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Safe 2014

Solo Exhibition - Lizamore & Assoc. Gallery

"Safe" is a word that has become extremely controversial in a country where statistics on the murder, violence and sexual abuse against children have risen to some of the highest in the world. A Trade Union Report has said that although it is very difficult to obtain exact statistics, they believe that a child is raped every three minutes, and that three children are murdered every day. With Child Protection Week approaching from 26 May – 1 June, the relevance of an exhibition devoted to this subject is more imperative than ever.

The research for this exhibition started with a psychological interpretation of the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The story speaks clearly about the contrast between the ‘safe’ world of the village and the dangers of the forest – two worlds which, according to the artist, have now become equally dangerous. The anthropomorphic wolf symbolises a being, seducer or sexual predator that is no longer hiding in the forest, but has made its way inside communities and family homes.

The symbolism of trees plays a crucial role throughout the exhibition as a whole – not only as a medium but also as vehicle used in psychology when working with children who have been sexually assaulted and traumatised.

Throughout the process of cutting each wooden girl, tree and gear shape with the bandsaw blade, the artist connects physically with each piece. The lines created by the blade on the side of each shape become like scars – a significant and inevitable part of each work – just like the emotional and sometimes physical scars left by the abuser.

The exhibition as a whole, with all its individually carved and constructed pieces, searches for components amongst the disorder and chaos of this reality, to not only question the existence of safety, but to interrogate whether a 'safe' place even exists for the children of South Africa.

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