Reservoir, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, 16 Harry Smith Street, Bloemfontein
5 October – 14 November 2021

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Oliewenhuis Art Museum is proud to announce Āvāhana-Invocation, the first iteration of a travelling solo exhibition by South African-born artist Amita Makan.

Celebrated internationally for fabric constructions with embroidery and collage, Makan infuses her work with identity, memory and history by using vintage saris, and intuits the contemporary by integrating found materials – the detritus of plastic that litters our surroundings and pollutes our expressions of care.

Amita Makan Leucospermum lineare 2015 Hand embroidered with silk, viscose thread, repurposed plastic packaging and vintage saris on tulle and silk organza. 135 x 67 x 3 cm (encased in perspex)

Makan begins with a self-portrait from which radiating avenues explore the flailing survival of the very nature upon which we depend. In this way, Makan underlines her role within an increasingly urgent cultural response to capitalist-driven environmental mayhem that, here, takes form as a prayer to restore the balance and harmony of a fractured earth. In an essay accompanying the exhibition, art historian Hélène Tissières writes: “The rendering of nature into art aims to question the… domination of nature which gradually leads to the disappearance of thousands of species, breaking the food chain, disrupting the regulation of the ecosystem.” Tissières references philosopher Félix Guattari who “decries the work of politicians who … have proven unequal to the task assigned to them…” He contends that only an ethical-political linkage between environment, social relations and human subjectivity will be able to answer these questions. For him, “it is essential that individuals change their way of acting, their conditioning… reconstruct their subjectivity, rework their social relationships and break free of their passivity.” It is this political manifesto that Makan invokes in her works that, through delicate rendering, speak of a fragility undermined by greed.

Amita Makan Snow Protea I 2017 Hand embroidered with metallic, nylon and polyester threads, synthetic ribbons, beads, Swarovski crystals, vintage saris and sequins on tulle. 130 x 92 x 6cm (encased in perspex)

Amita Makan Vasant III Hand embroidered with silk and viscose thread, repurposed plastic packaging on silk organza. 83 x 120 x 3 cm (encased in perspex)


Follow the link to view the catalogue: 

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