Series: FLOOD (2023-2024)


In March 2023 cyclone Freddy hit Malawi causing devastating floods and mudslides. I knew people who were living in the disaster zone at the time, and their disappearance and the inability to track them down caused much distress until we eventually found them alive and safe. As 2023 unfolded I tracked the ferocity of extreme weather events and virtually witnessed devastating floods all over the globe. 


This reawakened my awareness of water as a form of matter with intense aliveness and agency: a substance with the capacity to change the face of a place unrecognisably. In the aftermath of its raging, settled water has the ability to dissolve sound. It is this quality of stillness after a catastrophe that I found most compelling about the floods in 2023. For me these moments were steeped with both immense awe and the devastation of loss. 


Most of the paintings in this series are made with river clay that I collected from a river in Worcester (South Africa) where my mother lived and played as a child. I have worked with this clay that is associated with my maternal ancestry for about 10 years now, and it has become a substance that I know intimately and that has much meaning for me. My choice of burnt plant material blended with a binder to make paint, has a long history in my practice. It stems from my work with indigenous fynbos which has to burn in order to propagate. Thus, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, burnt plant material represents hope and rebirth in my work. 


Shown here is a selection from a body of work of around 20 paintings about floods and flooding in my FLOOD series (2023).


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