Out of Africa

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Out of Africa
Dale Copeland, 2020
assemblage of found objects
80 cm tall
I found this hand-made wooden object in the local Hospice shop. An African figure holding a crudely cut rack for CDs. I was going to use it to hold CDs in my studio, but some slots weren't wide enough, and it seemed to be too good to be no more than half useful.
The ancient and distraught face deserved more.

So, what to put in the two vertical spaces? The next day, a friend brought a box holding about a hundred of those tiny pink dolls: - the question was answered. I wanted to show two columns of babies, for the billions of the world's population.
How to support them, hold them, show them?
I wanted a contrast to the close-to-the-earth ancestor of us all, so it needed shiny glass, gold foil, all the superficial wealth.

Glass cylinders? I looked in my collection - if you've got enough stuff then you'll usually have the right stuff. I'd had these tubes for years, not knowing what they were for - now I know they were made as rolling pins that you fill with iced water for rolling scone dough or pastry.

That's another nice touch to the meaning - we've come a long way from scratching a living from the soil when we can ice our rolling pins.

The wooden holders with steel bars at the bottom? I haven't a clue what they were for, but they've been lurking in my studio for years. It took some careful and thorough woodwork to fix it all safely in place.
The ancestor of all of us. All the pink little plastic baby dolls.

Is this typical of our lives now, owning so many things, and being so far removed from the basic problem of survival.

Dale's studio can be found at Puniho,
Surf Highway, Coastal Taranaki, New Zealand

More of her artwork, and the books she makes, can be found on her site at dalecopeland.co.nz.

email Dale at dale@tart.co.nz

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