n De Arte - Avitha Sooful : allegorical embodiments of the local landscape : research




This article offers a critical reading of a number of artworks by Avitha Sooful, mainly dating from the period 1980 to 2004. Readings of other relevant works that illustrate either continuities or disjunctures with her artistic practices and world views are included. This is part of a larger study that investigated the constructs of identity, place and displacement in the artworks of female artists who were employed at Vaal University of Technology (VUT) during that time. The first ten years of democracy and transformation in South Africa tacitly underpin the scope of the article, which focuses on Sooful's cultural exchange and interchange with the changing political and social realities in a new South Africa. The theoretical underpinnings of this article are embedded in the discourses of geographically and historically specific events in South Africa, and cultural studies theories. They are framed by postcolonial readings of identity, place and displacement. The artist's work is used to demonstrate how her subject position inspired her to produce artworks that reconfigured the local Durban and Free State regions over the 20 years concerned.


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