Artists look at pandemic through GBV lens

The Genesis: life/death/ life/force is a collaborative body of photographic work between Green Point resident Rochelle Nembhard and Gemma Shepherd, from Newlands, started in 2020 at the beginning of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

It is part of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair which takes place this week.

Gemma Shepherd and Rochelle Nembhard, the creators of Genesis: life/death/ life/force.

It’s a take on the pandemic with a focus on gender-based violence.

“We came together to create a collaborative, feminine approach. Looking at the chaos that was happening around the world, this work became an opportunity for us to come together, to hold on to one another to become stable but also look at and heal what was happening with gender-based violence. It was a chance to heal the traumas of gender -based violence,” said Ms Nembhard.

Creating the work took the artists throughout South Africa to the the ancient stone circles in Nelspruit, the Drakensberg mountains, and the cradle of Humankind as they linked feminism with the imagery and symbolism of rocks.

“Art became a critical healing tool during this pandemic and we wanted to create something of meaning and speak to what was happening on individual and collective levels.

“So, Genesis is about honouring the relationship between women and rocks and honouring the sacredness of the feminine. The earth has been completely abused and raped and so have women and the relationship looks at how rocks are a strong element and women are always the bedrock in society and yet they are the most abused.”

The ninth Investec Cape Town Art Fair will run from Friday to Sunday February 18 to 20 at the Cape Town International Conference Centre from 11am to 7pm daily.

Bound (2021) by Rochelle Nembhard and Gemma Shepherd.