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A new group exhibition embraces the shadow at The Melrose Gallery

By Creative Feel

Where the spirit is connected to the world, the unconscious mind carries with it an ecological wisdom.

To embrace the shadow is the journey of the sun and the soul is an exhibition that seeks to identify what sustainability means within an African ideology. Taking place at The Melrose Gallery in Johannesburg from 3 March to 30 April 2023, curator Ruzy Rusike has asked artists in the Caribbean, East Africa and Southern Africa to present work that transcends the individualism so commonly found in the Western world.

Andrea du Plessis Melrose Gallery
Andrea du Plessis, Chiron Bellucetes, 2023, Oil on canvas with AR interaction, 74 x 104 cm (framed)

Rusike and the exhibition’s participating artists explore and recapture a sense of being embedded in nature and being in a condition of reciprocity with nature, which is found in traditional forms of healing and traditional ways of being with the world.

The exhibition’s title, To embrace the shadow is the journey of the sun and the soul, is an ethical message, similar to the Ubuntu philosophy, “I am what I am because of what we all are.” We affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that no individual is complete without another. Therefore, Akilah Watts, Amita Makan, Andrea du Plessis, Bercia Roos, Francois Knoetze, Nindya Bucktowar, Nyakallo Maleke, Pardon Mapondera, Regi Bardavid, Shalom Kufakwatenzi, Mbali Tshabalala and Takudzwa Guzha respond to the intimacy of what it means to create an environment for human life and generational well-being in an attempt to eliminate the ego that puts us at the centre of the ecosystem.

Akilah Watts Melrose Gallery
Akilah Watts, Nexus, Acrylic on canvas, 152 x 122 x 2.5 cm
Mbali Tshabalala Melrose Gallery
Mbali Tshabalala, A World Within I, Linocut, paper lithograph, watercolour and hand printing on archival paper, 50 x 70 cm

They, like nature, allow for the cycle of life, death and rebirth. When considering this cycle, one cannot ignore issues of poverty, rectification and racial injustice, much like in the instance of sustainability, one must acknowledge the fight for climate justice.

The core issue, however, lies in our state of unconsciousness. It ignores the sensual aspects associated with living within, and as a fundamental part of, the landscape and nature herself. This exposes a profound grief that exists within humankind that is manifested or mirrored in Mother Nature.

Bercia Roos Melrose Gallery
Bercia Roos, Bodacious Bombshell, 2023, Tine, beads, rubber, glass, steel, carbon fibre, 37 x 20 x 20 cm
Nindya Bucktowar Melrose Gallery
Nindya Bucktowar, Earth Form – Piece 3, 2022, Stoneware, 31 x 35 x 24 cm, 80 KG

Ultimately, the exhibition is about facing the shadow and acknowledging that the consciousness of our being demands courage, determination, and choice. Integrating the unseen and unknown of ourselves (symbolised in the spiral and the journey of the sun and soul) or else the conscious self becomes a slave of the autonomous shadow.

There can be no substitute for personal experience, therefore climate change is fundamentally an ethical issue.

To embrace the shadow is the journey of the sun and the soul is on show at The Melrose Gallery from 3 March to 30 April 2023 and can be viewed online. A walkabout, on Saturday 4 March at 11:30 for 12:00, kicks off the exhibition’s program of engagements. RSVP your attendance with Tyron:

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