Atlas | Sorrel Hofmann:
11 February (11:00) – 04 March 2017
at UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cecil Rd, Rosebank, Cape Town
Opening by Andrew lamprecht
The artworks that comprise this exhibition are the product of an on-going research project that Sorrel Hofmann has been engaged with for a number of years: an examination of the place and space occupied by women on the African continent. Specifically, these works, made in Cape Town and in retrospect, reflect a residency undertaken a little over a year ago by the artist at Sefrou, an ancient town that lies at the edge of the Atlas Mountains, 30 kilometres southeast of Fez in Morocco.
The exhibition consists of a large series of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptural installations that reflect on her experiences of non-touristic travel through the Sahara and over the Atlas Mountains as well as extensive discussions with women she met with, in an attempt to understand the position that they occupy and have occupied in Moroccan history. Hofmann aims non-judgemental in her approach but is at pains to understand what goes on “behind high walls”, reflecting on the tradition of seclusion of women that still continues in Morocco, despite recent reforms.
Arabs, Berbers and Jews have co-existed with mutual respect and toleration for over a millennium in Morocco. That this culture still exists today, despite external pressures, is of great significance to the artist, and toleration on co-existence is a significant sub-theme running through the exhibition. Hoffman has broken the bounds of the gallery space and her sculptural installations can be found in the Gardens of the Irma Stern Museum.
The work of Sorrel Hofmann are challenging and display a unique visual language, playing between abstraction and representation, always concerned with margins and those who choose compassion and tolerance over force and bigotry.
Image: Sorrel Hofmann