Death illustrated

SHARE   |   Sunday, 24 May 2015   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Death illustration at the Thapong Visual Arts Center Death illustration at the Thapong Visual Arts Center

The thought of dying and state of death itself scares many people. But one daring local artist Ivy Radipodi has had enough courage to depict death in her artwork. At Thapong Visual Arts Centre, Radipodi has set up in a room a depiction of the end of life – an unnerving illustration that can make your mind run wild. A hospital setting greets one from the door. If you have been to a hospital to see a loved one fighting for life, it will really strike you and make you realise how it was when you were sitting at that bedside. Apart from the normal setting where someone will be lying there with his/her body parts intact, this one was exceptional because it was only the head and the ribcages lying on the bed.  The internal organs were put in a basin just on the same bed – out of their normal place in the body. The body itself was draped in a white cloth and placed just above the bed. The walls in the room had people’s written messages on what they made of the whole presentation.
The artwork depicts the atrocities that the human body goes through before someone passes on, and the control that the doctors have over someone's body when they are at the hospital. In some messages on the wall some people acclaimed the value and preciousness of life.
Radipodi has always been passionate about art and has won awards both locally and internationally as an artist. She has also done a lot of exhibitions in different countries and has worked in a diverse range of media over the past 15 years, always presenting the body of innovative works which are notable for their brilliance of colour, fusion of Africa and Western objects, and of culture in the diaspora. “I sculpt and set up installations from personal narratives as well as more collective experiences socially,” she said. She revealed that her work can be seen as a series of explorations around the body, politics, history, and place or site specific. She has played with the visibility and invisibility of the body, where her works tends to manifest themselves in both fantasy and possible ways. Radipodi said through this she revealed and created scenarios in which some of the things that are not usually talked about are entirely appreciated. In most of her artworks Radipodi said she uses art as a therapeutic tool to address pertaining issues which are personal. She said her works are mostly about HIV/AIDS and forms of holier-than-thou extremism. In her parable explanation Radipodi said she aches this through characters both in the unlikely affairs or groupings assigned to these objects, and how they are fashioned by powerful use of techniques that cause rebirth to their physical consistency. “I deliberately conjoin these objects in marginal union to provoke a balance between innocence and disturbing potent in visual form,” she said.

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