In Silva is an exhibition by contemporary South African artists that examines our complicated connection to, as well as our understanding of, fairy tales. Curator Dineke van der Walt has put together a show set in silva – or “in the forest” – that symbolises the societal forest we are all navigating; a place filled with cross-roads, forks and dead-ends, where we can easily get lost, and will more than likely be forced to confront our identity and perspective of the world.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Fulcrum Group, who launched the competition in 2016, together with the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, to identify and mentor outstanding, young South African curators.
The programme is called the Fulcrum Suzanne Shaw Creative Award, named after the late Suzanne Shaw, a passionate art lover and part-time curator who died tragically in a car accident in 2015.
“Shaw was instrumental in creating a culture of art appreciation at Fulcrum, where she worked as a data analyst,” says Fulcrum’s head of brand, Clodagh Da Paixao. “She once said, ‘As a place of collaboration and innovation, Fulcrum understands the importance of art in the workplace to encourage social dialogue and employee engagement.’
“An investment in the arts is about far more than buying paintings to hang up in the office, though. Art introduces us to new ways of thinking, often challenging our preconceived notions of how the world works. It brings people together, starts conversations and ignites our creativity, broadening our minds both at work and at play,” says Da Paixao.
Van der Walt says the In Silva “forest” is made out of a range of media, including paper thread, animal hide, wood, photography and paint as important tools in the visual storytelling.
“Everyone who walks through the exhibition is a participating actor and so has the opportunity to change the narrative,” she explains. “The exhibition therefore unfolds in the viewer’s response to, and conversation around, the artworks.”
Against this background, In Silva examines our complicated connection to stories and our understanding of them. It looks at how the tales we tell and retell have the ability to impact and reflect our view on life and social encounters.
In Silva will be on show at Kalashnikovv Gallery in Johannesburg from 24 August to 1 September 2018. The preview event takes place on 23 August at 18:30.
Entrance is free.
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