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Life of bone, both an exhibition and a book, is the fruit of a series of interactions between a group of artists, scientists and writers, whose work has included the consideration of bones.

From the Press Release: “As Joni Brenner, the co-ordinator of the project, explains, “Our explorations mean that we have dealt with issues of human origin, evolution, human consciousness, deep time, lineage, ancestry and belonging.”

Life of bone has created a meeting of art and science in an exhibition, staged at the Origins Centre, where significant palaeoanthropological discoveries are found in dialogue with artistic responses to bones, life, death, past, present and future. The three artists, Joni Brenner, Gerhard Marx and Karel Nel, have each produced a body of work which relate in different ways to the presence and meaning of skulls or bones. The scientists who have engaged with the artists’ work deal with bones in their own disciplines as anthropologists, geneticists and social scientists involved in human rights work. Further responses to the works have come from a writer and a poet.

The exhibition will feature the Taung child skull, one of South Africa’s most treasured finds in a rich hominid heritage, was discovered at Taung in the North West province in 1925. The fossilised skull is that of a young Australopithecus africanus, or “Southern ape of Africa.” Brought to the attention of the world by Raymond Dart, the skull, estimated at 2.5 million years old, points to the fact that this creature and its kind walked upright on two legs. Believed to have been 3 years old at the time of its death, this touching fossil has rarely been on public view. Also on view will be the Border Cave skull — a fossilised, early human skull— and a chimpanzee skull.

The book, Life of bone, published by Wits University Press, will be launched at the exhibition. Life of bone runs from May 5 — 31, 2011. Origins Centre is open seven days a week from 09h00 -1700.”

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