Wilma Cruise 1984 Fight or Flight: Apocalypse Now? 2020 | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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1984 Fight or Flight: Apocalypse Now? 2020 | Everard Read Cape Town

1984 Fight or Flight: Apocalypse Now? focuses on the relationship between humans and other animals. Like the seven consecutive solo shows that constitute Cruise's suite of works The Alice Diaries (2011 – 2018), her latest sequence will be realised in a succession of exhibitions.

As in previous shows, this exhibition was motivated by an anxious awareness of environmental meltdown but also, crucially, the current pandemic. Faced with unbearable environmental conditions, choices for humans and, critically, other animals, are reduced to a binary conundrum: fight or flight.

Following the need to flee, boat-loads of people from the south take to the perilous waters to cross to the (perceived) safety of the Northern Hemisphere. The human flight is echoed by the mass migration of other animals, fleeing drought, wild fires, degradation of their environments and the persecution by the apex predator: homo sapiens.

George Orwell’s two dystopian novels, 1984 and Animal Farm, act as parallel texts to the visual objects. At this cusp in our history, Orwell’s novels are particularly apt in visualising a kind of post-apocalyptic world. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the artworks do not illustrate nor explain Orwell’s writings. Rather they act as an alternative text – a response as it were to his prescient vision.


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