The farm

Master Thesis

2011

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University of Cape Town

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During the late 1880s Gerhardus Robert Stewart and his wife Alida Johanna Maria Stewart, second generation settlers from the Great Trek, bought a 250-hectare farm 20 kilometres southwest of Pretoria. During the next 100 years the farm became a working farm, and supported a chalk quarry. The family grew and flourished and the land was passed down from generation to generation. ... This MFA project has been my attempt to represent this land and the meaning it holds and once held for my mother, her parents and grandparents. My strategy has been to act as curator, assembling 'the archive' the farm represents, and then finding a way of ordering the meaning that has flowed therefrom. In doing this I have had to, and wanted to, confront both an irrepressible attachment to an ancestral home and the ways in which land itself can appear changed, not by any physical alteration, but by the events that occur on it. In creating this project, I have attempted to resolve an irresolvable paradox – how to represent the past before the present.That this has proved, in this case in particular, to be impossible, has not rendered the attempt meaningless. Indeed, I believe and hope, it will raise in the viewer's mind the question of just how much we are able to see of what is before us that we do not already know, and how much the present can change the past.
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Includes bibliographical refences (p. 90-91).

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