Cara Van Niekerk

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

Take Care/Looking After

“The needle is used to repair damage. It’s a claim to forgiveness. It is never aggressive, it is not a pin.” 1 - Louise Bourgeois

There is an imaginary narrative that follows my work which describes a special room, found in an old museum, where lost and discarded things from the past have been collected and gathered in order to be studied at a later stage. These samples and specimens once had a purpose, but no one knows or remembers what their original uses were, so they remain in their display cases, sandwiched in glass, forever eternalised, waiting to be studied and dated (an act that will inevitably never take place). I bring value to these fleeting objects that I have created by memorialising the samples, field notes, blankets, tapestries and clothing that has been forgotten, stored away for many, many years. My interests lie in exploring various traditional craft mediums as a means of self expression, documentation, preservation and protection. I draw from personal memories and moments as way of capturing these somewhat mundane experiences onto materials such as cotton, silk and wax paper. The relationship between the fragility of the fabric and the choice of puncture and disruption becomes an act of subversion towards the expectations of femininity and the intersectionalities that ultimately encompass women, race and class. I am concerned with analysing and disrupting the boundaries surrounding traditional craft work, domestic art and femininity, while practicing techniques such as embroidery, quilting, weaving, collage and stitching as a way of protecting and documenting the self.