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Tuesday, May 5, 2015


(Still image from “Suikerbossie” video performance)

Suikerbossie (Sugarbush) is a one woman show by Durban artist Nicolé Maurel currently on at the Durban Art Gallery which investigates the interrogation of Afrikaner culture and identity.

This grappling with identity is placed in the context of her family history and life experiences through multimedia such as video, digital collages, performance, drawing, ceramics, mixed media and sculptural installation.

“This interrogation forms part of a critical transformative inquiry, which explores the death, rebirth and growth of my personal identity through art practice.  It is through writing and telling our stories we use the power of narratives to deconstruct and reconstruct new identities, in order to begin to heal,” explains Maurel. 

“My art practice interrogates the influence of Afrikaner culture and identity on my upbringing as a white Afrikaans speaking South African female,” she continues. “I questioned the contradictory rebellious, authoritarian and conformist nature of the Afrikaner. I identify with the rebelliousness and strong yearning and struggle for freedom, which are prominent in Afrikaner culture and identity. This research has made an important contribution to the current debate regarding the future of Afrikaner culture and identity in the context of a multicultural nation.

“My art practice reveals a persistent questioning of Afrikaner culture and identity, resulting in the formation of an individual identity. I have been struggling against Afrikaner myths and beliefs, such as the Afrikaner as the chosen people and the authority of the patriarch. 20 years of democracy has brought about a multi-cultural environment which is very different from that which existed when I grew up during apartheid. It has provided a space for a metamorphosis of my personal identity through an interrogation of Afrikaner culture and identity in my art practice.”

Suikerbossie / Sugarbush runs until June 28 at the Durban Art Gallery which is on the second floor of the Durban City Hall building; enter opposite the Playhouse. DAG is open six days a week: Monday to Saturday from 08h30 until 16h00, and Sundays from 11h00 until 16h00. Entry is free and all are welcome! For more info, contact the Gallery on 031 311 2264 / 9 (weekdays) or email: