The catalyst for this exhibition was the discovery of my own dislocated identity after immigrating to the Netherlands at the age of thirteen. I discovered that my mother and my grandmother had suffered a similar trauma in that their identities were also fractured and dislocated due to moving between Southern Africa and the Netherlands throughout their lives.
The work is linked to memories of the protagonists; it is rooted in my mother’s memories of her mother and my memories and perceptions of my grandmother and my mother. Researching my family’s history of dislocation revealed a wealth of stories and imaginings that I was unaware of. An exploration of the cultural dislocation of three generations of women in my family became the guiding force for this body of work. Spanning this body of work to include three generations gives me the opportunity to reflect on how time and space affects identity and the type of dislocation that is felt. Even though the three protagonists share a sense of cultural dislocation, the circumstances and extent of this dislocation was different for each protagonist. The type of dislocation that occurs is dependent on a particular time and the geographical space each protagonist inhabited.
The exhibition juxtaposes Southern Africa and the Netherlands in an inter-personal cultural context. Culture and identity are inextricably linked concepts and I investigate the difficulties experienced by the protagonists in their pursuit of negotiating what it means to have a dislocated cultural identity. - Jetteke de Vries