A Heart Divided Installation (2011)

Polyester, hair, fibres, DVD, Digital printing, embroidery, plaiting
5m x 5m x 3m (installation size variable)


Artist's Statement

A Heart Divided talks about my divided self as a child growing up in Scotland with a Scottish father and a mother who was born in South Africa. It also refers to the division in my own life whereby my childhood was spent in Scotland, but the majority of my life has been lived in South Africa.

"A Heart Divided" attempts to narrate the universal story in today’s world of the effects of globalization where many people have grown up in a family in which the parents come from two different parts of the globe and different societies and cultures.

The work also talks about the self-divided by this background , never really being one thing or the other nor quite belonging anywhere and attempting to integrate these two parts by living life on two continents and moving backwards and forwards between them.  In my case my life has embraced an early upbringing in the northern hemisphere in Scotland, born of a Scottish father and a South African mother ,who used to tell me about life in South Africa, and then immigrating alone to South Africa as a young woman.          

I have chosen to use my hair as a metaphor, a marker of my identity, DNA and personal growth.  Hair is renewed in repeated cycles, indicating the repetition of this cycle in my own life in terms of maintaining contact with my two worlds.

The timeline is a long plait, made of synthetic hair/ fibre and my hair and is embedded with small symbolic iconic textile embroidered drawings to reflect important places and people in my life.   The hair panels show the contrast and complexity between the gentler, calmer, Celtic background environment of Scotland and the African, edgier, more dramatic, vibrant energy of South Africa.