Group Show: Embodied & Embedded

Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Johannesburg , South Africa
02 Sep 2023 - 30 Sep 2023

Nadia Myburgh_The Syringa Berry Tree (detail), 2023, Thread on voile curtain fabric, 20 x 17.5 cm

Nadia Myburgh_The Syringa Berry Tree (detail), 2023, Thread on voile curtain fabric, 20 x 17.5 cm

Bag Factory Artists’ Studios presents the opening of the joint exhibition by the 2022/23 Young Woman Studio Bursary Award recipients, Kay-Leigh Fisher & Nadia Myburgh, entitled: Embodied & Embedded.

As part of their 12 month long artist residency at the Bag Factory both Fisher and Myburgh have further developed their own unique visual languages and created new artworks. The artists have bonded in each other’s commonalities and differences….collaborated in creating work while also critically engaging with one another’s practice. It is also with this ethos that the Studio Bursary anticipates to support artists in their process of experimentation, collaboration and making – culminating in their forthcoming presentations.

Kay-Leigh Fisher

The artist’s presentation consists of selected artworks from two main bodies of work, further developed during Fisher’s residency at Bag Factory.

Our Encounters

Our Encounters is an ongoing series consisting of full body portraiture surveying the relationships between people and their environments. Vibrant landscapes portray familiar environments that depict the role of nature as an aesthetic backdrop to an expression of a multiplicity of identities.
The artworks reference both the visual language of landscape painting in South Africa and the orchestrated yet seemingly unintentional pavement photographs of 1930-60s Johannesburg and Cape Town, tracing how portraiture photography has reshaped conceptions of self through reflexive self-representation. The figures mirror one another through shared limbs and juxtaposed faces, alluding to intersubjectivities in confined and shared spaces.

Call Me Beautiful

Call Me Beautiful (2020-2023) is a series of voyeuristic portraits that explore and reveal the intentions of spectators as they practise acts of looking. Through a process of deconstruction, each portrait layers ways of appearing and being in relation to a multiplicity of identities that disrupt the notion of an ideal portrait. Each drawing is carefully constructed from the social media archives of acquaintances who have carefully shaped their identities as brands and present a particular manner of knowing them. The series explores thephotograph as a site of identity in relation to self-representation and the affect of technology and objects as tools that aid our identification.

Nadia Laila Myburgh

In die Stilte (In the Stillness)

The medium is the message, is a phrase coined by Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan, meaning that the form of a medium ( as in channels of communication) is embedded in the message, thus creating a reciprocal relationship in which the medium influences how a message is perceived.
Within the artist’s process-led artistic practice, this phrase became a creative lead. It enabled her artworks to be led and guided by the mediums and materials she used. The diverse materials used in creating each work became a form of study of how to depict the liminality of memory and re-membering (the process of putting back together missing or forgotten pieces) in various ways.

A combination of works created on mesh-like material (what Myburgh refers to as meshworks), video and anthotype (an image created using photosensitive plant based material such as turmeric, which naturally fades over time), all allude to the elusiveness of memory, threaded together to create a textured narrative.

This textured storytelling is situated around a community in the south west of Johannesburg surrounded by lurking heaps of mine dumps – Riverlea. Myburgh pulls back the veiled curtain of her sweet childhood memories and navigates the stain and bitterness left by the history of a place, central to the blissful years that formed her.

Collaboration by Nadia Laila Myburgh and Kay-Leigh Fisher

Wild Groei (Growing Wild)

Wild Groei is a collaborative artwork developed through conversations around childhood memory, family and place. A recurring symbol is the Makataan Fruit, a wild watermelon that has been cultivated since pre-colonial times and was an essential source of nourishmentand sustenance for the indigenous peoples of the Kalahari Desert. The Makataan grows on wild vines that stretch freely and references to the kombuis-Afrikaans colloquialism maak’t aan (make it up as you go along), a creative lead for this collaboration.

Wild Groei explores both artists’ childhood memories of growing up in the eerily beautiful mining towns of Riverlea and Randfontein and re-evaluates the lingering bitterness of polluted air, water and soil in their parents’ gardens that grow despite the harsh conditions. The artists’ relation to one another was cemented in the exchange of flowers and stories of climbing lemon trees and eating forbidden grapes. Their memories, embedded in fibre and bonded in paint, were used to weave a shared narrative of a space rarely occupied simultaneously and a racial identity defined in their own terms.




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