Jeannette Unite. MINING THE ARTIST’S PAINTBOX (1992 – onwards). Segment of personalised periodic table of elements collected from the artist’s travels.
Jeannette Unite has focused on Africa’s rich and contentious mineral histories and the ways humans exploit Earth, since living on Africa’s west coast alluvial diamond mines in the 1990s. Her artistic, archival, and on-the-ground research addresses the question of why Earth matters and the relationship humans have with minerals and Earth historically. This has resulted in a highly personalised body of work, of which her bar-code geo-seam mineral paintings will be installed as a continuous lode at the LAND/MINE exhibition.
The material qualities of her works are themselves extraordinary: the artist recycles detritus leftover from industrial sites as the colour and pigment in her drawings and paintings. She also collaborates with geo-chemists, painting chemists, and a ceramicist to develop her own paint and pastel recipes. Her palette, organised in a unique periodic table, consists of jars filled with mined matter; both the precious ores used in the industry and that of slimes dams and tailing dumps she has collected from travels to remote extraction areas in 32 countries. Unite’s direct use of mined matter underpins her research-based practice which dwells on the ongoing role of mining in (re)producing colonial power relations.
Dates: 12 October – 12 November 2021
Location: Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, UFS
Due to Covid-19, access to Bloemfontein campus is restricted to permit holders.
Gallery times: 9:00 – 16:00