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Saturday, February 25, 2017


(Work by Dina Cormick)

The work of well known local sculptor, Dina Cormick can be seen in her new exhibition, A QUESTION OF BALANCE:  When all around is upside down, which is currently running at the Phansi Museum in Glenwood, Durban.

Cormick says her initial thinking on the approach to the theme of exhibition all began in a precarious position of uncertainty - to fall or not to fall – both options being equally depressing and gloomy.   Hence, in a crazy world, she elected to explore radical solutions, stretching to the outermost limits of credibility and possibility.  After all, she says, the only truth is the experience of the moment, awakening to a realization that one must risk everything to find equilibrium.

As can be seen in examples of her earlier work, Cormick has always been fascinated by the interplay between the possible and the impossible in art. For her, she says, the most enthralling and challenging aspect of the creative process is releasing the waiting image, mysteriously concealed within the material and in this case, her chosen medium – wood.  Oftentimes says Cormick, an artist has to relinquish preconceived expectations and trust simply in the wondrous exploration of creative imagination.  

In her artist’s statement, she says that an important, albeit tortuous, balancing is deciding when to stop working on a piece. “I am caught between the dilemma of ‘finishing’ to a traditionally accepted degree of completion – waxed, shiny, no scratches or defects or presenting the artwork in the peak, raw moment of [for me] deepest expression – unwaxed, with evidence of the process and the tantalizing possibilities of incompletion.”    

“Finally, the question of balance referred me to the archetype of the circus clown who puts the ups and downs of ‘life’ into perspective, who helps us laugh at our own idiosyncrasies, essentially to see things differently.”

Born in Nkana, Zambia and schooled in Harare, Zimbabwe, Cormick studied art at Rhodes University, Grahamstown and at Durban University of Technology, Durban. Since 1978 she has worked as freelance artist from her studio in Durban. Her commissioned artworks which include wood sculptures, mosaic and ceramic panels can be found widely distributed throughout Southern Africa in ecumenical church institutions, as well as in numerous grassroots and socio-political organisations. Her particular concern and interest lies in the didactic importance of art. In 1992 she graduated cum laude as a "Mistress" of Feminist Theological Ethics, after critically discussing the manner in which women have been imaged by the Christian Church.

Cormick has participated in numerous group exhibitions and solo exhibitions in South Africa and abroad and has contributed to a number of collaborative printmaking portfolios, for example the Images of Human Rights Portfolio, an Artist for Human Rights project. Her work and her contribution to South African art is widely represented in national publications and in published and critical writings and her artwork graces the covers of numerous journals, magazines, brochures, calendars and posters. 

The exhibition closes on March 18, 2017. Phansi Museum is situated at 500 Esther Roberts Road in Glenwood, Durban.

For additional information, contact the Director, Sharon Crampton on 031 206 2889 or