Within my practical body of work I attempt to present the viewer with a glimpse into my personal memories and experiences living in South Africa at various stages of my life.
Through photographic references, as well as signs, symbols, and fragments from my distant and immediate past, I use color, text, and image in an attempt to evoke and illustrate specific moods and experiences. My prints are usually executed in an intuitive manner, but at the same time I also use a number of source materials that are collected and manipulated via computer at various stages of conceptualization.
Outlet, the image I created for the exhibition Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, is an impassioned outcry, a scream to release from my physical being the negativity I constantly experience as a Black female living in “post-apartheid” South Africa. This scream also represents the frustration, anger and fear faced by so many female South Africans navigating within an environment that is increasingly hostile towards our gender.
I continue to create art that addresses this inequality and injustice and am currently working on a number of works that deal with the manipulation and abuse of girl children in South African society. Below are some untitled sketches/collages that are a mix of found images (photocopies, magazine images, and hand coloring with gouache)—created during an amazing 2011 workshop by Kai Lossgott called In Focus: Concept Development for Visual Artists—that speak to these issues.
Scroll down to view a selection of Ernestine White’s work.