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Natalie van Wyk Artist
The shadow is me. The distortion and dissolution of my shadow reflects a sense of self that is sometimes precarious and fluid. The boundary of what is me and not me also becomes porous. The shadow denotes presence, but also an absence of presence. My shadow also alludes to an inner journey where my 'shadows' had been hidden and buried. When they came to light, they disrupted and destabilised my sense of self. For me they created a period of intense vulnerability. I used them as bodymaps in my work to reflect what I was experiencing.
Where the land meets the sea
Where the land meets the sea is an edge. A threshold. And as such it is liminal space. The solidity of land meets the softness and fluidity of water. There is an exchange, a meeting, a transformation. The water reflects the sky. There is a mirroring and the world turns to glass. The moon draws the tides. There is an ebb and a flow. Advancement and retreat.
Our stories shape our inner worlds. We build castles and create kingdoms. We find princes and we lose them. We get lost in dark woods and leave crumbs so that one day we may find our way home. We swim icy rivers and get trapped in frozen bays. We stare into deep wells and see the shimmer of lost coins. The dragon lies waiting in her lair. By the light of the moon we seek her out. We wander through desert places and gather ourselves in. The wind and the birds lead us on to the hearth and the warmth and the fire of belonging.
Our sense of identity is a mytho-poetic one. I try to make pictures that come from this place.
Return to the Garden
I''''ve always puzzled over the enigmatic Creation story in Genesis. Why are we the only species who seems to have left the Garden? Then it came to me that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is psychic woundedness. I think that's what William Blake intimated in his 'Songs of Innocence and Experience'. It's what keeps us stuck in dark and lonely places. By healing our wounds, we come back to the Garden. We find our lost innocence. We become the children we once were. Jesus knew this. The wounded child within us hides until she feels safe. Until she trusts us to protect her. Only then will she reveal herself to us. Therein lies our freedom. Therein lies our return to the Kingdom, the Kingdom of heaven, the Kingdom of imagination, the Kingdom of lost innocence, the magical Kingdom we once knew.
In my reading of the Creation Myth, the snake is a symbol of the power of our evolving consciousness and of the deep wisdom of the unconscious mind. This powerful symbol is used throughout the world's mythologies. Our core wounding, it seems to me, is shame. In the Ancient world the snake was also a powerful symbol of Divine Feminine wisdom. By demonising the snake in Genesis, the patriarchy was in essence demonising the power of the Feminine.
Eckhart Tolle reads 'The Fall' as the development of our egoic consciousness. An image of ourselves which is a mental construct. In the Genesis story , shame is implicit in this construct.
Perhaps Paradise Lost is our unconscious yearning to return to the womb.
Considering that the only fruit we were forbidden to eat was that of the knowledge of good and evil, it seems that our judgemental, dualistic mind is what seperates us from Spirit and that our return to the Garden lies in non-dual contemplation.
The world really does offer itself to our imagination. All language is metaphor.
My pictures are drawn from the landscape, but they're also a map of my inner journey. They're how I've healed myself.
To me, the Sacred Feminine is Anima. An archetype and Divine principle. An Energy present and accessible in both men and women.
The shapes of my shadow, photographed on long beach walks, always reminded me of the Paleolithic ''Venus' sculptures. They also reminded me of Ana Mendieta's 'Silueta' series. She said that for her these works were a return to a maternal source. Having been separated from her mother at the age of 12, and I having lost my mother to Cancer at the same age, I immediately felt an emotional connection to her work. I too was seeking a maternal bond that had been severed.
I am drawn to the idea of the Sacred Feminine, Mother Earth, Sophia, Shekinah, Kuan Yin, Holy Mother....... The masculine YAHWEH is too patriachal a God for me.
I think this yearning in me is also cultural. Masculine and Patriarchal principles have dominated this world for far too long. We need a return to the Sacred Feminine, to a soft Lunar light.
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