dwell in possibility

July 31, 2019


I dwell in Possibility -

A fairer House than Prose -

More numerous of Windows -

Superior - for Doors -


Of Chambers as the Cedars -

Impregnable of Eye -

And for an Everlasting Roof

The Gambrels of the Sky -


Of Visitors--the fairest -

For Occupation - This -

The spreading wide my narrow Hands

To gather Paradise -



This is Emily Dickinson's poem 'I dwell in possibility' which framed the curatorial rationale for the exhibition dwell in possibility held recently at the Centenary Art Gallery at UOFS. I was less interested in the poem as I was in the three words and what they conjured up for me. Or should I say opened up for me which was an opportunity to create and show a work about the annihilation of multiple trees not far from my home, which had deeply upset me. Like many things I react to  - whether political, humanistic or environmental - it is is the seemingly lack (or complete lack) of empathy that compels me to create.


At the time, when I heard about the felled trees I went out to the site one late evening and recorded all the visible tree stumps through frottage. For me, this is gesture in another form as I am using the movements of my body to create lines. Having recorded well over 30 stumps I left for home unsure as how to document the work from there on ... I had promised each and every tree as I marked-made that their lives would not be in vain and that I would see to it that they were honoured for their presence.


When I was invited to participate in this exhibition I immediately thought of creating these 'lost' trees, imagining them as still existing. Giving them a presence of still being alive, still here. I traced the multiple rings onto the canvas in silver which for me always points towards the spiritual.  At the bottom of elongated and vertical canvas I created the looming, yet almost undefinable outline of a human head to indicate the source of such savagery.




photo credit: @VanessaPotgieter








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