In the worx
Skorrplap is a South African word whose origins I imagine (as an amateur linguist and actual multilinguist) are 'skuur lap', Afrikaans for 'scouring cloth'. Its contemporary usage is across all our local Bantu languages, and is quotidian. The skorrplap is the ubiquitous bête noir of the black household, which is what makes it iconic. In this chapbook, I examine it and compare it to its pristine counterpart, the fatuku originally vaat doek (the surface, kitchen cloth) and invite the audience to interact with the imagery through a quiz, to distinguish the skorrplap from other mistakable cloths like the waslap (the washing rag), by looking at its context.
I thank the original compiler and illustrator of this cultural iceberg for structuring what I already knew but need reminding of. Many of the elements below the surface, I could not attribute to a cause, in instances where I would perceive a culture gap, but this diagram has furnished me with vocabulary. My chapbook will look at concepts of cleanliness and rules of conduct, splicing them with my own experiences living with a partner of a different culture. It is my partner in fact who came up with the génial anecdote "Once a skorrplap always a skorrplap'', signalling his understanding of this cultural object and spurring me to let humour lead this long-legged topic.
Commenced Feb 2022, project in progress.
Attention designers and book formatters who would like to collaborate on this, I am very open to fun ways of executing it.
I left Myanmar at the end of April 2021, after having lived there for more than 6 years, because of the military coup. My happy, immersed life in Myanmar allowed for my gaze, unrushed, to fall and settle. This made for some of my finest work to emerge. Not only do I want to showcase my honest and distinct visual delivery with this book, but I want to show the many fascinating ways Myanmar can be, depending on how you look. I suppose this can be said for any place but I was and still am emotionally invested. My once gaping emotional wound is scarring over and closing up, from the comfort of my temporary resettlement in breezy, unthreatening Chiang Mai. The people of Myanmar however, weather fresh physical and psychological injury and affliction, with death befalling some directly because of war.
I am looking for a publisher for my book. In addition, I am looking for someone to contribute a meaningful foreword.
In the book I would like to comment, with a degree of irony, on the defunct notion of national character with regards to the aesthetic composition of the pictured environment; as well as to examine the style of my photography: is it vernacular or art or both? Somehow Myanmar feels like a fiction, and the heartwarming, offbeat quality I loved about it and that I captured in my photos translates now as eerie and sad. It's as though, through framing, I made up the world in which the pictures were taken.
I would like to invite academics who would like to partake in this book, as well as an editor who can bring coherence to my ideas.
Below is a sample of the imagery:
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