A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

visual arts
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

DIS-LOCATION / RE-LOCATION (article first published : 2008-05-18)

Produced by Leora Farber, in collaboration with the South African design team Strangelove, Carlo Gibson and Ziemek Pater, Dis-Location / Re-Location, is a travelling exhibition which has now reached Durban on its tour of seven South African Museums during 2007 and 2008.

The premise of this multi-media, multi-disciplinary exhibition is how cultural identities are formed, re-defined and become ‘hybridised,’ according to Farber. The body of artwork challenges common assumptions that exist regarding cultural purity - one such assumption being that identity is static.

There is debate around identity construction, an issue particularly relevant in contemporary South Africa - at a time when this society finds itself in a process of redefining and building a new integrated South Africa from the diverse amalgam of cultures that coexist here. “This exploration extends into the questioning of what constitutes South African identity, in relation to South Africa’s place within the post-colonial African continent,” says Farber.

These conceptual underpinnings are explored through Farber’s interrogation of her Jewish immigrant cultural background, in relation to Bertha Guttman, the colonial English wife of immigrant entrepreneur and maverick personality Sammy Marks.

Farber explains, “Bertha was a Victorian British lady who created an upper class English colonial lifestyle in the alien environment of the Transvaal.” In these works, Farber uses Bertha as her alter ego, focusing - in the context of the present - on their similarities and differences to explore themes of identity.

According to Farber, all identities are hybrid, creating heterogeneity and multiplicity through diversity. Bertha’s attitudes and lifestyle was representative of the Victorian colonial attitudes of her time, while Farber’s experience is that of a post-colonial, South African born, white, Jewish female. The link between Farber’s post-colonial experiences of living in South Africa with that of Bertha’s colonial one provides a rich source for the exploration of her own identity. Farber says, “Marks’ immigrant status draws parallels with postcolonial concerns of diasporic, immigrant and migrant communities that form part of the broader Pan African, Polyglot South African society.”

The Sammy Marks Museum, Pretoria, with its Victorian period setting, was the location for the photographic shoots. In the visually-seductive printed images that form a component of the exhibition, Farber is shown in various settings in this environment, usually as engaged in the typically feminine, Victorian activity of sewing. Through the use of make-up special effects, Farber is seen ‘sewing’ ‘foreign’ plants into the ‘fabric’ of her skin i.e. literally into/onto herself. These indigenous plant forms, specifically aloes, embroidered into her skin mark her hybrid identity as something that is metaphorically ‘embodied’.

Leora Farber is a Senior Lecturer in the Fine Art Department at the University of Johannesburg. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally and is the recipient of numerous awards and research grants. Clothing designers Carlo Gibson and Ziemek Pater are the owners of the company and clothing label Strangelove which specializes in designing and producing original, individual and innovative clothing.

Dis-Location / Re-Location runs at the Durban Art Gallery in the Durban City Hall (Smith Street entrance opposite the Playhouse) from May 15 until July 27. More information on 031 311 2264.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart