Promise Land is the title of the first solo exhibition of the work of artist and sculptor Stuart Bird, taking place at Goodman Gallery in Cape Town.
Exploring the position of the artist and individual in contemporary South Africa, Bird presents a selection of meticulously hand-crafted sculptures and exhibitions.
The “Promise Land” of the exhibition title refers to South Africa as a space that is simultaneously dynamic and somewhat dangerous and fraught. On a more abstract level, Promise Land refers to the promised land of Canaan in the Hebrew bible as a place of mythical abundance that was never quite realised.
Over the Rainbow, one of the features in Promise Land, is a glittering arch made with shards of mirror, working as a reminder that the "Promise Land" will remain a fantasy that can be visited but never inhabited.
Change is a floor sculpture that spells the word “struggle” with hand-carved African mahogany and embedded coins, working as a metaphor for an economic struggle. Chip Off the Old Block is a noose carved out of Imbuia and suspended from the ceiling, with a pile of chips underneath as a memory or reminder of the original raw material.
With Blood Knot, Bird uses the metaphor of a climbing knot to look at the forces that bind South Africans historically, while also causing tension in the present.
Promise Land is on show until 25 February 2012.