Save the Princess Video installation by Ayesha Price The Lovell Gallery, 139 Albert Rd, Woodstock
Exhibition: 2-16 November 2013, Tuesday to Friday10h00 – 18h00, Saturdays 10h00-14h00
Walkabouts: Saturday 9 & 16 November 2013, 11am
It is difficult to pinpoint what is so compelling about Ayesha Price’s Save the Princess video installation. The Installation comprises a sound track with a series of images projected in seven panels surrounding the viewer. Within a few moments of experiencing them, one is transported to a world of strange mystery and subtlety.
The flawlessly executed installation presents a flickering, richly layered tapestry of history, myth, gender, power relations and nature; figures shift ambiguously from gestures of freedom and bondage; growing and shrinking, expanding and contracting in endless cycles. The landscape in the form of the profile of the Princess speaks, eternally supplicating, a silent voice that is perhaps doomed to remain unheard or is a singing a song beneath or above our sonar radar that is being heard in circles that extend beyond us. There is a sensation of water flowing over submerged bodies, either drowning or swimming, of light flickering through trees, of the merging cycles of life and death, growth and decay. Overall it holds profound lessons of relations between hegemonic and subordinate cultures; the suppression and expression of identity; the way that nature both enables and restricts our self-expression; the critical and delicate balance between living in and living off nature.
I found it utterly mesmerising, and felt as if I could have spent several hours entranced by this experience. I walked away with a visceral sensation of those flickering shadows that still move within me. I strongly urge all who can to attend Ayesha’s walk about on Saturday 16 November at 11 am, or at least to go and experience the installation for yourself.
From Ayesha’s Press release: Princess Vlei is a wetland in an urban area and a specific site of trauma: haunted by myths, riled with urban legends, inextricably linked to the displacement of people and currently, under real threat of destruction by commercial development.
This body of achromatic digital works draws upon this site and its legend – a lake of tears- as a symbol of the degradation, disempowerment and injustice visited upon the worlds of the vulnerable by the powerful.
The artist employs sequences and layers of animation, footage and stills which allude to the cyclical and traumatic nature of remembering and forgetting, submerging and rising, entrapment and escape. Multiple projections situate the viewer in close proximity to the anxiety of impending violation and freedom/release from cycles of trauma – in a position to actively break the cycle, or remain trapped.