its so comforting to get a message like this from a friend who knows exactly what its like:
"It's such a complicated business this leaving thing and sadly it's the price us white Africans pay for wanting to stay in the continent we were born and brought up in but will never feel wholly at home in. But at least you are going back to the country you have a birth right to - sadly I can no longer do that and nor would I much want to.
The difficult thing about any leave taking is who you leave behind and the state you leave them in. When you tell people you're off you get a selection of reactions ranging from the smug "aren't I lucky, I don't have to do that (yet)", to the slightly desperate "oh my god I wish I were them" with every possible emotion in between. As soon as you announce your intentions you become aware that you, and only you (apparently) are responsible for shaking up the status quo. Friends who you thought absolutely loved the place suddenly announce how much they hate it and, conversely, acquaintances who couldn't wait to be off suddenly exhibit a hitherto unnoticed patriotism akin to nationalism.
And what of you? The person leaving? Whatever you say in your pronouncements to friends and foe alike, you'll upset or please someone depending on a whole load of stuff going on in their head that you're not even privy to.
And the trouble is, it's easy to say it doesn't matter and it's just about you and your nearest and dearest. But it's not that simple. Because we aren't all islands much as we would sometimes like to be and it's at times like this that we realize we DO matter to some people and they matter to us but that there's also a whole load of people we couldn't care less for - and the surprising thing is we don't know which category they all fit into until that final wave goodbye.
So to sum up? You're in for a rough couple of months as you teeter on the brink of your new life and you may have to accept that your friends and acquaintances need to hug goodbye and say their piece and convince or reassure themselves that they're ok and you're ok and because you're who you are, you have to let that happen however hard it seems.
Does that help? Probably not. There's no easy way for this to play out. But you WILL survive and the day WILL come that you know you made the right decision and that some people were behind you all the way and others just drifted away..........and that's an incredibly valuable thing that not everyone gets a chance to take forward."
I have been quiet for a long time! Lets just say life has been particularly interesting of late. So...I did finish my last commission; done, dusted and delivered. I broke a few of my own rules with it, mainly in that I worked from a photograph supplied by the model, which I never usually do and wont lightly do again. Mostly because it lacks my "style" I suppose and feels a bit unauthentic And it feels more like a collaboration than an original work...but it was a satisfactory result anyway. So, all good.
July 2015. TJ Dema, a local poet and performance artist. Portrait commissioned by Regent Insurance Agents. The first part of her poem on "Dreams" included. Oil on canvas,
h: 1600mm x w: 8000mm
As a part time social media manager, specifically Facebook Pages, I have had to explain the workings to many, Some businesses would like to have a Facebook Page but are not Facebook users themselves at all. I have attempted to make an info graphic; it may just bee too much info though!! I hope its useful. Click here to download.
"Woodshedding (© 2009 by Thomas Dodd )
There is a phenomenon that Jazz musicians refer to as “Woodshedding” which is when a player realizes he needs to improve his skills, so he retreats from the world of playing gigs and locks himself in a room (or woodshed as the case may be) until he gets it right,or has a breakthrough in his skill/creativity level. This piece of mine certainly represents a woodshedding moment in my journey as an image-maker (and of course is specifically ABOUT woodshedding) and it remains one of my favorite (and most popular) images.. Someone asked me once what the formula for success was and I answered "I don't know, all I know is that I do the best with what I have and what I can get - I am NEVER satisfied and am constantly trying to do better..." I continue to strive for more Woodshedding type breakthroughs, and I hope that all of you have these rare and euphoric "Eureka" moments in your lives from time to time as well! "
Struggling to bond with this lady, so I lost the hat and gave her a hair cut. I guess she is just going to be what she is in the end...
If you had to imagine colour, specifically the 7 chakra colours as a volume equalizer, the bottom beginning at the base of your spine, the top ending at the crown of your head, how tuned in would you say you are? My math is rounded off in the percentage bar.
Painter and Sculptor