Tanisha Bhana Fertile Ash | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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Fertile Ash


In the Eden of unknown -
Corridors guide to the ashen Faces of lucrative terrain
Where labels mark possession, prepared in unison when harmony caused distress
Belongings hung on parched and blooming foliage
Flourishing on soiled pyjamas from Isabel’s bosom.

Nameless soldiers harvest a yellow yonder
For the banquet of anonymous shadows,
In preparation for the great disparate feast of Abundance.

Isabel’s garden, cultivated in ecstatic pursuit of arranged tenure,
And providing a euphoria of assured faith,
remains alone in-waiting
for floating Lilies to encumber the beloved
in untamed abandonment.

Till the black sun arrives, when all is consumed and desert remains, weeds will hold the foundation for life to germinate on timeless soil.

While we categorise hierarchical privileges, name and protect our boundaries, and cultivate disparate systems of production and distribution, modern ecosystems experience a toiled existence. From the sweat of many, we produce the prosperity of a few.

Detached from the places of production and the source of raw material, the wheel of labour spins the voyage of land, vegetation, animals, and citizens of every strata. As the economic marketplace bustles, man, women, creature and land become agents of production and consumption in a web of ceaseless cultivated growth. Time is quantified by volume, and names are associated with skill.

In the ashes of the engine of human production and consumption lies the eternal hope of every living being to flourish and sustain life. Inspired by the silent voices of places consumed and left behind or prepared for re-development, this portfolio depicts the saturated emptiness of dreams sold in the marketplace.

So that we may rekindle child-like desires for life untamed, and re-learn to connect the wealth of the land for its life-giving force, this series of works take the viewer back to places we left behind and tried to forget for fear of remembering when dreams were for free.

I enjoy portraying both man’s attempt to organise and control our natural and human resources, as well as nature’s instinctive responses.

I particularly enjoy connecting the urban with the natural, sometimes placing man-made structures or symbols in an uncontrolled natural environment and sometimes simply capturing discarded or consumed places. The photography for the art works were taken on various urban and nuclear wastelands, landfill sites in South Africa and certain natural landscapes susceptible to veld fires and habitual regrowth.

To a certain extent, I see myself as a medium for the places that I depict, portraying its hidden and unspoken emotions in sometimes naive, other-worldly landscapes, attempting to take the viewer to a natural subconscious where the awareness of this ecological connection lies.

Following the notion that we must trade our symbiotic relationship with the land and vegetation to successfully develop and grow, my works aim to reconnect the viewer to the eternal cycle of life and death, destruction and creation on earth, so that we may remove ourselves from our daily roles for a moment and once again see ourselves as the ceaseless, inter-dependant link in the chain of life.

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