In response to the South African Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition at Everard Read, IN THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT showcases the work of a selection of South African artists, who incorporate botanical elements in their work as they engage in wider conversations in contemporary art.
Plants represent life. They are our most basic source of oxygen, medicine, water and food, and have been the subject of scientific research and documentation for centuries.
In our post-colonial era we have recognised the sociological complexities of science as a practice and thus, we can also unpack the history of botany to reveal how plants are organisms that positively contribute to our existence, but, simultaneously, have been imbued with this history of imperial conquest, politics and prejudice.
From the Bible to our great Baobabs, plants are inextricably linked to our religions, cultures and heritage. They are objects of beauty, subjects of study, symbols of identity, and have been the inspiration behind artworks for centuries.
When William Blake wrote The Tyger, he situated the beast “in the forests of the night”, a metaphor for the complexity of human nature. The deep, dark forest symbolises our human consciousness, a place of profound contemplation, where peril and paradise coexist in constant tension.
IN THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT opens on Thursday the 17th of May at 6:00pm, in conjunction with the opening of South African Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition at Everard Read.