Hester Viles lives and works in Terenure, Kempton Park. She obtained a BA (FA) from Unisa and has been exhibiting very regularly over the years. This exhibition is the 52nd group exhibition in which she is taking part.
Most of her work always had a feminist approach, such as the Lead Apron, and using traumatic events from her community and personal life to make paper embroideries, but a few years ago she changed to environmental growth issues linked Neo Romanticism, but with an emphasis on personal relationships and the hierarchy that comes with it, such as “High Chair”. Real grass was replaced with fabric and fibre, and repairs done with either silk, pearls or metals.
She has always been drawn to the discarded, damaged, old, handmade, cultural objects, old photos, needlework and jewellery of a personal and historical nature. Her aim was always not to just restore or repair, but to rescue these discarded relics, “uplift” it, and give it new value.
Of course, this just fits in so well with the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, also known as kintsukuroi, i.e. broken pots repaired with precious metal and, thanks to its scars it became more valuable. It is a positive way to cope with traumatic events, and through this experience of repairing a discarded object which belonged to a specific person, it now becomes more unique and more precious.
“High Chair” has been the departure point for “Seed Capsule” to be sown on the edge of a forest. Seed, seed capsules, seed containers all reference new life and growth. With the destruction of forests and habitats, and attack on personal lives and living spaces in our destructive society, seed capsules to be sown in the destroyed areas may just survive long enough to spring forth new life, new plants, new forests. This work is a sculptural interpretation for a practical application and a very personal look at new growth.