With more than 27 years’ experience in the arts and education fields, current Masters in Art study student Coral Bijoux has completed a body of art as an installation at the Westville campus plant nursery. Bijoux works independently as an artist and curator as well as an implementer and manager of creative projects.
Her latest work, Dreams as R-evolution developed over a nine-month period and is now formally open for public viewing.
‘The work is a case study of interdisciplinary and auto-ethnographic praxis-led work where the Life Sciences, Arts – music, a daily ‘performance’ ritual by the artist, artmaking, creative writing took place at the University in its location in a semi-discarded section of the plant nursery. Late into the project, the Music Department engaged the ‘dreams work’ in a piece titled, The Door of No Return that considered the necessity for dreaming as ‘a freedom’ The re-visioning has taken shape amidst the questioning’ says Bijoux.
The work evolved in a dream-like state produced mostly from industrial and household discarded single use plastic. The space echoed the lives of animals, insects, plants and humans. It became a place of fantasy and growth, degeneration and re-growth. It was within this context that the dreams evolved: questioning, answering, recording, questioning again, observing, noting, drawing, sculpting, and sharing.
Participants hailed from outside and within the University – through formal (workshops, presentations and talks) and informal arrangements (staff and students walking into/sitting in the space). ‘This is a space without doors; no roof or windows; opened to the elements and open to engagement, interference and/or appreciation,’ said Bijoux, whose work evolved month after month braving the elements, student strikes and a pandemic lockdown.
‘It was important for my children, friends, family, staff members and students that witnessed this ‘crazy’’ work being developed to see that it is possible to transform a SELF, said Bijoux. ‘That it’s possible to have a dream – be it to study under the direst conditions – or to ‘one day get a job of your dreams’ – or to create a dream project…it is possible no matter what the circumstances are and what the context is.’
Art critic and academic, Dr Ashraf Jamal added, ‘Bijoux has spent just shy of a year immersed in an art installation project as evolutionary as it aspires to be revolutionary, or better, revelationary, because what Bijoux strives to reveal, through all the senses, is our relationship to the earth – our native land –which we have squandered and abused.’
The Dreams as R-evolution installation can be viewed after a booking is made with the artist (to ensure the requisite permits are granted). The artbook will be available soon and the website https://coral4art.co.za allows you to peek into the work in progress.
Leave a message there (website) or contact the artist via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dreams as R-evolution installation project was funded by the National Arts Council and the Human Elephant Foundation. All work was conceptualised and developed by the artist, supported, interrogated and observed by friends, family, students and interested parties. Tholakele Mdakane rendered assistance to the artist as a mentor.
Bijoux thanked UKZN’s Infrastructure, Planning and Projects (IPP) Department for permission to use a section of the nursery and staff members who assisted from time to time.