Searching For The Matriarch

My search for the matriarch took many different avenues. From a political space to an ancestral space, attempting to understand the depths of identity, masculinity and femininity and more so attempting to unravel, understand and explore my own identity as a coloured woman in South Africa. I then started to look inwards, and my journey took on a much more intimate and personal space. I realized that any search starts from within. During this period of exploring my being within a socio-political context, spiritual context much of it became understanding myself within an emotional context. I’ve compared most of my process with being in the form of a cocoon, a process of metamorphosis – to unbecome and become, unlearn and learn, break down and rebuild. I find myself within my own metamorphosis. 

In this series, I’ve created small sculptures presenting each stage of metamorphosis. I had placed wire structures in different sulfurs. What happens is crystals start to grow and form on the wire structures creating an abstract representation of growth and metamorphosis. The reason I have chosen to grow crystals is because crystals are one of the oldest formations of earth and they hold great amounts of energies within them. This speaks to the ancestral and spiritual space that much of my work has taken on. Many of the sculptures take on the form of an abstract cocoon, the cocoon being what I have chosen to be my main form symbolizing metamorphosis. 

An interesting fact about metamorphosis – during the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly (which happens within the cocoon) a process called Apoptosis, or ‘Cell Death’ occurs in which the old body cells of the caterpillar ‘commit suicide’ in order to provide nutrients for the new cells of the forming butterfly. I find this so profound as with rebirth comes some form of death before rebirth can take place, which is exactly what I speak of when speaking of unbecoming in order to become. Within this journey of metamorphosis, I find myself also going through the stages of grief. Grieving the women before me, grieving the person I was told I am being a coloured woman, grieving the loss of who I am and grieving the person I wanted to be. This being necessary as everything exists with an opposite. What I have done in this series is compare the stages of metamorphosis to the stages of grief.

The drawings serve to represent the stages of grief, while also depicting the emotional, mental, and spiritual experiences that are happening within the crystal sculptures – that happen within the process of metamorphosis. Think of the drawings as a look on the inside. 

We cannot become until we unbecome and come undone.

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