A Visual Metaphor for See: Insight and Inspiration
The creative expression of See, elements of which will be seen throughout the project, has been informed by Kintsugi. This is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. As an approach, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object rather than something to disguise. Kintsugi literally means ‘golden joinery’.
Cape Town has a fractured past. History is patched together, and updated over time. In conducting research for See, we find pieces of the past, pieces of stories, pieces that have long been hidden. There are human remains, flotsam from shipwrecks, shards from homes torn down during forced removals, fragments of lives.
See seeks to bring these pieces together, combining them into a unique narrative whole. The aim is greater visibility; the making of a more coherent, inclusive artefact. Togetherness, while imperfect, is better.
It is perhaps appropriate that we look to Kintsugi for inspiration, fitting a Japanese practice into a Cape Town story. This is after all, the mixed city.
And, rather than attempting to cling to its veneer of fixedness, we should celebrate the process of restoration. There is beauty in the unexpected joining of breaks and fractures. In this ambition of creative revitalization, the end result is often more remarkable than the original.
The Kintsugi technique also suggests that there is a usefulness in the past; it should not necessarily be discarded. It can, instead, be integrated into the present. Among many things, this represents a sense of resilience. What is broken can be healed. From trauma can come understanding. From destruction; golden light.