This work began as an installation within the Dreams, Wishes and Expectations exhibition which I curated in 2017, as the first and temporary location of the Voices of Women Museum.
It was a curatorial and artistic ‘device’, with which I intended for audiences to read and re-read the collection from the Voices of Women Museum with a ‘different set of eyes’. Its previous iterations had been exhibited as a collective project of a well-known artist in Durban (Amazwi-Abesifazane-Voices of Women Project – www.amazwi-voicesofwomen.com ). In this instance, I intended that the exhibition re-represents the work not simply as a collective of narratives and artworks ,but this time draws attention to the name and persona of the individual within the collective. The installation intended to shift the notion that women artists had to be crafters and collectives in order to be heard. It meant that I as a woman, was also represented here. I too wanted to be heard amongst the collective. “Each bringing its own richness to the whole.” (Osho)
The installation therefore was designed to draw attention to the many discarded realities of ‘this gender’ that has provided the fuel, the effort and the insights to many of our ‘great ideas’, but which is often not acknowledged through the patriarchal lens – unless we seek to fill in demographic reports.
The installation, floating between two open floors in the space, allowed audiences to walk through; to dream; discuss and narrate their own experiences, with the ever-threatening presence of Esreal Thavana’s Snake, a beautifully rendered wooden carving of a stylized cobra. The cobra was installed in a suspended ‘room’ (representing dungeon) beneath the floor of my installation with a circular hole through which to view him – safely away from those who fear it, but ever present as a threat; or as a powerful metaphor of female sexuality that lies dormant, at the heart of our power, hidden. The narratives could be read then, as narratives of power through experiences that represent many a disempowered stance of women in all spheres of society – some more than others. Re-empowered. No victims here.
This collection of images details the installation and aspects of the Dreams, Wishes and Expectations exhibition.
Slide show by Coral Bijoux; Selected photographs by Roger Jardine and Coral Bijoux, music by Leonard Cohen-You want it Darker