4th Post


Promised Land was a collection of sculptural installations, a 9 minute video called The Artist, and 6 large dust drawings.

                                           Installation view - Promised Land, The Premises, Johannesburg, 2005

Works were produced during 2003 and 2004 and the exhibition was shown three times during 2005, originating at the Premises gallery in the Civic Centre, Johannesburg, followed by showings later that year at the Kwa-Zulu Natal Art Gallery in Durban and the University of Stellenbosch Museum and Art Gallery.

                I am interested in the obsession we have with attachment to place.
“Cas yw’r gwr na charo’r wlad a’I maca”
(The man is despicable who does not love the land  which bred him.)
The mother of Byron Rogers, author of “The Bank Manager and the Holy Grail – Travels to the Weirder Reaches of Wales”  2003

...I suspect, though that there might be more to this than meets the eye and that we long for something internal we can only identify when it is reflected externally.

In Utopia we find perhaps, not the perfect place, but a perfect wholeness of being, free of the inevitability of our ending.


                                          height approx. 60cm
                                          washboards, enamel paint, oil paint

                                                        Detail - Heaven 

The fundamental uncertainty and dubiousness of “utopia” is suggested in the fact that, depending on the context, the word can be used to imply either a situation that fulfils the most straightforward and traditional requirements of the word or the folly of a failed ideal.

                                        Still Point

                                        height 2.5m
                                        children's plastic chairs and enamel paint 

                                                              Detail - Still Point
The idea of emotional attachment to place is generally associated with a retrospective view. … usually a feeling of nostalgia for the site of our personal history…the place of our own birth or childhood or those of our parents.  However, in psychoanalytic terms, the idea of emotional memory is something for which conditions are established within the first 18 months of our lives. Thereafter, should those conditions have been appropriate,  we are later able to internalize objects – ie. the significant people in our lives – and through those relationships to experience the world.  Essentially, in these terms, emotional memory is our capacity to function normally as an emotional being.  In these terms then, there is an essential link between the idea of memory and that of feeling or of the ability to form attachments.


                                                        Detail - Ashmilk

                                                        Victorian feeding chair, ash, cotton
                                                        height approx. 85cm

  Parcels of ash folded into pieces of newspaper are sewn into the folded and sewn cotton upholstery.  The ash is not visible. One becomes aware of it only by reading the list of materials used.                             

    Mantra for a Pioneer

    9m strip primed linen, oil paint, chairs

    Detail - Mantra for a Pioneer    Detail - Mantra for a Pioneer

The alchemical symbol for water is painted by hand over 9 meters of traditionally primed linen. For some cultures, the Chinese for instance, the number 9 is symbolic of the eternal.

The painting of the 9 meter canvas happened gradually and ritualistically over a number of months. It was my intention that the process should have echos of religious practice and that the canvas have the sense of a trace of ritual performed ... the repeated prayer for water which translates in some situations as a prayer for a place to establish a homestead. 

    Mantra for a Pioneer in progress

                                                     Ash Curtain
                                                     Height up to 15m
                                                     Velvet, satin, ash

The curtain is lined with satin and the hem weighted with ash. Again, the ash remains unseen. 

                                Euphemisms For Dying

                                Height approx. 2m, width variable
                                Felt and gold paint

    Detail - Euphemisms for Dying

(“Leaving for the country where no-one wears a hat”)

(“When I close my umbrella”)

(“To put your spoon in the ceiling”)

(“He/she has gone to plant cassava”)

                                                             Stills from   The Artist
                                                               Video - 9min



9 minute film presents an 84 year old actress as the artist as an older woman. However, speaking as the artist and using  biographical facts belonging to the artist, she creates a temporal disconnection by locating herself historically as someone much younger.


                                Height approx. 1m
                                Table, clothes, shoes

Clothes and shoes discarded on the roads in and around Johannesburg during 2004 were collected, laundered, conditioned, mended and folded.

Johannesburg has, from the start, had very strong utopian associations. It exists because of the existence of gold in its bedrock. Contemporary Johannesburg is for many a difficult place far from its promise of wealth and safety.

 Drawings 1 - 6
height approx. 1.5m
medium wool dust and archival glue on paper

These 6 drawings were the first made using this medium which was my solution to the problem of finding a place for dust in a collection of works made using various materials, including ash. The exhibition makes the link between utopia and our experience of the idea of death relative to a desired place or, perhaps, a state of being.

                                                       Drawing 1

                                                        Drawing 2

The images began as tiny scribbled motifs, probably intended as the starting point for constructions I considered making from painted sheet metal. But the images seemed compelling on their own and the idea of actually making three-dimensional objects was postponed in favour of the development of the drawn images.

I began to associate them with notable moments in my life, or moments - large or small - great emotional impact.

                                                       Drawing 3

                                                       Drawing 4

                                                        Drawing 5

                                                        Detail - Drawing 5

                                                       The medium of the drawings carries the symbolism of the dust-to-dust and dissipation of our transience. The texture produced in combination with the paper evokes the tactility of nostalgia, of softness and comfort.

                                                       Drawing 6

                                                       Detail - Drawing 6