Balancing Act,  Flic-en-Flac, Mauritius, 2016

Balancing Act, Flic-en-Flac, Mauritius, 2016

About The Artist

Born in 1975, Nirveda Alleck is a multidisciplinary artist from Mauritius. She undertook her undergraduate studies at Michaelis School of Fine Art in South Africa, and did her MFA at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland in 2001. She has participated in international workshops in Namibia, South Africa, India, Lebanon, Mali and Mauritius, and has held residencies at the Bag Factory Studios in Johannesburg as well as in Scotland, Reunion Island, Namibia, Mali, and Mauritius. She was offered a Francis Greenburger Fellowship in 2011 to undertake a residency at Art Omi in the USA. Nirveda Alleck has participated in numerous international exhibitions: Diplomatic Immunity in NY in 2001, 11th Triennale India in 2005, Pan African Arts Festival in Algeria in 2009, Francophonie Games in Beirut, Arts Actuels Biennale in Reunion Island, World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar. She was part of Focus 11 Contemporary Art Africa at Art Basel in 2011, and also received in the same year, the Bank One Emma Award in Arts and Culture in Mauritius. Her work was amongst the 3 shortlisted for the FNB Johannesburg Art Fair Prize in 2011. Alleck was a laureate at the Dak'Art Biennale 2010, where she was awarded the Soleil d'Afrique Prize, and she was again part of the Dakar Biennale in 2012. Her recent video works have been show at the College des Bernardins in Paris, Marakesh Biennale Parallel projects, Africa Utopia in London, Ben Uri Gallery in the UK, and Analogue Eye at the National Arts Festival in South Africa and in Mannheim Germany. She is currently a part time lecturer in Fine Arts at the MGI, University of Mauritius.

About The Work

My work uses the support of paintings, videos, installations and performance. Over the years, my work has been about discovering and analyzing people and cultures from different places, and reflecting upon the characteristics that are distinct to them. I have worked with oral narratives and by interacting with my subjects, I attempt to synthesize preconceptions with the real, both in installations, and paintings.

In the Continuum series, done in South Africa, Mauritius, Beirut, the Chagos Islands, Reunion Island, Mali and the USA, I have been fixating on one constant: the human subject. By the erasing and whitening out of the background of these paintings (and videos), the immediate visual context is negated. But by the same token, this augments the sense of the presence of these subjects, who are fixed on the surface of the canvases. The act of painting photorealistic figures is not new, but lifting the figures out of their adjacent visual backgrounds makes them part of a larger 'diasporic' state of being, almost a conceptual family. A mock-anthropological thoroughness in referencing the photographic material that I use as a source ensures that there is no sentimentality. The portraying of these subjects eschews a colonial gaze, refuses a rapport de force, revealing instead, the invisible forces that give shape to subjectivities. At the same time, lifting a tree out of its natural state and into a gravity defying position allows for meaning to be created and permeated, as stories that unfold over generations.

Performance and imagined rituals are increasingly part of my practice. These are silent performances, which are recorded on video and shown as such. I am interested in all that is ephemeral and that disperses itself, elements that trigger new meaning like water and wool or dandelion seeds. I feel a lot that the construction of meaning is vital in not only my work, but in life and the way we live it. The element of water is predominant and acts as a vehicle for thought and purity. 

Related Work:

'Balancing Act', 2016 in  Edge Effects , La Citadelle

'Balancing Act', 2016 in Edge Effects, La Citadelle

'Arise',  Edge Effects',  La Citadelle, 2016

'Arise', Edge Effects', La Citadelle, 2016