Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hillbrow

In 2008 I created the first white flag for Hillbrow and have since created many as a call to peace, justice and reconciliation. Here is the story of the white flag by Johannes Cladders:

Johannes Cladders wrote the following about the white flag: 
"It consists of a piece of fabric or any other comparable material. 
Its dimension and shape can be described objectively. ... 
The white flag means freedom.Oct 18, 2012

For some reason many of the other white flags dissapeared but this one, the first one torn and damage appears loyally every year to be shown proudly and with meaning. Last night, although 3 days too late, we managed the last sunset at the Scottish Horse Memorial with Hope Mwenda, Nonsikelelo Dhlomo, Adrian Tony aka Smurf and Lelsey Motsweu.




Monday, October 7, 2019

Reflecting moments Loxton



Waiting for the moon to rise, conversations with meaningful people and the land without water is just a few moments that affects all of us deeply...it is important to feel the silence...walk the land and re-connect with the soles of our feet to the earth. These are not measurable, cannot be calculated with an M&E, does not fit into a Log Frame. Yet, these are the only things perceived to matter. Development of the self,  learning perspectives, understanding the world we live in cannot be measured in words or figures.






'Postcards in Time – Loxton'

In September I re-visited Loxton 'Die Huis van Tyd' and the Riverine Rabbit Thinking Path. I installed the postcard cloths in the house...and the sterfjas.

Die gedig 'Die Sterfjas' van Melanie Grobler in 2017 deur Andrew van der Merwe op geskryf teen 'Die huis van Tyd' se mure. Gedurende 2018 het ek weer gewerk aan 'Die Huis van Tyd' gedurende 'n residensie en het poskaarte gemaak van my tyd daar in Mei Maand. In September het ek die poskaarte van materiaal opgehang in die 'Huis van Tyd'...die proses die maak, die gesprek gaan voort...tot nog 'n keer...






Letters from Lesra

Hurricane by Bob Dylan

During the 1960 with severe segregation laws still in place, USA, a young sportman called Rubin Carter a.k.a. the Hurricane was apprehended for the double murder in New Jersey. He was sentenced despite the evidence not adding up, despite a near dead eye witness saying it is not him, despite timelines not adding up.

Bob Dylan wrote a song in 1976 called the Hurricane...

'Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out, "My God, they killed them all!"
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world'

During 1980 a young man from Queens, called Lesra Martin bought his book whilst living in Toronto, Canada. 'The Sixteenth Round' was written in jail by Rubin Carter and Lesra read it passionately. On the 20th September 1980 a letter arrived for Rubin Carter in jail. The following is how the letter started:
Dear Mr. Rubin Carter,
I read your book, and I really felt sad...about what happened to you.                I want you to know how much your book meant to me.

Rubin Carter answered this young man as his story inspired him:
"Everything I lost...that really matters, I lost at the hands of white folks.                  I know what you mean, but they ain't all bad.

This started a correspondence that lead to the release of Rubin Hurricane Carter in 1985.

I created this artwork as a response to the song, the story and the injustice which sticks to us as people in this century, the traces of injustice embedded in theDNA of the people we disregarded. 











Friday, August 16, 2019

1001 Stories-Winter in Algeria by Ellen Rogers

Book 3 1001 Stories


The third book follows Victorian women working in factories in contrast to Ellen Roger’s own reality. Her criticism of the condition that women live in Algiers, trying to highlight the miserable conditions, as told in a story.

 ‘Hassan-el-Djeninah saw the state of affairs in an instant. The Giaour must be in the chest! He knocked over the wretched black slave like a ninepin, rushed to the chest, and tried to raise the lid. 'The key, woman ! the key !' he cried. 'My lord, I have it not. It is lost ; it is gone to be mended!" Hassan was not a man to be trifled with; the trembling…page 104. 

 

I was 8 years old when my mother gave me a copy of the 1001 Arabian Nights as a book to read as a Christmas gift -1973. Die mooiste verhale uit die Arabiese Nagte vertaal deur Andre Brink en illustrasies van Janusz Grabiański. Initially my mother and I read the book together until I was confident enough to read it by myself. The book was the thickest book I possessed with beautiful drawings and formed much of my adolescent fantasies around romance and love. The mysterious women with veils dressed in beautiful clothing in brilliant colours (as per the illustrations). 


Nothing was more exciting then the following line "En Sjeherazade begin met die volgende verhaal..."






Algerian Artist-Winter in Algeria by Ellen Rogers

Book 2 Algerian Women      
In researching Ellen’s life, her own reality and misplaced identity of being presented as a wife and therefor reflecting my own reality and at times misguided identity to the mysterieus tales of a 1001 nights to Victorian women working in factories to feminist writing by Mouloud Siber and Seddiki Sadia on the travels of the orient. I read about an Algerian artist called Baya Mahieddine born in 1931 in Bordj el Kiffan. Her brilliant paintings of colourful women clothed in beautiful fabrics with their dark hair and eyes outlined in dark kohl intrigued my sense of the identity of Algerian women compared to the identity of the women on the front page of Elle’s book. My researched of “herstory” is yet again based on so many variants of the way in which women so easily are portrayed as a wife of someone. Early research presented Baya as wife number four of an Algerian man, had to give up her passion for painting and education, that marriage barred her from fulfilling her life. Later reading presented her as a woman determined to make her own choices.   
‘But the artist refused to define herself using the terminology of the Western canon. She created work that was deeply personal, rooted in her childhood and her home. As Sana Makhoul asks in her research paper on the artist, ‘Why do we have to define and categorize artwork from non-Western cultures by imposing on them Western definitions and terminology?’

Between Ellen perceived as a feminist travel writer in the Victorian era, Baya as an Algerian artist born between two world wars and Erica (myself) born whilst Baya was still alive on the same continent a connection was stitched together.  





Winter-Winter in Algeria by Ellen Rogers 1865

Book1 Winter 
I sat down and looked around me listening to robust and difficult conversations. I fingered a book in front of me and the cover page slipped of and the spine collapsed. I quickly pulled my hand back and felt guilty. I cast my eyes around and many people were deep in discourse, touching books, handing over books and pointing to books lying on a very long boardroom table in Nugget Square Unit 15.
In the end I selected the book that was lying in front of me and from which I pulled my fingers back. It was written by Ellen Rogers and published 1865 about her journey in 1862-63 to Algeria. It was the image on the cover that attracted my eyes. The covered woman, wrapped in fabric, layered with material. Inside were a few printed images that were beautiful. These are copies made from watercolors by the Consul- General Mr.Churchill, somebody Ellen praises in her journal. (Page 81)
I knew very little about Algeria accept off course the violent history with the French colonialisers and the brutality of war, massacre and religious intolerance.
In the first book I re-constitute some of the drawings and embroidered the pages holding information of her journey. I selected parts of Ellen Rogers’s original journal and some of the pages that talks directly to the fact that Britain could and should have rather been the colonialiser of Algiers according to her. Constantly she also refers to Faith, specifically the Christian Faith as the only way to help, tame, and support the poor ‘musselmans’. She refers to this, as it is her knowledge base as the only answer of a better future in Algeria.