One Brick at a Time: Bronwyn Katz

Another Bag Factory Artist who is dealing with women’s issues, is Bronwyn Katz (24). Like Dhlomo-Mautloa, she is growing in confidence through character building life experiences, navigating her role as an artist. She is currently working under the Bag Factory Studios’ 2017 Funded Studio Programme.

Born in Kimberley, in South Africa’s Northern Cape province in 1993, Katz has a deliberate and playful approach to her process. She graduated with a BAFA in 2015 from the University of Cape Town. Her work ranges from sculpture and installation to video and performance.

When you enter her Bag Factory studio, you are assailed by the bits and pieces of disused mattress springs. They’re not about bedding: they’re about solutions to her work.

“I started with Styrofoam”, she says, when describing materials she used to make her sculptures, “but I need to cushion from falling and possibly causing harm”.

So, she settled for traditional foam mattresses. Her ingenuity in saving costs came with a price, however. The mattress foam left the sculpture flimsy, leaving her project far from the standards she had set.

Katz began to cut through the access mattress foams that filled her studio, from her previous art piece. “Whilst cutting through parts of her bed, I would ask myself what a bed is. It immediately came to me that it’s a place of rest, a place of death, a place of dreaming, populating, a lot happens on a bed”, she says.

Indeed, her process was the disruption of rest. And one thing led to another; Katz decided to use the mattress springs in developing new work.

“My hands are sore, as you could see I was pulling, ne? Does she ever cry from the pain? “My dad is a metal worker so, being his only child, I’ve grown up around steel”.

Katz refers to her approach to her work as a form of map making. “There’s a piece I made with base springs where I knitted some parts in green. It was based on an image I saw while flying and I could see all the circles on the earth. It’s about depicting space very abstractly”, she says.

“I think that, sometimes, black women are expected to make work about womanhood. Yet my work is about womanhood, not overtly, but it’s about womanhood because I am a woman making it”, says Katz.

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