Archive: Gifappeltjies & Pomegranates

These works were shown in an exhibition titled Imagining Paradise in January 2016, signifying the closure of a six-year chapter of study at the University of Stellenbosch.

This exhibition, together with my MA thesis, explores the extent to which the aestheticized garden can articulate a mythic Western imaginary of a paradisiacal and exoticized fantasy of the East. The splendour of Islamic ‘paradise gardens’, together with imports including foreign plants, Eastern novelties and magnificent stories such as the Arabian Nights narrative, played a major role in influencing the Western construct of the ‘Orient’ as exotic, erotic, alluring and ultimately ‘other’.

My body of work, split into the Pomegranate Collection and the Gifappeltjie Collection, aims to simultaneously rely on and subvert this exoticizing Western gaze (of which I, of course, am part too) in a series of highly symbolic contemporary jewellery objects that offer glimpses of a fragmented botanical paradise. Both unwearable objects and wearable jewellery pieces are displayed.