Claudette Schreuders creates carved and painted wooden figures that reflect the ambiguities of the search for an 'African' identity in the post-apartheid 21st century. The domain of woodcarving is a contested one for a white, Afrikaans woman, and the subtractive process of carving offers a certain lack of control that she enjoys. Schreuders' sculptures demonstrate a convergence of African and European influences from the blolo and colon figures of West Africa to medieval church sculpture, Spanish portraiture and Egyptian woodcarving. Their stocky bodies, solid stance and staring eyes 'own' space in a very particular way, partly indebted to the shape of the block of wood from which they emerge. Narrative and storytelling are fundamental to the reading of her figures, which is why Claudette Schreuders opts to show small bodies of work as sculptural installations, after which the figures are available to be bought individually.
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