The gentle images of a sleeping child shown in prints on the wall are contrasted with themes of sacrifice, violence, dismemberment and war in a tightly conceived and impressive exhibition by Grahamstown artist Christine Dixie, currently showing at AOP [Arts on Paper] 44 Stanley Ave until this Saturday 29th May.
The artist describes her installation: ‘ In the gallery installation, the six large- scale prints are hung on one long wall (the narrative reading from left to right) invoking a sense of an army barrakcs, or a dormitory or a hospitalward. Placed underneath each of the six prints is a bed which could also be read as an altar or operating table. Over each of these beds is an altar cloth. On the ‘altar’ lies a mirror image, or shadow of the sleeping child [depicted in the print on the wall above the 'altar'] This embodied shadow is made from plastic toy soldiers, mass manufacture in China, Whil making these shadow boys, I often had to chop off the arms and the legs of these toy soldiers to make them fit into the shape on which I was working. This action seemed to in many ways imitate the world of real violence of war and positions me in a complex relationship as an artist creating metaphorical images of sacrifice, while addressing the real fears of a mother for her son.’
It is a powerful moving exhibition which is conceptually coherent and shows superb technical skill. Don’t miss it.