Historical Art
by Yonita Fairfax

Art Book

- Fallen Plantagenet Icon.

This will be a catalogue based on an exhibition of my own work whilst at Unisa. By naming my catalogue " the Transfiguration of Sacrifice-Fallen Plantagenet Icon " I want to show that I have examined sacrifice and travelled from my family Plantagenet roots, and their colonial affiliations. I have been led to a fresh awareness by the holistic environment currently created in South Africa, and its new post-modern society. My research will show that this icon, the Plantagenet Dynasty on whose ideas England was built which translated into Empire for whom, sons were sacrificed, both in exploration and distant wars, has now become " fallen " : because of a world change in consciousness

I shall examine concept in an art context with reference to form and content, and also wish to explore the extent to which an artists " work is a psychological reflection of self and experiences undergone in life."
The hypothesis I wish to examine in particular is that of the transformational power of energy. This concept has led me, and enabled me to work with a transformation of imagery, from that of a fossilized found object, a bone, to that of a symbolic rose. Not only is the rose an ancient Persian symbol of continuous revival but I have used it as a metaphor for my Plantagenet heritage.

I shall also examine deconstruction of power and kingship and hence thr rise of democracy.
There is relevant literature to show, as modern physics tells us, that all energy fields are interlinked, and that in order to grow and create, we need to make a shift from the outside world to the world inside us. "My work is looking at the world via symbols from a female more organic perspective rather than from a sacred geometric viewpoint, which according to Spinoza holds the most perfect method of accessing sacred truth. (1) "My personal journey of visual images has ranged from pollution and industrial waste to anthropological and botanical images which have echoed my personal quest and growth. When there is a lack of internal evolution we may become "skin encapsulated egos " instead of seeing the world as a holistic interlinked system in which we can make a difference. This is in line with the concept of Ubuntu; we do not exist except when reflected back in the eyes of another.
This cycle is not achieved without sacrifice.
I propose that this exhibition catalogue will be in two parts, one dealing with contemporary art issues that are addressed by the works, and the other part illustrated, with descriptions as to the reasons for the choice of images.Before the final format is established other catalogue presentations will be reviewed as part of the research strategy. (2)
Even though I will only be arranging the catalogue, I am aware that as curator for any exhibition close links would have to be established with the chosen gallery and various financial issues dealt with .(3)

The reason for wishing to make a catalogue of my own work to date is that I feel I have not fully exposed the methodology and contemporary issues behind my imagery - or family issues. " Since I wish to continue to work , I therefore need to finish the Catalogue without further delay in order to move on. Whilst doing my practical work at Unisa although my first choice would have been painting, due to shortage of time, I was unable to persue this medium. I therefore joined Phillipa Hobbs " printmaking studio during my fourth year, where I worked on colour reductive woodcuts on Japanese rice paper. I was the only student working in the medium. I also used photography and made various mixed media works. But I have not given up the idea of using my painting skills in the future to express myself; in effect whilst in London in the early nineties (3) I joined a painting group at the Victoria and Albert Museum which looked at Islamic Art. I have now joined a painting group at the Cape Town National Gallery.
I also took two modules of a course called "Bridging Polarities in Art "run by Tutors who came out specifically from the Netherlands . I am also following an " Introduction course to Art Therapy "and would have continued with Art therapy, but the Tutors decided not to continue to come to South Africa so I was unable to carry on further than the first section. However during the following five years after obtaining my Degree (BA)(FA) I became qualified in alternative healing methodologies and became a qualified Kinesiologist practising in Cape Town.

In order to research my article which is to do with identity, in particular my own first in a new country and then in a new environment, Cape Town, I shall have to examine my work at Unisa which I started whilst married and living on a farm in the Lowveld countryside. I finished my Degre once divorced and living in a flat in Johannesburg.
There was not only a change in venue, but also a very distinct change in status as a woman, which was keenly felt, and took many years to overcome.
In discussing my work I shall choose work which has addressed the theme of transformation and sacrifice along the journey of life.

Iconological introduction of images will be referred to, such as:
-that of water, which appears to stem from an early drowning/ rescue by floating ( hence air and floating imagery)and many trips to the early morning sunrises in Mozambique ;
other work which involves the use of metal such as pylons denoting man's power. In South Africa this involves the sacrifice of virgin land.
Fire denotes the sacrifice of woman as Venus; for example as in the heresy confessions, and cathar burnings referring to the Albegenisian Crusade shown through paintings of the Rose which involve its significance in family history; in church rituals and windows; the transformation of the bone to rose;
-3D works with old photographs involved the family sacrifices of war;
-works involving the earth, trees and the thorn from the Karoo, 'KAROO THORN'

Through the use of printmaking and mixed media, I was able to have an open ended approach, one work leading into another, sometimes with a change of direction with another work proceeding out of that. "This involved layering and fragmentation, into which mixed media lends itself , thereby through juxtaposition often reflecting the multi layered character of heritage and kingship. " Hence I therefore needed to travel to the core of inner meaning and re-create the journey of self, which has to do with sacrifice and loss.
I think that my Unisa work has been transformational self healing; the process led to a creative unfolding, to putting back, or channeling my energy into my core self. I can see that it has taken me on a spiritual path as I was unable to connect to South Africa via politics, but achieved this through anthropological and botanical references.

My journey, my quest has been one of not only reading. But it is in the act of reading, which tended to be philosophical, that I make the visual connections in my work. Hence I have a large volume of notes which need to be edited.
Ideas come to me this way and not by looking at other artists ' work, although I enjoy the large retrospective exhibitions of classical art that I have seen in London and Paris.
I have read most of the University recommended books and many of the additional works. An illustration of this is the following quote, "context penetrates purpose "from Danto.(Danto 1981: 44)(5) Hence to recover the creative act, I shall have to re-access my notes and the books from which they were taken ( which might take some time).
Here is a list of works which will be discussed, with relevance to the quote,

In a similar way my Mammouth bone is shown:
over water and steps 'WARWICK' with an emphasis downwards and a funnel stem 'FLINT Exit the colonials ',
with a wheat stem giving equal emphasis to a separate Rose 'WAR OF THE ROSES' ,
amongst the rushes in 'PYRAMIDS';
over lichen in 'AFTERWARDS'
in a forest in 'MONKEY';
over the industrial light support in 'RISING ALONE';
as a Point of Departure in 'P.O.D';
over the pod in 'STUDY ' 'REVEALING and CONCEALING'; and study for "RISING OUT';
with a three fold representation over water and a distinct blank and white panel beginning the transformation to an IRIS, but the iris has no personal family connections so although part of a transformation this continued until it became a Rose in 'RISING OUT '. The steps denote part of the transformational process as in the woodcut 'LIGHT '.

Many of the works have visually incorporated one or more of the five elements of water, air, fire, wood, earth often with medeaval references and gothic architectural motifs. The theme of sacrifice and loss is reflected here with reference to earth/growth. The Rose symbolizes sacrifice and loss, but more specifically, the medeaval red rose symbolizes my Plantagenet Heritage loss via the Lancastrian victory. The bone to Rose transformation symbolizes the process of growth, and my spiritual growth into acceptance of my heritage, both Fairfax and Plantagenet, previously denied. It is shown visually in various different contexts which gives it different meanings. The bone/Rose transformation takes place in 'RISING OUT ' where the Rose has become White, the symbol of the House of York. 'Warwick Castle' 235x 300 mm. Bone is both submerged by water from the Mixed media on handmade paper moat which floats over it and also emerges with aquatint etching over the steps. This reference comes from my sleeping under the stairs during WWII and playing in bombed houses where only the staircase survived. The floating water from the moat introduces the iconological reference to water and floating. This also refers to a near drowning aged four, when I was saved by floating. The collage super Imposition refers to the layering of histor- ical meaning. The castle belonged to the 'Kingmaker' Richard Earl of Warwick, who helped put Edward IV on the throne and then decided to remove him thereby helping create the beginning and continuation of the War of the Roses, the transformation of Chivalry into Revenge.He was the father -in -law to Prince George Duke of Clarence, our ancestor who took his side in 70 and was beheaded by his brother for his loyalty.Although he did go back to the family fold he was hated by Elizabeth Wydvill Edward's wife as a result, and also is said to have passed on roumours of Edward's illegitimacy and hence the illegitimacy of his sons. They later became what is erroneously called 'the Princes in the Tower'. See Juggler at 'Warwick Castle' Photograph 1993. Kingship references are intermingled with African found objects. Richard of Warwick known as "WARWICK" was at one time the most influential man in England. His ambition was to marry both his daughters into the Royal family which he did. Isobel or Isabel married George on 11 July 1469 and had two children, Prince Edward Earl of Warwick who was executed by Henry VII and Princess Margaret, Countess of Salisbury executed in May And Anne married Richard,who became King Richard III. See 'Moat' Photograph 1993 FLINT 445x 330m. 'Flint' is the name of my third son who Exit the Colonials needed strength and endurance because 1994 raised image he had two older brothers. It is the Mixed media. Stone with multilayered proerties. In 1960 the sea floor theory of its origin therefore identity was revivded over the percolating rain-water theory.

(1) Spinoza said that geometry was the most perfect moral demonstration of eternal truth ( Kuspit 1992: 44)
(2) It might occur that once grouping the images as to theme that a different format will be revealed.
(3) The costs involved would include insurance in transit, and transport; the costs of the exhibition, invitations, and didactic material; the costs of the catalogue, illustrations, and printing; and any arrangements for keeping prints at an even temperature.
(4) In 1996, I was forced to go to London for family reasons, and owing to the restrictions, I was only able to take one History of Art exam from there.
(5) Danto talks of Christ's arm raised in different ways as denoting that context penetrates purpose. He refers in his book to Giotto's work in the Arena Chapel, in Padua. He uses the raised arm as an example.In the one scene it is shown thus... in another scene thus... another thus...a different kind of action is performed by means of it from scene to scene, and we must read the identity of the action from the context of its execution'. (Danto 1981)

Page 1. Title
Proposal for Catalogue 'THE TRANSFIGURATION of SACRIFICE- FALLEN PLANTAGENET ICON ' Explanation of Plantagenet Roots. Start outline of research premise,
central argument: 'we must read the Identity of the symbol from the context of its action' Danto (1982:44) Rose as symbol of continuous revival and Plantagenet heritage.

Page 2 Cont. of outline of premise Reference to relevant literature Shift from outside world to inside world Personal quest and growth Research strategy for catalogue Page 3 Financial issues. Following pages, 'Guns and Roses' Oil paintings introducing the medeaval rose. 'Wars of the roses', 'Pyramids'. Conclusion.

LIST of WORK to be submitted,
'Warwick Castle' 235x300mm Mixed media 1994
'Revealing and Concealing'Woodcut on Japanese Rice Paper in Colour
'Flint' 445x 330 Mixed media 1994 rose petals
' Beheaded' Actual bone
'Pyramids' Electrostatic Print Cutting wood
' Dare I scream' and 'Dare Ice Cream''Transformation of woman
'Hundreth Monkey' Collaged
'The Grand old Duke of York', Myth of Sisyphus
'This is not a Dutch Iris' 1994 Mixed Media Print graphite watercolour Computer work
'Multiple Pod' Introduction of Pain. Japanese rice paper
'Afterwards' 415x290 Colour etching on hand Made paper
'Rising alone' Environment Mixed media
'Karoo Thorn'Transformation of Bracelet into predator.
'P.O.D'. 340x350mm Aquatint on handmade Paper
'Guns and Roses' series of Paintings
'Study for Revealing And Concealing '
'Study for Rising out
Graphite studies'
Varied Photographs.
Genelogical information.

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family photos momentoes collage family family