In my weaving titled ‘Just Community’ I explore themes of marginalisation and stratification. Four weaves, constructed from flax twine, rope and chain strata, symbolise Namibia’s economic and class stratified communities. The weaves are connected and intersected with scaffolding which symbolise interstitial spaces – those in-between spaces and moments where identities are in flux, shaping and changing.
Photography by Kirsten Wechslberger
‘Just Community’ is an exploration of my feelings and thoughts around being part of and living in just communities where margins and schemas become blurred through a focus on questioning the status quo, creating awareness, looking out for one another and the self, and to care and empower through the sharing of knowledge. Due to the design, methods and materials I’ve used, my installation intends to narrate notions of communities, webs, connections, sheltering, differences, imperfections, intermedia-tion, transparency and honesty. These weaves are not intended to be aesthetic accomplishments, but a result of physical and emotional exploration, improvisation and working through a life situation using my senses, tacit knowledge, experiences and materials.
Art is a media that enables the shaping of identities, while it also serves as a tool to process relationships within communities. Artists and makers negotiate and sustain their identities through their practices in spite of the challenges they face. Just as art making offers ways to ‘work through’ particular life challenges, narratives offer ways to make sense of difficult circumstances. Artists and makers’ narratives also reveal how quality of life and work environments impact on their art practices, as narratives function in social realms and stories play a crucial role in socially sustaining artists and their making practices.
Read more about the ‘Just’ exhibition here.
By Melanie Sarantou