My practical research explores the relationship between healing and medical intervention through jewellery wearing and as such explores the body as a point of intersection for these two concepts. This study places specific emphasis on the influence that western medicine has had on my own country, South Africa, in relation to traditional healing practices that have existed for centuries. I draw inspiration from the Khoisan tribe and their particular means of healing, sense of nature, community and ritual practice and compare it to my own western heritage.
My body of work explores how a wearable piece (as a visual object), can take on a functionality that activates/stimulates the body in a particular way. As such my work challenges, conventional boundaries of jewellery wearing whilst creating an awareness within the wearer/viewer of the body’s reaction to a specific stimulus. A public choice is made when using a piece. This choice is not purely motivated by the aesthetic value of the piece, but rather by a conscious choice to heal oneself, prompting conversation about the way in which we approach the body from a medicinal perspective. Here, jewellery is used as a tool to stimulate the body, to indicate a healing process and to communicate meaning. As a result, raising an open question and challenging one’s perceptions of traditional healing methods and what is deemed socially acceptable in a dominant western world that is seemingly so repulsed and terrified by disease and the other.
As a result of the increasingly stressful society we live in today, I intend to create work which will comment on the soothing and sensory experience involved in a healing process. The work intends to encourage a new holistic relationship with one’s body, one’s community and ones environment while simultaneously reaching back to traditional and natural roots and cultural significance. Ultimately my work becomes not only a visual and interactive experience but a sensory ritual and essentially an extension of oneself or one’s state of well-being.