The artist and social activist SaySay.Love once again poses the question, “What is beautiful,” in his upcoming exhibition entitled ‘Skin Deep’ showing from the 11th of February to the 9th of March at Gallery One11, 111 Loop Street, Cape Town.
The project is an exploration of the uncanny valley separating the visceral experience and the unbridled expression of our innermost fears and desires.
Using an AI-assisted painterly approach in combination with digital photography the artist shines light upon the archetypal twins of the psyche, dancing on the edge of the raging chaos while moving gently to the tune of the tamed and civilized mind.
Each canvas shatters a dark mirror of restrained and breaks the window wide open into the wilderness of each subject’s soul, bringing it out to the shadow and onto the surface – a self-portrait of the unconscious.
Skin Deep is a departure from his previous body of work titled Intimate Loneliness: Sex with things as the artist is exploring the darker side to identity. In that body of work, he uses photographs of mannequins as the symbolism of the world we currently live in, emphasising a disconnect from reality. Their exterior representing a fake perfection of what women and men think they should look like, flawless with perfect smiles living perfect lives we misleadingly portray on social media. He says we can all take the perfect selfie, show the world we are social beings, out having fun in trendy places, living the dream, but asks the question; are we truly happy?
The new work aims at stripping yet another layer, to the core which is our distorted image of ourselves.
“Looking at these pictures for a moment, they take me on a journey into the deepest darkest parts of my psyche. The place where all the pain, anguish and dark thoughts, has at some point resided, the childhood bullies, the manipulators, the abusers, the people who willfully harmed for their own gain, my own dark desires, which at times more fearful than living perpetrators. My voice roars, standing tall, upright and strong…As my roar ends, my eyes find the woman, light, pure, full of love and I’m reminded as always, that no matter how far I travel down into the madness, that there is always a chink in the darkness where life shines in; and I know with every fibre of my being, that love always wins, me a human filled with unfathomable love.. Equilibrium is restored” – SaySay.Love
The stories that lie both upon and underneath the skin
South African artist Aniek Nieuwenhuis was born in Pretoria in 1995 and raised in Stellenbosch. In March 2004 her family was caught in a fire accident involving a faulty gas cylinder at their holiday cabin in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Aniek was admitted at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital for five months with severe third-degree burns. She had a twenty percent chance for survival. In 2007 she was awarded a full academic scholarship by the Make a Difference Leadership Foundation (MAD Leadership Foundation), which enabled her to pursue a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town in 2015. Aniek uses self-representation in her photographic practice as a therapeutic way of processing childhood trauma. Her work mainly focuses on the psychological challenges that come with being physically different, and she does this by reflecting on her personal experience as a burn survivor. Over the course of her studies she was awarded the Cecil Skotnes Scholarship Prize for her exhibition Through Fire, From Ashes in 2017, as well as the Katrine Harries Print Cabinet Purchase Award and the Simon Gerson Prize for her graduate exhibition The Stories On My Skin in 2018.
SaySay has been supporting the MAD leadership Foundation since 2017 and continues to pledge his support to this worthy cause. All proceeds of the sale of his work at One11 Gallery goes towards the MAD Leadership Foundation Scholarship Fund.
The MAD Leadership Foundation supports high school learners and tertiary students through their academic and personal journeys, ensuring that they have the necessary tools and opportunities to reach their full potential. They seek to engage in the lives of young people through an investment in education and leadership, as they believe that education empowers individuals to improve their socioeconomic circumstances, and therefore not only their own lives but also that of their families, their communities and South Africa. SaySay.Love is one of the contributing artists at Silapha, an art auction with a purpose, on 9 March at the Lionel Smit Studio in Somerset West.
For more information get in touch with Madeleine cell: 082 381 5074
GalleryOne11 is situated on 111 Loop St. Cape Town and brings together artworks that elicit engagement in the community and encourages participation toward the better understanding of each other. The gallery provides an intimate space for upcoming artists to expand their repertoire and develop their audience. For more information about the gallery please get in touch with Marita Schneider cell: 0724089476.