by Caryn Le Kay
- not wearing clothes; naked:
“her unclothed body”
South Africa is known to have the highest gender-based violence and femicide statistics in the world. According to Gender-Based Violence Statistics (South Africa), the estimated quota of womxn and children murdered in South Africa is five times the worldwide average. As a South African womxn, born and raised in a space prone to violence, injustice and abuse, I live in constant anguish and fear.
(Un) clothed highlights the unspoken language of vulnerability, fragility and discomfort that being a womxn and girl-child in South Africa entails, where children are sexualised even before they reach puberty. One of the series of artworks consists of latex casts of female undergarments: a lace-bralette, a child’s vest, and a child’s briefs. Being cast in rubber, the garments are both skin-like and impermeable. The second series uses, as a starting point, a collection of donated bra tags, cut from the undergarments of their (unknown) wearers.
The exhibition thus opens a conversation about the damaging ways in which womxn are stereotypically sexualised due to their choice of garments, prompting the recurring statement, “She was asking for it”.