Ebeth Ceroniö is a sculptress who resides in South Africa. She has shaped some of the most exquisitely expressive works that I have ever had the pleasure to view. Her sculptures show echoes of Henry Moore, Leonard Baskin and Auguste Rodin to name but a few. However, her pure expression and intimate view of emotions captured in clay are purely her own.
Her strong shapes and bowed shoulders speak of the duality in relationships and the acceptance and denial of roles heaped upon women, shoulders that have to be strong for her children and meek for the men. The defiance of her figures stands on guard while feeding the children in the eternal, maternal movement between compassion and contempt.
I have spoken to her at great lengths about her work and the remembrance of events that get shaped into moulds with some embittered ends.
I find inspiration from the honest portrayal with which she transcends the borders of personality and perception, the way in which she weaves shape and plays with shadows that dance around the figures in positive contrast to the suppleness transfigured from rock-hard clay. This conveys constant motion while remaining perfectly still. It awakens words and emotions in my mind that nudge my heart to play.
The stark terracotta coloured hues allow for no distraction from the monumental forms. They act only as a backdrop for this multi-dimensional, emotional sketch that speaks of triumphs and regrets.
This purity of intent is something most Zen masters spend a lifetime to attain as we aspire to in all our final moments. Can we claim with surety that we have lived our lives honestly when we rely mostly on communication that does very little to portray the deeper meanings of our words? If in all the words we speak we breed only pretence, then is it not a case of, if words are for feelings then feelings are for worse?
I have felt this with Rodin and Giacometti, all in step to mankind’s march along the borders of romance and betrayal. We are awakened by these sensitive souls willing to bare their emotions with lively questions and numerous debates.
We can easily dismiss with what possible motives or justifications we lend, as it is not hard to criticise. I would suggest you don’t look at my words purely in that context. They are after all only words and the meanings I assume to suggest.
Rather take a moment to let your eyes wander across the shapes and planes and distinguish the lines drawn in shadows. How the light that would explain every volume wrought in clay, remarks on the life of the person who distinguishes themselves, not only in showing these emotions but in the brave stance that they take.
I find it truly admirable to share your feelings so openly for the world to judge. Whether or not you like something, your subjective view says a lot more about yourself than it does about the work you are criticising.
Author: Daniel Cornelissen