01 Nov Vortex – Christiaan Diederiks & Shui-Lyn White – 19 November 2022
Christiaan Diedericks & Shui-Lyn White
Opening Saturday 19 November 2022 at 11am
Until 4 December
Vortex is a collaboration between Christiaan Diedericks and Shui-Lyn White, two South African artists with differing artistic intentions, practices and backgrounds yet bound by a deep friendship and a belief in art as a means of service and transformation. Vortex began in conversations during the pandemic and lockdowns of 2020-21 as both artists mused on a way forward in the aftermath of Covid-19, in the face of climate change and environmental degradation, and in the societal overhaul necessary for the wellbeing of humanity. What they both felt to be crucial for humankind was collaboration. And so, Vortex was born.
Surrender into the silence, collapse into the vortex.
Surrender the outer world and become present to the inner world.
Surrender into possibility, into the potential of this moment:
the limitlessness of the pure potential that exists within, and that exists out there in the vastness of the beyond.
Surrender to the beauty, the power, the potential of this moment:
step into the vortex.
– Shui-Lyn White
In the context of this collaboration, “vortex” refers to the source of all creation, all energies – the vast oneness of the universe and arriving at our place in it. It is a response to the questions driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, as it revealed the divisions in humanity and the toxicity of the way we inhabit the planet and the self. What the virus revealed is a toxic individualism – the me-me gain at the expense of everything else – a toxic exclusivity that sits at the heart of our world view creating otherness and manifesting in sexism, racism, gender discrimination, toxic masculinity and femininity, toxic culturalism and nationalism, and exploitation of nature to the point of global extinctions. In the vortex of a global pandemic individual countries are battling the Covid-19 pandemic alone. This sad reality exposes the lack of global compassion and care.
Humankind came to be one of the dominant species on the planet through collaboration, but our seemingly unrivalled dominance has, over time, led to an elevation of individual power and the development of hierarchical “collaborations” where the individual is set up to succeed through exploitation and competition. As borders close, re-open and close, as companies compete for profit and power, what people increasingly recognise is the need to move into a better way of being, both for our well-being and in support of the planet – a return to collaboration and connection. Vortex is a true collaboration between two artists with strong voices, and a deep connection based on two decades of conversations. In Vortex, they bring together two highly individual expressive languages to address this time in our world – a reflection on and reaction to the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and a way forward in what is possibly a completely new world. So many unjust things were exposed by the pandemic globally, 2020 and 2021 became a time for reflection and introspection.
In Vortex, we envision an exhibition of hope, direction and “a new way of being in the world”: a reminder to be more compassionate towards each other and to leave a softer footprint on our planet. We both believe in the importance, meaning and necessity of collaboration and connection in creating a new way forward. T.S. Eliot probably best described the rewards of collaboration when speaking about newness in poetry: the “bringing together of disparate halves to create new wholes”. For us, Vortex, is the realization of this philosophical and practical imperative.
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