Georgie Clark

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

Silva Solis – Forest of the Sun

Silva Solis delves into the intertwined and ever-changing tales of my home, the Karkloof forest in the Kwa-Zulu Natal midlands, where memories of its histories have become part of its very essence.

Silva Solis employs the most fundamental elements of photography, using lenses and light in a similar fashion to using a magnifying glass to burn a piece of paper. In leaving the camera’s shutter open for prolonged periods of time, often hours at a time, each image depicts the path of the sun as it moves through the sky in the mode of a sharp burn. In its technicalities, Silva Solis nods to the history and the profound connections between memory and photography. The work aims to offer a complex story through the mode of the photograph by delving into its interconnected elements, including its potential aspects of violence. The concept of time is similarly challenged in the work as we witness the day condensed into a single image, preserving hidden stories and events in the still of the object photograph.

The setting of Silva Solis, the Karkloof forest, holds two main stories in the work: one being that of its collective history, while the other lies hidden in my own experience, undisclosed but ever present. The Karkloof forest played a crucial, though often overlooked, role in constructing colonial South Africa, with its trees transported to build Pietermaritzburg, Durban, and nearby settlements. Today, only a few natural pockets of the forest system remain, as commercial logging has replaced most of its original networks, leaving lasting marks on the surface of its land.

The sun’s burn in the forest hints at past adversities, from colonial exploitation to its modern-day existence, including my own experience in living within it.

In practicing Slow Photography and empathetic approaches to picture-making in this work, I, myself can only hope to have entered the forest’s memory with humility and consideration, taking my time spent in its embrace to share its story with those who are willing to listen.