'Tussen Wal en Schip' (Between Shore and Ship) is a hand-tufted and beaded carpet that depicts the unseen realities of desginer Pascale Therons fellow South Africans. It is a controversial conversation piece highlighting the complex colonial history and ongoing connection between the Netherlands and South Africa that goes unacknowledged, is misunderstood, and is often intentionally forgotten. This project questions personal identity and apprehends racial constructs through the navigation and realisation of an object that honours craft and the people who are challenged by this between-place, somewhere 'Tussen Wal en Schip'.
This project was shaped by a critical awareness of the impact that European colonialism had on shaping South Africa and the identity of contemporary white South Africans. The hand-tufted and beaded carpet on display mirrors by Pascale Theron her own position within the world and is a reaction to her own feelings of not belonging - being lost somewhere ‘Tussen Wal en Schip’ (between shore and ship). It highlights the complex colonial connection and history that too often goes unacknowledged, is misunderstood, and even intentionally forgotten.
The glass seed beads used here are, like her, a product of colonialism. The beads are not, and never have been, made anywhere in Africa. Historically they were brought in from Europe on ships and exchanged for goods. The European countries which make up Theron family’s colonial past are those which historically brought beads to Africa, making the beads as much a part of her own history as the native South Africans who traditionally used them. This carpet therefore becomes a physical cross-over of culture and craft.
This carpet represents the unseen and misunderstood realities of Florah Nleya and her ‘home’, which was first translated into a drawing and then into a hand-tufted and beaded carpet. She finds herself struggling to find ‘home’, being neither comfortable back in South Africa, a tourist in my own country now, and never fitting in in the Netherlands either.
This project attempts to question personal identity and apprehend racial constructs through the navigation and realisation of objects that honour craft and the memory of those challenged by this between place, somewhere 'Tussen Wal en Schip'.
New presentations of mainly young design talent can be seen in the foyer of Het Nieuwe Instituut every few weeks. It is a way of highlighting a striking design or innovative research, whether or not it is connected with the current exhibition and debate programme of Het Nieuwe Instituut.