Majak Bredell - LEVELS & LAYERS

April 20, 2024 - June 02, 2024

White River, South Africa

Click here to view: Majak Bredell's Exhibition Catalogue

Click here to view: Lowvelder Article 'Majak Bredell explores interconnectedness in exhibition at White River Gallery'

Artist Statement - Majak Bredell

My recent works, INTERCONNECTIONS, are arranged in two parts: DIALOGUES & ANALOGIES in which the figure stands as a marker for the earth and LEVELS & LAYERS that intertwines an understanding of the animate earth into many layers of interconnectedness between us and the more-than-human world.* I unravel the strands by which elements of the natural world have been woven through the fabric of religion, mythology, and lore. And, in my hope for the future, I use this unravelling to suggest that our affinity with the natural and animal world has always been there — hidden in plain sight.

Since the Paleolithic caves the nude body, in art, has symbolically stood for ideas of goddess, fertility, regeneration, gods, athletes, mythological and biblical characters, analogies for the seasons, the weather, the earth, the oceans, the sky, the sun and the moon, and so on. The metaphoric nude figure becomes a symbol for the race, for humankind — womankind and mankind. A figure without clothing or ornamentation to distract, communicates directly with the viewer, and can also be seen to represent the naked truth. My paintings and drawings continue this tradition in which the nude body stands in for the animate earth and humanity in relation and interconnectedness one to the other. In my explorations and dialogues between the human body and nature’s many “bodies” I am picking up from this long tradition of the nude body standing in for something else — in my work for the idea (not the ideal).

Most of us were socialized to look upward to find the sacred in an invisible realm. I reverse this notion by returning the gaze earthward, towards the sacred body of the Earth. I differentiate between the energies of earth’s deep finite “what-is-ness” and the high infinite energy of sky and cosmos, a realm that served for the imagined energies we projected onto the Heavens.

These works honour and celebrate the body, both our human bodies and the body of the earth. The landscape — both internal and external — opens to the many interconnections between the human and “more-than-human world.“ The works also point to an ecofeminist understanding of our planet as a living organism. If we look to the earth as if she were the mother body that supports and sustains life on our planet, would it make us conscious of the consequences of what we do to her? Will we be able to feel in our own flesh and bones, breath and arteries, our kinship to her soil and rocks and mountains and rivers and oceans — to the air that surrounds us? Would we feel the impact of ecological destruction, pollution, and exploitation as wounds to ourselves?

*a term coined by David Abram