Student Produces “R-evolutionary” Dream Art Installation
MA student Ms Coral Bijoux, who has more than 27 years’ experience in the Arts and Education fields, has completed a body of art as an installation at the Westville campus plant nursery.
Bijoux is an artist and curator as well as an implementer and manager of creative projects. Her latest work, Dreams as R-evolution, which she spent nine months working on, is now open for public viewing.
The work is a case study of interdisciplinary and auto-ethnographic praxis-led work where life sciences, art, music in the form of a daily “performance ritual” by the artist, and creative writing took place in a semi-discarded section of the plant nursery.
Late into the project, the Music Department featured the work in a piece titled, The Door of No Return, which considered the necessity for dreaming as “a freedom”.
The work was produced mostly from industrial and household discarded single use plastic. The space, which echoed the lives of animals, insects, plants and humans, 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.
Formal workshops, presentations and talks were held on site and there were also informal arrangements such as staff and students walking through or sitting in the space.
‘This is a space without doors, a roof or windows; open to the elements and open to engagement, interference and/or appreciation,’ said Bijoux, whose work evolved month after month as she braved the elements, student strikes and the COVID-19 lockdown.
‘It was important for my children, friends, family, staff members and students who 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 or what the context is.’
Art critic and academic Dr Ashraf Jamal added: ‘Bijoux has spent almost a year immersed in an art installation project which is evolutionary, 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 artbook will soon be available and those keen to view The Dreams as R-evolution installation can make a booking with the artist by leaving a message on the website https://coral4art.co.za or contact the artist on 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 assisted the artist as a mentor.
Bijoux thanked UKZN’s Infrastructure, Planning and Projects (IPP) Department for permission to use a section of the nursery as well as staff members who assisted from time to time.
Words: Melissa Mungroo