The work of Durban artist, Simmi Dullay will be showcased at the opening of Samsara Exhibition, titled “Continuous pursuit”. The exhibition which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the indentured Indians to South Africa, will be launched at Durban Art Gallery on 26 November, at 6 pm. Dullay’s work on canvas titled, Motherland will be exhibited as part of a larger series of mixed media titled, Love In Exile.
The bricolage is aimed at creating new cultural identities across social divisions which draws on the use of notes, extracts of apartheid laws, childhood images, maps and letters to investigate the relationship between exile and how it inscribes the body. “I worked with intuition and in retrospect, I understand that my use of maps projected over female bodies, comments on how women and land are made objects of male discovery and ownership to be explored, conquered and exploited,” said Dullay.
She said the series of photographic images of women inscribed by maps are influenced by the historical patriarchal colonial trajectory of exploration. She refers to land in the context that is prime, undiscovered and as virgin territory which she refers to as Terra Incognita – unknown land. Dullay said Motherland serves to be possessed, consumed and to nurture which highlights the sexist roles women are assigned to in a patriarchal world.
She said: “Men call us sweetie, honey, sugar and stekkie, which relates to the way land and women are perceived through the patriarchal gaze as objects to be consumed or to be exploited for their bodies and labour.” Through artistic creativity and expression her work showcases the significant link between women and land which subverts the misogynistic patriarchal gaze.
Dullay strongly believes women identify with land through creation and the nurture that land brings, her work focuses on the correlation between female and land rooted in etymology and female anatomy. It further reflects the invisible experience of exile made tangible by physically suturing the cartography into the body by stitching it to the canvas. This, she said, is reflective of the visceral embodiment of displacement which cuts us from our roots and takes us on new routes. Love in Exile lends itself to different areas which can be further explored.
Dullay’s second piece on exhibition titled, Durban, My Home uses installations of domesticity in public spaces, extending the notion of home into the city. The work focuses on taking possession of the city while playing with notions of ownership, gender, cultural significance and belonging.
For more information, please contact:
Artist Simmi Dullay
Mobile: 074 853 9868