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Thursday, April 25, 2024



(Giclee paint on glass still 4 by Michelle Stewart. Pic supplied)

Undying Faces comprises postmortem portraits of unclaimed deceased from the Johannesburg Forensic Services, executed in several mediums: including an oil paint-on-glass animation, a series of 3D digital models, and a series of 2D oil paint-on-glass digital prints.

The exhibition aims, on the one hand, to present a final portrait of an anonymous individual, and to leave an indelible trace of their existence.

On the other hand, it aims to acknowledge the commemorative and transcendental roles of the traditions of the final portrait. While the portrayal of the dead is inevitably contentious, artists have long been working in this field of representing one of the very few constants we can understand as being a condition of life. The images have been fashioned with an acute awareness producing this work brings into tension the duty to the corpse, and the desire to hold onto a tangible memory or a visible trace.

Michelle Stewart is a senior lecturer and academic co-ordinator for Digital Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has an MA in Fine Arts and a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies. She has exhibited on various exhibition and symposia platforms locally and internationally. Her animated works have been represented on The International Film Festival (Belgium), The Manifesto Film Festival (Amsterdam, The Animation and Social Engagement Symposium (Texas) and the International Symposium of Electronic Art and was awarded ‘Best Animation’ at the Euro-Kino Film Festival in Prague.

Undying Faces runs from Friday 3 May to Sunday 19 May 2024

The KZNSA - KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts - is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban. Phone 031 277 1705 or visit

Keep an eye on KZNSA socials for the walkabout date