Claudette
Schreuders

Claudette Schreuders creates carved and painted wooden figures that reflect the ambiguities of the search for an 'African' identity in the post-apartheid 21st century. The domain of woodcarving is a contested one for a young, white, Afrikaans woman, but the subtractive process of carving offers a certain lack of control that she enjoys.Claudette Schreuders sculptures demonstrate a hybrid canon influenced by the blolo and colon figures of West Africa, as well as other stylistic input from medieval church sculpture, Spanish portraiture and Egyptian woodcarving. Their stocky bodies, solid stance and staring eyes 'own' space in a very particular way, partly indebted to the shape of the block of wood from which they emerge. Narrative and story telling are fundamental to the reading of her figures, which is why Claudette Schreuders opts to show small bodies of work as sculptural installations, after which the figures are available to be bought individually.

Schreuders' sculptures are essentially modern deities for modern problems, taking with them the blolo figures' potential to 'cure', as well as engaging with issues around foreignness and hostility and the means we use to create a space for ourselves in a perceived 'alien' environment.

Schreuders' work often follows the theme of making public that which is private or simply telling stories that have their origins in personal experience. It is this simple honest approach to herself, her world and her work which makes Schreuders' work so moving and appealing. Schreuders is able to make something universal out of the seemingly trivial and personal. Her honesty and sense of humour are evident in the work.

Claudette Schreuders describes herself as something of a perfectionist, working slowly and indulging in her labour-intensive process, which she sees is quite revelatory in terms of understanding one's intentions and desires. "I start off by making thumbnail sketches, very loose simple drawings of what I want to make. And I usually draw my sculptures in groups. Or on small pieces of paper, or in my books. The drawings I do for my sculptures are very informal. And the prints I do are much more finished products. My first series of etchings was a record of some of my favourite existing sculpture. And after that I decided what I would like to do is to keep a record of my own work seeing as it's something that leaves me.

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