Amita Makan France - South Africa dialogue, Paris 2013 | | Art in South Africa
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France - South Africa dialogue, Paris 2013

In association with the South African National Association of Visual Arts (SANAVA)
Orangerie Exhibition Çenter of the French Senate, Paris
5 June - 16 June 2013.


Kappa Crucis Star Cluster 2013
Hand embroidered with silk thread on dupion silk and silk tulle with vintage saris, sequins and swarovski crystals

‘Kappa Crucis Star Cluster’, Submission for France-South Africa Dialogue prepared by Amita Makan

The Kappa Crucis Star Cluster or ‘Jewel Box’ celebrates an enduring relationship between France and South Africa. The Kappa Crucis was ‘gifted’ to South Africa by Frenchman, Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, when he discovered this special cluster on his visit to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa in 1751- 1752. The constellation is only visible from the Southern Hemisphere. It is said to be the brightest and most beautiful constellation in the Southern Hemisphere similar to ‘a casket of variously coloured precious stones’[1].

Drawing on my Indian ancestry, the portrait ensconced within the cluster is of my aunt, Tara, meaning ‘star’ in Sanskrit. The constellation is a manifestation of the great serpent Goddess ‘Shesha’. In Hindu mythology, ‘Shesha’ is the ‘endless one’ whose form embodies the Milky Way. Her four great coils represents the four yugas, that is, the four world ages of cosmic time[2].


[1]. Jewel Box (Star Cluster) from Wikipedia

[2]. Waterstone, R, India The Cultural Companion , Duncan Baird Publishers, London, p 68.

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