Profile on Artthrob: http://www.artthrob.co.za/02may/artbio.html
LEORA FARBER IS A JOHANNESBURG-BASED ARTIST. SHE TRAINED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, SOUTH AFRICA, OBTAINING HER M.A. FINE ART (CUM LAUDE) IN 1992. SHE CURRENTLY WORKS AS A SENIOR LECTURER IN THE DEPARTMENT OF FINE ARTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG, SPECIALIZING IN POSTGRADUATE SUPERVISION AND RESEARCH.
This paper explores ways in which difference is grafted into/onto skin, with reference to a selected series of photographic prints. These prints form part of a larger body of artwork and an educational program and research project, titled Dis-location/Re-location. The project investigates personalized postcolonial identity through reference to colonialism, geographies, histories, political positions, and cultural affi liations. Artwork is used as a space within which to interrogate personal and collective relationships to South African British colonial history and its current personal and public residues of identity construction within the context of postcolonial, post-apartheid South Africa. In the artwork, skin forms a fi gurative and metaphorical site of intervention for the grafting of tensions, ambiguities, and differences in the formation of new hybrid, transforming conceptions of personal and collective identity formations.
> DIS-LOCATION/RE-LOCATION: "IMPLANTING AFRICA"
Grafting, as the insertion of diverse material/s sewn into/ onto skin to produce an indissoluble union and new hybrid formation, forms a material and conceptual thread running through my work. Thread itself – with its multilayered associations of needlecraft, labor, femininity, and surgical suture – becomes a refrain as that which pierces, joins, constrains, and grafts skin. Skin, in its complex relation to various controlling political trajectories and regimes, is materially and metaphorically evoked as a site for grafting hybrid, transforming conceptions of contemporary, primarily South African, gender and postcolonial identities. This paper explores ways in which difference is grafted into/onto skin, using thread as metaphor and material, stitch and suture, with reference to a selected series of photographic prints. Graft as “labor”(1) is also pertinent here, with its implications of cultivation, time, and material investment. The grafting of diverse materials and cultural signifiers into/onto skin is envisioned to allow for new, personalized conceptions of gender and postcolonial identities.