Following Lady Skollie’s successful solo exhibition at this year’s FNB JHB Art Fair, The Wire joined forces with the artist herself to show the creative industry why a Fire with Fire studio party was probably the best idea ever and Lady Skollie is a genius.
Words: Nadine Oosthuizen
Everything about the night was a departure from the norm. First off, it was not the official after party of the art fair, but officially the after party of the year. Bold statement yes, but Lady Skollie is bold is she not?
What can’t be underestimated is the human ability to love a spit braai, which was the very thing that kicked the night off (!) along with a harvest table for the vegan ones to feast on.
There was no barman, which I quickly learned is highly overrated and well worth not having at your event as I made myself a(nother) vodka martini from the endless supply of Absolut Vodka. (Suffice to say, I was also drinking vodka straight up at some point, but that is totally besides the point.)
While every party requires a DJ, this one had Asher Daniel and those who know Asher will know that the dance floor was the party. (This picture is worth a thousand words)
Who else were there? My favorite question off all time.
The Wire’s favourite couple Hussain van Roos and Nandi Dlepu, the queen of quirk DJ Doowap, London-based power stylist and photographer Kirstin Lee Moolman and Ib Kamara, Cloche milliner Chanelle Vlok, designer Cleo Droomer, and the Marianne Fassler design crew including Lezanne Viviers and Daysie Jo Grobler and the list goes on and on.
Genuine nice-to-meet-you’s were exchanged, strangers hugged, people shared stories. We had a blast.
Photographer: Jéad Klassen Stehr @mistehrjead
But let’s not forget the real celebration, a successful show. We sat with Lady Skollie earlier that morning.
Talk us through Fire with Fire
Fire with Fire is my second solo, and it’s also the first time I’m showing work of this scale in South Africa. London got it in all it’s glory, so I’m very excited for my home country to experience it in the same way. I feel like it is very all- encompassing and there are a lot of biblical elements in the work. It’s only because it has a scribe like feeling in terms of catharsis and destruction (that can be found within catharsis), it’s simply just about the fact that sometimes you need to destroy everything before you can rebuild.
From where the inspiration for the exhibition?
Something I surveyed is that a lot of “bad” things within South Africa, have a very commemorative feel. Every time we hear about a victim we have to take a moment of silence and we have to light a candle and we have to do all these things to remind ourselves of all the violence?!
“The show to me, is more about wondering whether we could destroy everything so that we could start over again. I’m exploring the question whether there is healing in destroying it rather. Because at the moment I don’t feel like there is a lot of healing within reminding ourselves the whole time”
Does the colour and texture elements follow this theme?
Yes, the work is very scribble-like, it’s very bright, like as all my other work, it’s also very child-like, because I find that juxtaposition very interesting. It’s cave-drawing elements because it has the feeling of being scratched out onto a wall or a cave and that’s where I think I’m trying to bring a lot of identity politics into it.
Does the primitive elements in your work have anything to do with starting from the very beginning?
Yes, that and the idea of having to say a little to say a lot. It simple semiotics. The work might look overwhelming, but once you sit down with it you realise it’s actually very basic in what it is trying to convey.
It’s also a lot about women banding together. “Whether healing can happen through revenge, and whether we can unity through revenge” if you will.
I often feel like anger can often motivate you way more than anything else can.
And from that the Fire with Fire theme?
So you’re asking yourself all these questions, but the work doesn’t necessarily answer the questions?
It’s experimenting with a cure. It’s trying to offer a cure. I always say I wish there was just a Noah’s Arc, I feel like we should just leave everything behind. Even that isn’t realistic, but I find it even less realistic to be so sad about it. To take this victim thing seriously, that’s how we are conditioned to think, we don’t always have the luxury of thinking in other ways here [in SA] because it’s such a violent space.
We have to shift our way of thinking.
How many works in total?
Ten, five large scale and then five small, with the idea to sell, staying on the same price point as London.