Joanne Bloch

Necklace for Tara (1100 cm length of beads)

Necklace for Tara (1100 cm length of beads)

Artist's Statement

On 28 March 2009, Brenton Maart and I were hijacked at gunpoint, driven for half an hour out of Durban, robbed and dumped in the veld near Lamontville. I had only arrived there a few hours earlier, and all my luggage was stolen, along with Brenton’s car, our personal effects, our bankcards and subsequently several thousand rand from his account. Not surprisingly, nothing was recovered, and our terrifying ordeal simply became a statistic, along with many thousands of others. The work itemises everything that I lost that night, including the more pervasive, but less obvious, emotional losses. Referencing ritual prayer beads used in Buddhism and other spiritual traditions, it is designed to be not only read, but also touched. The necklace is imagined as an offering to Tara, the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion, whose mantra is said in times of fear. At the same time it is intended both as a memorial to that which is irretrievably lost and as an emblem of survival, renewal and the resolve to carry on.

Artist's Biography

Born: Port Elizabeth, 1961. Lives and works in Cape Town. Received her MFA (with distinction) from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Major exhibitions: KZNSA Gallery, Durban; Goodman Gallery, Cape Town; Johannesburg Art Gallery. Awards and scholarships: Kempton Park / Tembisa Fine Arts Award Competition (first prize), NAF, Grahamstown.