Sunday, January 11, 2015

teRUG, Adena Richardson. FADA Gallery; Lower Ground.

Adena Richardson, teRUG # 1-40 series2013-2014, 
Photographic print on poster paper. 42 x 59.4cm each


Dates: Thursday 8 January – 6 February 2015.
Closing event: 4 February at 18:30.
Gallery hours: Mondays to Fridays 09:00-16:00.

Work produced in partial fulfilment of Masters’ in Visual Art at the University of Johannesburg.

Adena Richardson

Bewaarde KlipTaal
The exhibition titled teRUG presents a body of work that attempts to map aspects of Richardson's Afrikaner heritage and her emerging identity. This exhibition is an internal reflection that visually explores the artist's transitioning from knowing herself in a particular way while growing up to acquiring new knowledge as she grew and developed, thereby changing how she thinks about her world. 

Adena Richardson

Bewaarde KlipTaal
This realisation of temporality is sourced from Richardson's lived experience as a female Afrikaner who grew up under apartheid, and filtered through her understanding of both Afrikaans as creolised language and the stereotypes with which Afrikaner culture and heritage have been associated. 
 The title of her exhibition, teRUG, is chosen for its play on words in the Afrikaans language. Firstly, the title can be interpreted as a looking back at history in terms of Arabic-Afrikaans; a term used to describe literary work which is written in Afrikaans with Arabic letters. 

Adena Richardson, teRUG # 1-40 series

2013-2014, Photographic print on poster paper.

42 x 59.4cm each

Historically, Islam was introduced to the Cape in the mid-17th century from the East Indies and the coastal regions of India, which were under Dutch occupation. By the middle of the 19th century the Cape Muslims were using Arabic script to transcribe their spoken creolised Dutch phonetically. 

The first book to be written in the Afrikaans language was therefore written in Arabic script. By memorialising Arabic-Afrikaans the artist reinterpreted an old self in the light of new knowledge and possibilities; secondly, the title also focuses on the word rug (the back of the body), while, thirdly, it refers to Antjie Krog’s concept of transformation of which Krog states: “in order to create the other side one has to remake the guiding essence”. 

The “other side” (her back) then becomes the object of the gaze; thus the physical back of the artist's own body, imbued with cultural and historical images, becomes the facing surface of many of the artworks to be gazed at by the viewer. She does this in an attempt to answer the question of what the “back”, or the “front”, of Afrikaner identity might be.

Richardson's practical work is visualised as map metaphors by which to navigate a sense of self. Willem Boshoff’s concept of mapping directly influences the artist's art making. The personal journeys which Richardson explores in her body of artworks also makes reference to the journeys found in the works of Lalla Essaydi and Lizelle Kruger, in which an attempt is made to locate a sense of self.
Adena Richardson


Adena Richardson, Kramats 2013

-2014, Wood, pebbles, sand, tubing

 and laser engraving. 173 x 60 x 223cm

In Richardson's body of work she maps her journey of becoming as a territory through which she travels. Some parts of the territory she knows well; other parts are speculative. Richardson visually explores how personal transformation manifests through material transformation: her back becomes a map, her moles transform into coordinates and pins, as an indicator of a metaphorical transitioning of her emergent female Afrikaner identity.

Richardson's art making therefore probes her identity as being in a constant state of flux which exists in a liminal space of past and present, inside and outside, inclusion and exclusion.
Adena Richardson, Kramats 2013

-2014, Wood, pebbles, sand, tubing

 and laser engraving. 173 x 60 x 223cm

Adena Richardson is a Johannesburg based artist who's exhibition is a result of the completion of her Master's degree at The University of Johannesburg whereby her research titled: Mapping linkages between image and text: an investigation of Willem Boshoff's Bread and Pebble Roadmap in relation to emergent female Afrikaner identity act as context to the practical component of the degree.

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