“One of the biggest challenges for me, and I’m sure for many people, is to keep one’s magic when there is all this flood of depressing and backwards politics and media. The agenda is warped and although we do need to engage in the issue of today, maybe it’s important to keep our poetry and creativity, to aspire to more as a species.”
You capture the fragility of human existence through your use of varied media, including shrine construction, painting, projection mapping, video installation, printmaking, and drawings… What do you hope to accomplish by taking such an exploratory approach to creation?
It is easy for an artist to get comfortable in one way of working and then stick to that because it works. I get bored doing the same thing over and over. I need to be inspired and in order to keep my inspiration alive, I am allowing myself the freedom to explore. I give space for the work to lead me. This is my discovery of life, it is not just a career, so although the mediums and technique vary, there is a definite thread throughout. The thread is something that I hope is true and sincere and will ultimately be something that brings me and my audience to new epiphanies and meditations. We are complex and intricate beings and so my practice must reflect that.
Painting was something that happened to me by default, I love the medium, but once I started working in other mediums I found a new voice that not only enhanced the content of my painting but rooted me deeply as an artist. The feeling you have when you become obsessed with a new project, the inspiration and love for the visual thematic and the exploration of a new body of work. This is what I need in order to continue so i have to keep open, looking forward, building internal fire throughout the process.
You view humanity as being interconnected and you see the beauty in what appears broken or forgotten. Is this level of awareness something you have always had or has it evolved throughout your global experiences?
Growing up in South Africa was formative for me. I was deeply affected by the history and context of that country. The injustices and the inequalities cut deep. It’s something that you can’t not see. At least I felt very strongly about it from a young age. You witness a lot of hardship and you realize early on that the world is not an easy place. That humans have the capability of being selfish and cruel and that economics come before humanity. We are subscribing to economic and political systems that are unwise, outdated and broken. Hegemonic cultures impressed on us from foreign sources often bypass the connection to our own value and worth. The dream of modern progress is in fact regression for us as a species there must surely be a dire need to reassess the current status quo.
There are however many solutions to the problems we are facing, new technology has many answers – universal basic income is a good example of workable solutions for the near future. If we could only dig deeper into ourselves and start altering our mindsets to be more inclusive, open to solutions, less separatist, less greedy, more engaging, less dogmatic. So this is a kind of Jungian shadow integration work. I’m not being puritanical about it I’m just observing it. Around me and also in myself. Seeing the physical debris of our steps to progress is interesting to me, that’s like a mirror. Trash, broken cars, homelessness, abandoned factories – Are these silent manifestations of our collective actions not speaking unbearably loudly to us about our trajectory? There is beauty there of course, with nurture all things are beautiful.
You are an advocate for humanity and your work is a direct reflection of your own spirituality and struggle. With the delicate state of humanity at this time where would you like to see your creative path take you?
One of the biggest challenges for me, and I’m sure for many people, is to keep ones magic when there is all this flood of depressing and backwards politics and media. The agenda is warped and although we do need to engage in the issue of today, maybe it’s important to keep our poetry and creativity, to aspire to more as a species. To study the stars and science and the deep wells of our subconscious mind. In order to be a part of the solution we have to envision the world we want and create that around us. Or so I was once told. So I’m looking for magic and it’s here, in the molecules and the atoms and every single passing moment of time. I’m looking for happiness and sustainability and deep connections and growth of spirit. I can’t say that’s easy, so I have to work on it, the intention is an important part of setting up a trajectory and the creative path is part of this journey for me.
Faith asked me to post this video in the exclusive as it is quite special to her.
AQUA REGALIA, HONG KONG, 2017
Set amidst the squall of Hong Kong, this project is the third iteration of FAITH XLVII’s ongoing series Aqua Regalia. The explorative video is one of the first videos for FAITH XLVII to co-direct, alongside film maker Dane Dodds. The previous projects in the series came to fruition as exhibitions in London and New York City.
FAITH XLVII’s fascination with abandoned spaces has led her to discover buildings across the world that are saturated with layers of histories and memories; in this case an expansive and desolate five-story apartment block in central Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The material residue of the former residents were sifted through in search of personal relics and sentimental treasures which formed the building blocks of the installation.
Once-cherished objects, imbued with emotional value by the strangers that used to own them, are aligned with the monumental in this reconstruction process. Treating these discarded remnants in this way allows for a reinterpretation of the mundane as valuable, and everyday, personal narratives as sacred. Ultimately, creating these shrines beg to question one’s invested value in objects and the inherent symbolism in the items that surround our lives.
The short film documents this process as its starting point while FAITH XLVII’s own words weave the images of the building with the nuanced interactions outside in the city.
These two disparate realities are interlaced, making them seem like parallel spaces existing within each other – in a sense functioning as a psychological metonym. All of the feelings these ‘spaces’ have witnessed – all the treasured memories and forgotten moments – are collapsed in on each other. While mirroring the past, present and future, the most visceral and subtle elements of being human begin to appear .
Artist: Faith XLVII
Director: Dane Dodds
Co-director: Faith XLVII
Score: Jannous Aukema
Assistant: Miranda Moss
Voice Over: Maria Wong
Thanks to: HKURBEX
In association with HKWALLS