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Ansisters Event August 2005


Detail from the performance 'Patterns Outside My Head' by Janine Lewis, Rantebeng Makapan and Bonisile Nxumalo. As part of the FACE Ansisters 2005 event, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.

Copyright © FACE 2005.
All rights reserved.

studio : participants : ronéll meijerink

endless circle heritage
bowl ritual
paper dolls



Ronéll Meijerink

(subject line: attention Ronéll)
4131 529


bowl ribbon

Bowl ritual, Ronéll Meijerink

wedding dress

Wedding dress, Ronéll Meijerink.

paper doll
Paper Doll, Ronell Meijerink




As I started doing research into my heritage, I realised the following things: a) I know very little about my ancestry, even my immediate one, and b) there is no coherence in any of the photographs my mother has of the different family members, all photo’s are kept in big envelopes and are only partially divided into groups or categories.

These things made me realise again what I had known for a long time: our family is definitely not close-knit, we only interact because we know that we are, in fact, a family.

What definitely seems to be a shared trait, is certain characteristics. Throughout the past few generations, this family has suffered from emotional ailments such as acute depression, feelings of unworthiness and having compulsive disorders like chain-smoking, over-eating or alcoholism. I sometimes feel “trapped” by these characteristics; it seems they come back to haunt you time and time again, in an endless circle of the heritage that you carry within you.



For my bowl ritual I chose two bowls at random, just like the random organisation of the photo’s in my mother’s envelopes. I chose two pottery bowls because the clay reminded me of the fragility of being human. The first bowl I smashed without even decorating it: maybe I was trying to express that as a family these “traits” catch up with us before we even have a chance to hide behind anything that will mask/protect us. I then chose three of the shards: one for my maternal grandmother, one for my mother and one for me; which I then decorated accordingly. The second bowl was decorated with text and colour, the text describing some of the things I can generally/randomly say about my mother and deceased grandmother. The lace I used connects with my other works for this exhibition, and lace reminds me somehow of femininity and the past.



I have made three “paper dolls”; two of my grandmother and one of my mother, which I will enlarge to life-size, making cut-outs (like those you see at the movies).

I have made doll-size wedding dresses (which represent my mother and me), which I “decorate” and “invade” to demonstrate how we are physically and emotionally changed by our above “traits”. Each dress will also have a “veil” hanging over it, embroidered/decorated with text (my poetry).

The text from the one veil will be used for a simple stop-motion animation, called “Laments of a housewife”, which will be projected onto another surface.


stitched poetry
wedding dress detail

Posted 30 June 2005,, author: Ronéll Meijerink.