Totems point way in ‘Journeys’

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TRAVEL TIME: This installation by Andrieta Wentzel is central to an exhibition at the art museum in Port Elizabeth

AN award-winning installation titled Aspects of the Dark Other, by Port Elizabeth sculptor Andrieta Wentzel, forms the centre of a new exhibition that opened at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum earlier this month.

Wentzel’s 2006 work invites viewers to walk through a maze of wooden totems, each representing one of the 12 tasks of Hercules that were carried out by the Greek hero to atone for the slaying of his family.

The installation is the centrepiece of an exhibition titled Journeys, which features selected work from the art museum’s permanent collection.

Also on view are paintings, prints and watercolours that explore the theme from a multitude of perspectives. For instance, Thomas Baines’s oil paintings of ships off the coast of Southern Africa illustrate 19th-century journeys of exploration, while paintings by Cleone Cull and J A Opperman invite a voyage into the metaphysical and explore how a journey can also take place purely in the imagination.

Fred Page’s melancholic acrylic of a train station is another standout work, while earth-art specialist Georgia Papageorge’s large multimedia canvas is a record of her travels from South Africa to South America during in which she carried a giant ribbon to connect the two continents as a reminder they were once part of a single continent.

Journeys may be viewed until June 15.

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