original oil paintings by south african artist

Dis-Location / Re-Location - Traveling Exhibition in South Africa

Everard Read presents Dis-Location / Re-Location by Leora Farber

Produced in collaboration with the South African design team Strangelove (Carlo Gibson and Ziemek Pater), Dis-Location / Re-Location, is a travelling exhibition scheduled to tour to seven South African Museums as of June 2007 to May 2008.

As a result of the demise of colonialism and apartheid, many South African whites might be said to feel severed from their European roots and seem to be in a situation where there is a need to renegotiate their identities as South Africans. ‘Belonging’ and ‘displacement’ are often contested terms. In the work on the exhibition, Farber explores these ambivalences through a dialogical relationship between South African colonial histories and lived present experience. Farber uses her image as metonym for herself and Bertha Guttmann - a Jewess brought to South Africa from Sheffield in 1885, in order to enter into an arranged marriage with the Lithuanian immigrant to South Africa, entrepreneur Sammy Marks. Residues of British and Jewish ancestry are visually and audibly grafted together with current influences from the Pan-African, post-colonial environment of Johannesburg. Ambivalences around belonging and displacement within this post-colonial environment are negotiated in relation to the artist’s second-generation immigrant status.

In the work on exhibition, the amalgam of Bertha Marks and Farber is represented as engaged in needlework activities, considered as 'women's work' in the Victorian era and as a signifier of 'femininity' through docility and labour. The craft of needlework is used as a metaphor for the protagonist’s attempts to negotiate a sense of being 'African' within a post-colonial environment by attempting to 'graft' a new identity physically and psychologically into herself.

Bertha’s bedroom in the Sammy Mark Museum, Pretoria, is the space of such self-induced transformation - a private space wherein the protagonist performs a series of physical and psychologically transformative acts upon her body. The physical room might be considered as a metaphoric ‘transitional space’, wherein unpredictable outcomes may emerge from the grafting of diverse materials and cultures to give rise to new, hybrid, identity formations. ‘

Leora Farber

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