Artist statement

English

Afrikaans

Toewyding / Dedication / Devotion

This exhibition is in honour of my father, Ds Henk Barnard, who lived the last years of his life with dementia.

In my search to understand the diagnosis of my father’s illness, the duration of his illness and his subsequent passing, I found myself in the flowering garden of Huis Ina Rens. Huis Ina Rens is situated in Paarl and is a facility where people living with dementia are being cared for. I pass this house every morning on my daily walk and it struck me how comfortable the occupants are in this lovely garden and house. I became aware of the patient’s transparent complexions and I noticed the shift in colour as the light falls on the asters, roses and dahlias in the garden. For me this was instant relief and escape from the cruelness of the illness.

Dementia is a loss of mental ability severe enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living. Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia. 

“Ich hab mich verloren” (I have lost myself) were the words of Auguste Deter, the first patient to be diagnosed with dementia by Dr Alzheimer in 1901 in Frankfurt, Germany. She experienced impaired language and memory as well as psychological problems such as disorientation and hallucinations. During the autopsy of the brain of Auguste and the subsequent study of her brain cells under a microscope, Dr Alzeimer could identify two abnormalities: ‘neurofibrillary tangles’ and ‘amyloid plaque’. My aim was to capture on canvas that although the occupants of Huis Ina Rens might be lost to themselves, they seem to be content in their environment – as seen in artworks: “Begin by 1; “Watter seisoen is dit?”; “Spell world”; “What is your name?”; “Wat is die kleur van jou lipstiffie?” and “Watter jaar is dit?”

In the paintings; ‘Onthou jy Manet se Portrait d’Irma Brunner and ‘Ken jy Manet se La Parisienne’. My own fears of forgetfulness were captured after my visit to the Museum de Orsay in Paris.

I attended a short course about conceptual art by Emma Willemse. This taught me to investigate the concept of dementia on a more personal level. Over time, my father, a minister of a church and a servant of the Godly Word, had the use of only three words: Joy (vreugde), strengthen (versterk) and dedication (toewyding). These three words had such an ingrained meaning through his ministry that he eventually relied on these words as his only way of communication. Towards the end of his illness only one word remained: toewyding (dedication). I used this word as the starting point of my stop frame animation film. In Toewyding Een, I relive the moment of my father’s passing by looking at the photographs I took of him and painting over them. The physical touching and stroking of the paintbrush on canvas becomes a meditative ritual which helps me to attain peace in my time of mourning.

In the paintings Toewyding Twee the plaques and tangles are so entwined that they cannot be unraveled anymore. I make use of red and purple buttons with golden yarn to symbolize the craftsmen from biblical times weaving a cloak for the priest as a last homage to my father.  

In Toewyding Twee and Toewyding Drie the flickering of the spots as well as the geometric forms of the Tipp-Ex markings, remind me of the age-old rituals of the San-Shamans. The universal language of spots and stripes have been used for ages and is seen to pre-empt the transition from the physical to the spiritual world. This vision is known as entoptic phenomena.

In Toewyding Finaal we see my mother caring for my father with absolute dedication during his illness. Although it seems that the Tipp-Ex lines form a screen to protect the subjects privacy, it also symbolizes the blocking out of all memory. The process of dedication remains within all of us. With every stripe or mark I made, I submitted to the process of creativity, hoping to submerge myself in the spiritual world where all the ‘magic’ happens.

“Creativity occurs in the moment and in the moment, we are timeless.” (Julia Cameron)

I strive with this exhibition to open a dialogue round the different aspects of dementia and to increase awareness among the general public with regard to available resources. For further information please contact Karen Borochowitz at Dementia SA, Rayne Stroebel at GERATEC and Lydia Corbett social worker/dementia (082 776 4841).

CORNELIA SMOOK SNYMAN

Toewyding / Dedication / Devotion

Hierdie uitstalling huldig die lewe van my Vader, Ds. Henk Barnard, wat sy laaste jare met demensie geleef het.

In my soeke om my Vader se siekte, die tydperk daarna en sy uiteindelike dood te verwerk, is ek op n dag deur die blomme in die tuin by Huis Ina Rens binnegenooi.

Huis Ina Rens in die Paarl is waar persone wat met demensie leef versorg word. Ek stap elke oggend daar verby en het opgemerk hoe gemaklik die inwoners in hul huis en tuin leef. My waarneming van hul deursigte velle en die verandering van kleure soos die lig op die asters, rose en dahlias val, was vir my soos ontvlugting uit die werklike wreedheid van die siekte.

Demensie is die geleidelike verlies van kognitiewe vermoëns wat inmeng met normale funksionering. Alzheimer is die mees algemeenste vorm van demensie.

“Ich hab mich verloren”, ek het myself verloor, was die woorde van Auguste Deter, die eerste pasient wat met demensie gediagnoseer is deur Dr. Alzheimer in 1901 in Frankfurt, Duitsland. Sy het inkorting van geheue en taalgebruik ondervind asook psigologiese probleme soos disorientasie en hallusinasies. Tydens n outopsie van Auguste se brein en n bestudering van die breinselle onder die mikroskoop deur Dr. Alzheimer, kon hy twee abnormaliteite waarneem, naamlik “neurofibrillary tangles” en sogenaamde “amyloid plaques”. Ek wou op die doek vasvang dat al is die inwoners van Huis Ina Rens verlore in hul eie liggame, blyk hulle tog om uiterlik gelukkig te wees soos gesien in die volgende skilderye:  Begin by een; Watter seisoen is dit?; Spell world;  What is your name?;  Wat is die kleur van jou lipstiffie;  Watter jaar is dit?

In die skilderye, Onthou jy nog Manet se portret d’Irma Brunner en Ken jy Manet se La Parisienne, het ek my vrese van my eie herinneringvermoë vasgevang na n besoek aan die Museum de Orsay in Parys.

Ek het ook n kort kursus oor konseptuele kuns, aangebied deur Emma Willemse, bygewoon. Dit het my gedwing om die onderwerp van demensie op n meer persoonlike vlak te ondersoek. Met verloop van tyd het my Vader, die leraar van n gemeente en bedienaar van die Goddelike Woord, slegs drie woorde gebruik naamlik, vreugde, versterk en toewyding. Hierdie drie woorde het soveel betekenis vir hom gehad in sy bediening dat hy dit later as sy enigste vorm van kommunikasie gebruik het. Aan die einde van sy siekte het net een woord, toewyding, oorgebly. Dit het ek gebruik as die beginpunt vir die maak van n stopraam animasiefilm. In Toewyding Een, herleef ek die toneel op my Vader se sterfbed deur te kyk na die foto’s wat ek geneem het en skilder dan daaroor. Die fisiese aanraking deur my kwashale op die doek help my tot berusting.

In Toewyding Twee kan die “plaques” en “tangles” nie meer ontknoop nie. Ek gebruik rooi en pers knope met goue draad, om soos die vakmanne uit die Bybel wat vir die priester n kleed weef, die laaste keer hulde te bring aan my Vader.

In Toewyding Twee en Drie herinner die flikkering van die kolle asook die geometriese vorm van die Tipp-Ex strepies aan die oeroue ritueel van die San Shamans. Die universele taal van kolle en strepies is sedert oertye gebruik en word gesien voor die oorgang van die vleeslike na die geestelike wêreld. Hierdie is bekend as “entoptic phenomena”.

In Toewyding Finaal sien ons my Moeder wat my Vader met toewyding versorg het tydens sy siekte. Al maak die wit Tipp-Ex strepies soos n gordyn die private aangeleentheid toe en blok alle geheue uit, gaan die proses van toewyding voort in elkeen van ons. Ek het myself strepie vir strepie oorgegee aan die kreatiewe proses, sodat ek ook toegang kon kry tot die geestelike wêreld waar die “magic” gebeur.

“Creativity occurs in the moment and in the moment we are timeless”. (Julia Cameron)

Ek poog om deur die uitstalling n gesprek rondom die verskillende fasette van demensie te open en die breë publiek bewus maak van waar hulp en ondersteuning beskikbaar is vir persone wat leef  met demensie en hul familie. Vir verdere inligting kontak Karen Borochowitz van Dementia SA, Rayne Stroebel van GERATEC en Lydia Corbett, maatskaplike werker/demensie (082 776 4841).

CORNELIA SMOOK SNYMAN

English

Toewyding / Dedication / Devotion

This exhibition is in honour of my father, Ds Henk Barnard, who lived the last years of his life with dementia.

In my search to understand the diagnosis of my father’s illness, the duration of his illness and his subsequent passing, I found myself in the flowering garden of Huis Ina Rens. Huis Ina Rens is situated in Paarl and is a facility where people living with dementia are being cared for. I pass this house every morning on my daily walk and it struck me how comfortable the occupants are in this lovely garden and house. I became aware of the patient’s transparent complexions and I noticed the shift in colour as the light falls on the asters, roses and dahlias in the garden. For me this was instant relief and escape from the cruelness of the illness.

Dementia is a loss of mental ability severe enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living. Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia. 

“Ich hab mich verloren” (I have lost myself) were the words of Auguste Deter, the first patient to be diagnosed with dementia by Dr Alzheimer in 1901 in Frankfurt, Germany. She experienced impaired language and memory as well as psychological problems such as disorientation and hallucinations. During the autopsy of the brain of Auguste and the subsequent study of her brain cells under a microscope, Dr Alzeimer could identify two abnormalities: ‘neurofibrillary tangles’ and ‘amyloid plaque’. My aim was to capture on canvas that although the occupants of Huis Ina Rens might be lost to themselves, they seem to be content in their environment – as seen in artworks: “Begin by 1; “Watter seisoen is dit?”; “Spell world”; “What is your name?”; “Wat is die kleur van jou lipstiffie?” and “Watter jaar is dit?”

In the paintings; ‘Onthou jy Manet se Portrait d’Irma Brunner and ‘Ken jy Manet se La Parisienne’. My own fears of forgetfulness were captured after my visit to the Museum de Orsay in Paris.

I attended a short course about conceptual art by Emma Willemse. This taught me to investigate the concept of dementia on a more personal level. Over time, my father, a minister of a church and a servant of the Godly Word, had the use of only three words: Joy (vreugde), strengthen (versterk) and dedication (toewyding). These three words had such an ingrained meaning through his ministry that he eventually relied on these words as his only way of communication. Towards the end of his illness only one word remained: toewyding (dedication). I used this word as the starting point of my stop frame animation film. In Toewyding Een, I relive the moment of my father’s passing by looking at the photographs I took of him and painting over them. The physical touching and stroking of the paintbrush on canvas becomes a meditative ritual which helps me to attain peace in my time of mourning.

In the paintings Toewyding Twee the plaques and tangles are so entwined that they cannot be unraveled anymore. I make use of red and purple buttons with golden yarn to symbolize the craftsmen from biblical times weaving a cloak for the priest as a last homage to my father.  

In Toewyding Twee and Toewyding Drie the flickering of the spots as well as the geometric forms of the Tipp-Ex markings, remind me of the age-old rituals of the San-Shamans. The universal language of spots and stripes have been used for ages and is seen to pre-empt the transition from the physical to the spiritual world. This vision is known as entoptic phenomena.

In Toewyding Finaal we see my mother caring for my father with absolute dedication during his illness. Although it seems that the Tipp-Ex lines form a screen to protect the subjects privacy, it also symbolizes the blocking out of all memory. The process of dedication remains within all of us. With every stripe or mark I made, I submitted to the process of creativity, hoping to submerge myself in the spiritual world where all the ‘magic’ happens.

“Creativity occurs in the moment and in the moment, we are timeless.” (Julia Cameron)

I strive with this exhibition to open a dialogue round the different aspects of dementia and to increase awareness among the general public with regard to available resources. For further information please contact Karen Borochowitz at Dementia SA, Rayne Stroebel at GERATEC and Lydia Corbett social worker/dementia (082 776 4841).

CORNELIA SMOOK SNYMAN

Afrikaans

Toewyding / Dedication / Devotion

Hierdie uitstalling huldig die lewe van my Vader, Ds. Henk Barnard, wat sy laaste jare met demensie geleef het.

In my soeke om my Vader se siekte, die tydperk daarna en sy uiteindelike dood te verwerk, is ek op n dag deur die blomme in die tuin by Huis Ina Rens binnegenooi.

Huis Ina Rens in die Paarl is waar persone wat met demensie leef versorg word. Ek stap elke oggend daar verby en het opgemerk hoe gemaklik die inwoners in hul huis en tuin leef. My waarneming van hul deursigte velle en die verandering van kleure soos die lig op die asters, rose en dahlias val, was vir my soos ontvlugting uit die werklike wreedheid van die siekte.

Demensie is die geleidelike verlies van kognitiewe vermoëns wat inmeng met normale funksionering. Alzheimer is die mees algemeenste vorm van demensie.

“Ich hab mich verloren”, ek het myself verloor, was die woorde van Auguste Deter, die eerste pasient wat met demensie gediagnoseer is deur Dr. Alzheimer in 1901 in Frankfurt, Duitsland. Sy het inkorting van geheue en taalgebruik ondervind asook psigologiese probleme soos disorientasie en hallusinasies. Tydens n outopsie van Auguste se brein en n bestudering van die breinselle onder die mikroskoop deur Dr. Alzheimer, kon hy twee abnormaliteite waarneem, naamlik “neurofibrillary tangles” en sogenaamde “amyloid plaques”. Ek wou op die doek vasvang dat al is die inwoners van Huis Ina Rens verlore in hul eie liggame, blyk hulle tog om uiterlik gelukkig te wees soos gesien in die volgende skilderye:  Begin by een; Watter seisoen is dit?; Spell world;  What is your name?;  Wat is die kleur van jou lipstiffie;  Watter jaar is dit?

In die skilderye, Onthou jy nog Manet se portret d’Irma Brunner en Ken jy Manet se La Parisienne, het ek my vrese van my eie herinneringvermoë vasgevang na n besoek aan die Museum de Orsay in Parys.

Ek het ook n kort kursus oor konseptuele kuns, aangebied deur Emma Willemse, bygewoon. Dit het my gedwing om die onderwerp van demensie op n meer persoonlike vlak te ondersoek. Met verloop van tyd het my Vader, die leraar van n gemeente en bedienaar van die Goddelike Woord, slegs drie woorde gebruik naamlik, vreugde, versterk en toewyding. Hierdie drie woorde het soveel betekenis vir hom gehad in sy bediening dat hy dit later as sy enigste vorm van kommunikasie gebruik het. Aan die einde van sy siekte het net een woord, toewyding, oorgebly. Dit het ek gebruik as die beginpunt vir die maak van n stopraam animasiefilm. In Toewyding Een, herleef ek die toneel op my Vader se sterfbed deur te kyk na die foto’s wat ek geneem het en skilder dan daaroor. Die fisiese aanraking deur my kwashale op die doek help my tot berusting.

In Toewyding Twee kan die “plaques” en “tangles” nie meer ontknoop nie. Ek gebruik rooi en pers knope met goue draad, om soos die vakmanne uit die Bybel wat vir die priester n kleed weef, die laaste keer hulde te bring aan my Vader.

In Toewyding Twee en Drie herinner die flikkering van die kolle asook die geometriese vorm van die Tipp-Ex strepies aan die oeroue ritueel van die San Shamans. Die universele taal van kolle en strepies is sedert oertye gebruik en word gesien voor die oorgang van die vleeslike na die geestelike wêreld. Hierdie is bekend as “entoptic phenomena”.

In Toewyding Finaal sien ons my Moeder wat my Vader met toewyding versorg het tydens sy siekte. Al maak die wit Tipp-Ex strepies soos n gordyn die private aangeleentheid toe en blok alle geheue uit, gaan die proses van toewyding voort in elkeen van ons. Ek het myself strepie vir strepie oorgegee aan die kreatiewe proses, sodat ek ook toegang kon kry tot die geestelike wêreld waar die “magic” gebeur.

“Creativity occurs in the moment and in the moment we are timeless”. (Julia Cameron)

Ek poog om deur die uitstalling n gesprek rondom die verskillende fasette van demensie te open en die breë publiek bewus maak van waar hulp en ondersteuning beskikbaar is vir persone wat leef  met demensie en hul familie. Vir verdere inligting kontak Karen Borochowitz van Dementia SA, Rayne Stroebel vanGERATEC en Lydia Corbett, maatskaplike werker/demensie(082 776 4841).

CORNELIA SMOOK SNYMAN

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