Woman Series "Untitled". Media: charcoal and resin. Size: 150cm x 190cm. 1993
The Woman of Worth “multiple” consists of twelve panels, using charcoal, resin and Rooibos tea on paper. The work explores the last verse in Proverbs in the Old Testament where a husband praises his wife for her accomplishments in business and the home, calling her a ‘Woman of Worth’. This prayer is recited on the Friday Sabbath night, in observant Jewish homes. For many it is a somewhat controversial passage, which is prescriptive of what woman can or cannot do.
Rooibos tea was used by the San people over four hundred years ago and is a typically South African product. It is a ‘health’ tea yet has interesting connotations in that it was often a cheap alternative given to prisoners. At the same time tea has domestic associations.
Many African woman in the 1900’s were left behind to raise their families whilst their husbands went off to work in the mines. These women struggled alone in often desolate rural areas to support their families. The men shared living quarters in ‘men’s only’ hostels under the most appalling conditions and were seldom able to support their families from afar. This breakup or the family unit had dire, far-reaching consequences that still reflect in society today. “Turning away“ is one of several paintings addressing the rejection of prescriptive or negative attitudes towards women.