Rupture at 1:54 CAAF, London

October 04, 2018 - October 07, 2018

Somerset House, London

Emma Willemse 


Special Project at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Somerset House, London


Supported by Nando’s

Rupture on the 1:54 website


Artist Statement


noun: the state of being broken


In my continued investigation into the aftermath of the loss of a home, I am interested in how the boat, as a means of displacement, can be a metaphor for this traumatic experience. The works in Rupture refer to the boat in various ways.


The text and visuals in the series of collagraph prints, hand coloured with pigments from Marocco, suggest a narrative of circular complicity in the displacement construct; while, in the suspended installation Suture, there is evidence of failed attempts to stitch the torn fabric covering the boat skeleton together again, as if suturing a wound. This is in vain: the boat is rendered impotent through its brokenness. 


The installation Boat Books is part of a project to construct 101 hand-made artist’s books which took five years to complete. In this series, called 101ways to long for a home, the cover pages are all constructed from wooden parquet floor blocks uprooted from homes in Woodstock, Cape Town. The floor blocks are direct references to the countless floors of many homes that do not exist anymore. 


I consider the works in Rupture as texts that (partially) excavate the indelible wounds left on the psyche of the displaced.


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