In ‘A Thin Line’, South Africa-based artist Lisette Forsyth returns to Namibia, the land of her birth, in a delicate reflection of people and places. Presenting a series of acrylic and ink illustrations on vintage maps currently on display at The Project Room, Forsyth overlays the past with the present with images of local people engaged in everyday waiting, walking, talking and playing, imbuing the upcycled maps with new and contemporary life.
While the exhibition marks Forsyth’s reconnection with Namibia, the selection does feature images of South Africa. In pieces such as ‘Stinkfontein’ and ‘Maltahöhe’, the thin line of the title speaks to the similarities between the two locales. In both, the intensity of the sun has women covering their heads to ward off the heat and an image of a group of youths – one riding a bike and another walking below an umbrella – in South Africa seems similarly interchangeable as a scene familiar to Namibia.
More specific are images of flamingos at Walvis Bay, a tree casting a shadow at Spitzkoppe and the tellingly titled ‘Namibian Stripes’ depicting a herd of zebra.
Speaking to Madeleen Olwage for the exhibition’s online catalogue, Forsyth explains the title.
“The title carries multiple meanings. A thin line on the map indicates a dirt road. A thin line connects me to Namibia. A thin line is the smallest detail. A thin line between genius and sanity, love and hate, life and death,” says Forsyth.
While Forsyth’s images and map canvases are wonderfully wrought, one looks forward to a further exploration of Namibia’s diversity of people and their day-to-day experiences, realities and occupations.
“There is still so much to uncover on this journey,” says Forsyth to Olwage.
And so we wait.
‘A Thin Line’ will be on display at The Project Room until 7 October. Follow The Project Room on social media for more information.
– firstname.lastname@example.org; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com