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Artist Statement

My practice is built around creation as a means of survival. In painting and sculptural installations, I explore my neurodivergence and how it affects the facets of my identity and my journey. I work at unpacking the complexities of that experience. I work from a feminist perspective with materiality and language playing key elements in my practice. The objective of feminist art as a genre is to explore gender disparity in service of positively influencing the societal limitations placed on women and promoting equality while challenging the outmoded norms. 

I use the act of creation and the act of deconstruction in my work to work through pain and frustration. Part of my condition is working through sensory issues, physical limitations and chronic pain.  In my practice, I use the artistic process as a form of catharsis.  

 

Despite my artworks often beginning by facing difficult and at times dark, art has become a central part of my self-care. It is a reflection, that regardless of others, I am listening. Listening to my body and how my neurodivergent experience influences me. I look at the hurt and pain that was never taken seriously, as the medical field is to this day still unpacking and learning what neurodivergence is and how it works especially in the difference of women and people of colour with these conditions.

 

Living in a  neurotypical world that has strict rules that my body can't follow is difficult and yet there is beauty and wonder in how neurodivergence exists. Like pattern recognition, hyper-focused attention and deeper creative flow states that are often overlooked due to needing different forms of structure.

In my painterly techniques, I use broken brush strokes and layering to create optical illusions.  In my current painting series, I focused on a monochromatic colour scheme painting locations from around the world in response to the global 2019 lockdown and being homebound. The process of painting for hours and hours in a more figurative way was key to the experience of art as a source of comfort and not only catharsis.

 

I compare it to my previous series of ‘story boards'  where I painted on wood and used freewriting techniques coupled with controlled breaks between focused flow states and cathartic release where emotion is freed to create thought pieces.

It is through language that I struggle for my identity as a bilingual Afrikaans girl learning two languages at a young age with my learning difficulties left me isolated from both social-lingual communities growing up. I use language now as my communicator in part out of ironic horror. The mismanagement and use of language in ways not meaningful are central to my practice. connect to wim botha and William kentridge as well as glitter artist as well as Hannalie Taute.

I will explore metaphors, language differences and how conflict. Themes going forward will make use of my hyper focuses: both historical lifelong ones like that of psychology and language learning as well as the more fleeting new ones.

My strengths grew from my lifelong struggles with language and what I lived through facing the stigma and misinformation in the early to late 2000s surrounding mental health and neurodivergence in South Africa. But not without a physical price dealing now with sensory issues and chronic pain. 

Healing is an ongoing process and my practice is one aspect of an ongoing journey of introspection and self-love.

I work at placing intangible thoughts and emotions into physical works in an act of defiance of being told my experiences are ‘all in my head’.

In sculpture, the illusion of reality and emotion is an ongoing journey that captivates the artist. In sculpture Monica Blignaut reveres the transcendental and how form is a universal binary. The presence of skeletal remains reflects the internal anxiety and vulnerability of the artist and deal with identity in a post-colonial country with reservations of where the artist fits in society as a bi-lingual Afrikaans girl.

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