Note: This creative submission is a sister piece to the critical article, Antinomies of Neighborliness. The two submissions are meant to be viewed in concert.
“To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld… a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world” (Nelson Mandela, 1994).
Vistas is a visual project about landscape featuring paintings by Raél Jero Salley and photographs by Jared Thorne.
The artwork focuses on land, farm, territory and ways of seeing in contemporary South Africa. Vistas is interested in land’s relationship to culture, and the exhibition appears with the legacy of the Native’s Land Act of 1913 in mind.
Salley’s paintings approach landscape from different directions. ‘To landscape’ is an active process of making space into place. It involves intersections between historical, aesthetic and concrete forms.
Thorne’s photographs question the ways in which the contrasting demographics of the neighboring Western Cape suburbs Kraafontein and Brackenfell depict the new South Africa.
In articulating a post apartheid vision of the South African landscape, the exhibition challenges romanticized visions of the ‘Rainbow Nation’, and seeks to provoke questions how such visions and views have expanded or collapsed.
By juxtaposing paintings and photographs, Vistas highlights practices of visual representation while looking toward the boundaries, horizons and possibilities of contemporary landscape.