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Indepth Arts News:

"Forms in Transit: Usha Seejarim"
2003-07-29 until 2003-08-17
NSA Gallery
Durban, , ZA South Africa

Usha Seejarim will present an exhibition of work at the NSA Gallery, courtesy of a generous grant received by the institution from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. In a country where forced removals and relocation have resulted in the birth of many new routes (and roots), many people have needed to travel daily from place of home to place of work. The artist herself travels a fixed route daily on the M1 South between Lenasia (where she lives) and Johannesburg (where she works). This awareness that this daily routine is a direct result of a specific past history, and also that new history is constructed daily as many commuters travel over the tarred surface of the road is a major source for her work.

Seejarim states: “Issues of transient spaces and time, involuntary journeys, personal journeys, and narrative as well anotions of home, context and displacement are concepts that I have been exploring. I am intrigued by the mundaneness of daily travel, and how this can be seen as a metaphor for life journeys. I am also fascinated by the movement of people from one place to another, and the visual shifts in environment.”

In a more recent work, Two Rooms and a Kitchen, ten sets of interviews with elderly citizens of Lenasia are configured in conversation. They speak about their heritage, marriage, travel, school, and apartheid from a South African Indian’s point of view, and life in general.

Her concerns with routine and the pedestrian as powerful vehicles for spiritual transcendence and metaphor underlies work that is concerned with social comment. Seejarim works predominantly with video, installation, and photo based images.

Seejarim was born in 1974 in South Africa. She obtained a National Diploma, and then a B-Tech degree in Fine Arts from Technikon Witwatersrand. She had one solo exhibition titled Long Distance in 1999 and has participated in various group exhibitions. She was a nominee for the FNB VITA Art Prize in 2002 and the MTN New Contemporaries in 2001. She recently returned from completing a residency through the Ampersand Fellowship in New York and participated in the exhibition “When Latitudes Become Forms” at the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis.


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