#192. Take in Sue Pam-Grant’s latest work. The writer, performer and theatre director has over the past few years turned to fine art – with some amazing results. She has a shop in Melville next to the Bamboo Centre that I often drive past. Although to call it a shop isn’t quite accurate as its window reveals an ever-changing tableau of the artist’s work. A living breathing installation that masquerades as a shop. Always intriguing, and entertaining while you sit sandwiched between cars in Joburg traffic waiting for the light to change.
Her latest exhibition is an Assemblage – titled He Unbuttoned his Shirt and Took to the Sky – of works created on small brown paper packets, the kind that get filled up as party packs for kiddies’ birthdays.
It would be hard to choose a favourite but if pushed it would be this one – “If I could chop my head off, I would” – because it made me laugh to look at it and it matched the day I had just had.
Each packet is dated (one for each day of the year starting from February 2009) and all her treats are on the outside – a documentary of a year’s worth of life, emotion, humour and experiences that traverse the themes of her existence. They are themes that resonate. A memorable meal. Great company. An interesting form or shape. A day filled with despair. With death. With hope. A day spent swimming. Eating. Writing. Painting. Family. The themes are woven through the year and they double back on each other, each time being slightly reworked. The works are dainty. Feminine. Composed of cloth and paper, delicate colors, fine maps and the pages of books.
The exhibition opened at the iStore building on 1 Sandton Drive on Thursday, set to become a regular gallery space. (I have long coveted the Angus Taylor “rock” man sculpture lying in the grass in front of the building.) Sue Pam-Grant arrived en familie, with her distinctive shock of red hair and lipstick to match. Charming and witty after getting off a plane from New York.
Pam-Grant’s artworks are the stitch-work of a life and taken together they reveal that as human beings we are different every day, sometimes subtly different, and sometimes dramatically so. They are also testament to the fact that we are able to achieve something new each day. And that I like too.