Tanisha Bhana Immaculate Union | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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Immaculate Union

Immaculate Union ©

My body
Conduit between steel sheets
I lower my gaze to the immaculate union
The seeds of life
And holder of sustenance,
The weapon of control, the item of possession
The rhythm of life in frozen display.

In the ballet of conception,
Masquerade of sin, in division and unison
Paradise and Hell recite the serene;
Born of woman, blood of man
My sword ascends to a timeless waltz.

Wrapped in gates of crimson hue
Night cascades, and clouds submerge
I lower my eyes,
And pretend the pulse of milk in empty veins
Carry a gentle moment’s embrace.


Though we walk side by side in union and with desire for each other, the seemingly ceaseless violence and inequity between the sexes is a source of pain for many, albeit in a constitutionally protected democracy such as South Africa.

Admired and loathed at the same time, we seem to carry a dichotomous sense of shame and power towards our bodies and often cannot escape the gender specific roles that we are born into.

Evoking an ambiguous passion and fear, love and loathing, to the human form, this series of works contemplates the gender specific roles of the human character and questions the real persona under the subdued skin.

In a country seemingly governed by the rule of law, the prevalence of rape and violent crime appears to indicate an underlying psychological source to be investigated.

This series of works questions the consumable nature of the relationships that we share, reduced to gender specific roles and body parts, similar to mechanical instruments behaving appropriately for particular purposes.

From the moment of birth, our relationships to friends, family and the opposite or same sex, and later colleagues and business associates, influences how we define or practice our identity, leaving one vulnerable to the instruments of societal fears and inhibited from natural desires. Further influence from institutions of cultural, religious and marital significance, there to protect and socialise, often battle to balance the needs of the individual with the current requirements of the collective.

Detached from one’s natural instinctive nature, and fearing social judgement, we sometimes learn to act without empathy and understanding for each other, potentially dehumanising our experience of the opposite sex.

Disconnected and detached individuals may be the cause of an inordinate level of cruel and degrading behaviour even within apparently free societies.

Even our choice of clothing sometimes appears impractical irrespective of race, religion or cultural background, often overly exposing the body for marketing purposes or the acceptance and attention of the opposite sex, and equally often covering up for protection and fear of threat of sexual assault by the opposite sex.

From the perspective of a South Africa woman, taking the viewer to the aftermath of consumed and discarded other-worldly places, as a metaphor for the psyche clouded by the daily human mask, I attempt to combine the external and internal environments of the individual.

Based on the premise that respect and dignity stems from the freedom to explore and express an identity without reprisal, ostracism or exclusion from community, family or nation, my work aims to evoke an instinctive response to the female form.


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