Art Series

Chrisél Attewell


The materials and stones used in this body of work are mostly disregarded and deemed worthless. From the bronze impurities and spillages, to concrete from a broken up floor, to slag from the steel laser cutting, to cracks and holes in my studio floor, and rocks used as garden decorations that are thrown out to make space for newer introductions.  All these objects and materials is seen to be mundane things in life that is often overlooked. In this body of work I hope to shift the perspective of the viewer by introducing to them the elements of humanity and society I find within them.

There are a several works I have made in the past year which I would categorise under the body of work titled “Earth to earth, stone to stone, dust to dust”.  This title has the obvious link to the biblical text that is commonly used at funerals. We are from dust and will return to dust.  The title indicates that  something has come full circle.

This body of work started with a work I made after the sudden heartbreaking loss of my mom in October 2018. The work is titled “Picking up the pieces” and it is a work that talks about the consequence of collecting yourself after tragedy and dealing with the wreck that is left behind. This is also the last work in which Benon Lutaaya, my dear friend and mentor, had an input before his passing.

The stone pieces in “Picking up the pieces” is made from bronze impurities.  Each stone has a time engraved on it.  This is the time it took me to find a solid piece of bronze within each impurity. The viewer is invited to bend down and pick up a stone from where it is hovering close to the ground.  Once the viewer is done examining the stone and lets go of it, it will take the amount of time that is engraved into it, to float back to the ground.

Another work in this body of work, titled ‘the sum of its parts’, is a work made from concrete rocks. The Sum of its Parts is a work that focusses on the weight of an individual, as part of a collective.  What this installation speaks to is the value of a single human life in a greater system. It specifically aims to honor the worker, laborer and often overlooked and undervalued individual. The workers on the construction site are easily forgotten once the building has been erected; their work is seen but their involvement often goes unnoticed. This installation is a memorial to the workers that shape the fabric of society.

Each of the works in this body has elements of memory, history and time passed. They speak of hurt, damage, tragedy and the natural order of things. This natural order of things can be seen in the works in form of gravity, time, weight and decay.  Any material undergoing transformations through the passing of time, will simply be transformed from one form into another and will in the end, like us all, turn back to earth, stone and dust.


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