Irma Stern Museum Exhibition

The Old Woman and the Moon

The 2016 Exhibition at the Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town was opened by Amanda Botha:

Creativity has everything to do with finding your own voice, of discovering the vein of gold that runs in your own life.

This vein represents the riches of talents, dreams and aspirations that we all have, but which are often unfulfilled and buried deeply within ourselves. To haul these treasures to the light and claim them for ourselves is what creativity is all about. 

Aesthetically significant is the “content” of the work, the “voice” of the artist and the transfer of meanings, stimulating the viewer to engage in a conversation with the work. A work of art is also defined by the manner in which the viewer’s imagination is unlocked together with the creator’s confidence therein, releasing unlimited imaginative possibilities interacting with each other. This interaction leads to appropriation and eventually results in embodiment. Art becomes a mirror image for the viewer to gain insight into the psychic journey of the self, as well as that of the artist, defining the viewer’s aesthetic, emotional engagement with the work.

Wilna van der Walt’s art embodies the inner perception of the powers of healing, personified in the creative urge, whereby art becomes cure. The active pursuit of creativity transforms the subconscious into image, along with the striving for clarification.

This exhibition gives shape to Van der Walt’s symbolic journey on unchartered paths, an expedition of the shards and fragments of her wounded soul depicted on canvas. A journey of 25 years took her deep into herself, allowing her subconscious interaction with her imagination to convey messages and stimuli onto canvas by way of art. The dialogue between her and her psyche leaves the personal domain through her artistic depiction and exhibition, providing space for the unknown viewer(s).

Van der Walt made herself vulnerable in relating her story on canvas, harvesting from the fertile turmoil of her inner awareness. She reacted to the stimulus and patiently waited for its evolvement, finding in herself the confidence to enter into the unknown inner world. Her palette becomes the medium, her canvas the report of her psychological journey, the answer to her continuous conversation with herself.

She did not think of her work as art, but rather as images coming into being as a result of an inner dialogue creating meaning for her. Each of these images has a life of its own, part of a larger puzzle of truths, a larger cosmic concept. This is the essential meaning of visual art, the reason why artists work on canvas, others with chisels, to bring form into existence.

The external reflection of her inner world on canvas, with its imperfections, became recognizable and allowed her acceptance and meaningful engagement with day to day living. She could find ‘the unbearable lightness of being’ in her work, like the writer Milan Kundera, and like Vincent van Gogh she could turn her ‘sunflowers’ to the light.

Amanda Botha