A Portrait of Ophelia

Artspace Gallery, JHB, South Africa

This show broadly deals with the juxtaposition of the internal (emotional) spaces we occupy and the external spaces of the world that surrounds us. What interests me about this juxtaposition is that we have the ability to see the world around us differently depending on our mood. Equally, the world we occupy can affect our emotional state. There is a great Hamlet quote "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so".

I have been carrying the idea of a series of Ophelia paintings around with me for a while. The drowning of a friend of mine sparked the idea of exploring the world inside Ophelia's head while in the water.

In the play Ophelia becomes more and more unstable before her death and she rants about her surroundings (mostly about plants) and betrayal and nothing makes much sense. So this new series of paintings is influenced by the Shakespeare play, by the death of my friend, by the personal rants inside my own head and by my surroundings which at the time of making the work was Durban in the summer.

The strange thing about this exhibition is that for me, it has taken the form of a noir novel set in 1930's Durban in the height of summer. This has never happened to me before, maybe it is the influence of the play or maybe the fact that my friend was a writer (the text I have used in some of the pieces actually comes from letters he wrote to me).