Tell me what you would miss

Tell me what you would miss


My solo booth at RMB Latitudes Art Fair  Friday 24th-Sunday 26th of May

Amy Ayanda Lester’s work is an abstract exploration into personal and collective loss within the context of South Africa's history.

The Group Areas Act of 1955 evicted thousands of people from their homes in Cape Town and South Africa. The artist’s father, aunt, uncle and grandparents were evicted from their flower farm in Constantia, Strawberry Lane. They moved to Grassy Park, a designated ‘coloured’ area on the ‘Cape Flats’.

Her use of bold colours and impulsive mark-making explore the intricate layers of memory and displacement. Transparent and solid flower motifs are layered; ghostly silhouettes of flower beds and shrubs are abstract and loose, depicting the inability to contain and fully apprehend grief and loss. This is the artist's process of engaging with what is seen and unseen when we experience loss.

Through her father’s recollections, Amy explores the emotional landscape of displacement, seeking to better understand vanished places and communities.

“My father would tell us stories of the verdant pastures, the flowers up in the attic in galvanised buckets for the flower sellers to collect in the mornings. He would then go on to tell us the journey they made at night to their new makeshift dwellings in Grassy Park. It was the middle of winter, and there were no floors or streetlights. The loss my family felt isn’t quite acknowledged and for the most part they just got on with their lives in order to survive. There wasn’t enough space for them to fully grieve; in the same breath it is so difficult to remember. I am interested in the echoes of historical trauma on contemporary urban topographies. Our history remains unclear."

Moreover, having lost her mother to terminal illness the artist explores her own experience of grief and the shapes that it takes over time. She remembers details of her mother to feel connected to her memory. Some pieces explore how her mothers body changed over time as the disease took over and how the memory of her voice is a distinct memory she holds tenderly.

“I tell stories to my daughter about her, my sons ask questions about her photo on the wall. Someone did us all a grave injustice by implying that mourning has a distinct beginning, middle, and end.”

The artist invites the viewer to experience catharsis and communion and confront our stories' inherent fragility and beauty.


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