Artist Anina Deetlefs launched her solo exhibition called Ashay – Exploring the Universal Force and Living Energy, at the Art@Africa Gallery at the Silo District on Thursday September 7.
The exhibition, shown for the first time, is a body of work combining flowers and feminine portraits to create colourful art pieces.
In a statement, Deetlefs says Ashay is a Yoruba and Swahili term which represents the concept if a universal force. It signifies the living energy in all things, both animate and inanimate. “It serves as the connecting thread that binds humanity and the natural world together. This concept is deeply rooted in the belief that every action, thought, and breath is fuelled by Ashay, which is considered vital in the workings of the universe.”
“This body of work revolves around the continuation of energy, of the universe and of earth, and we are a part of that.”
Deetlefs, who is from Durbanville, says art has always been a part of her life. She took art and textile design as school subjects, and studied graphic design at Stellenbosch University.
She has worked in the fashion and interior design industry in South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and when she returned to Cape Town in 2006, decided to pursue fine art.
Recently, she decided to combine her love of portraiture, textile design and patterns into one concept. “That’s when I ended up doing floral portraits and floral figurative with symbolic narratives.”
She said while she can do very realistic portraiture, Ashay is a combination of stylised graphic design, complimented by portraiture and it is a mixed medium.
Deetlefs said during the creative process, she grappled with the idea that nature was female, and that the feminine nature is one of energy, reproduction, blooming and beauty.
“I love painting women.The female energy resonates with me begin a women and painting major. I also always draw my inspiration from nature.”
She added that flowers were used with the models, as flowers are given at the most important milestones that we experience in life.
She said she hoped that when people see her work, it exudes hope, positivity, and the joy she felt while creating these works.
“I wanted to be able to share my joy with others. Life is tough, and my job as an artist is to give a message of hope.
“We are all part of the natural world and we need to love and protect each other.“