During a two month residency in Cape Town, South Africa (March - April 2012), I will be teaching with Write on Africa, a South African creative activist collective that mobilizes large scale public art projects as a method of social change advocacy. Watch the following to learn more about Write on Africa and the impact the arts are having on the Woodstock, Cape Town neighborhood:
For my personal creative practice while in Cape Town, I will paint small oil portraits of the children who participate in my community art classes. I will then construct a labyrinthine neighborhood (approximately 20' x 30') out of cardboard and found materials. Portions of the construction, entitled "Hide & Seek", will be unreachable but visible, while other walls will have holes and windows for participants to see and engage with other people navigating the passageways. In alley ways, windows, cracks, and crevices, these child “citizens” will be hiding, ready for discovery. As the portraits will be painted on thin pieces of cloth, the oils will eat into the fabric, forcing the faces to slowly bleed out and erode. When viewed from the front, the portraits will be vibrantly colorful, but from the back, one will see silhouetted oil stains and decay.
After returning from Cape Town, I will refashion "Hide & Seek" in multiple locations throughout North Carolina and, hopefully, throughout the United States. The diverse worldviews brought to the piece will spark unique discussions in each location. In Cape Town, the installation reacts to widespread poverty, concentrations of wealth, the AIDS epidemic, conspicuous racial tensions. Placing the installation in the United States may remove it from Cape Town’s history of apartheid, but it would take on new tints of American history and moral obligation with regards to racial, medical, and economic issues. By requiring audiences to navigate the maze in order to see the portraits, "Hide & Seek" will engage viewers in an interactive yet contemplative dialogue about vulnerability, desensitization, and empathy.
Your backing will provide travel costs (to South Africa and throughout NC/surrounding states to coordinate the installation), painting supplies (brushes, cloth, oil paints), installation materials (nails, lumber), and work space.
I will post photos and updates to my blog twice a week about the progress of the project, so stay tuned!
Some of my previous work:
Veil Tease 2011
Veil Tease 2011
See more of my artwork at my website www.catherinejhoward.com
- (50 days)