Local artist set to premiere her latest work
By Melissa Hoyos
Special to the Reporter
a young girl, Madelaine Georgette grew up with racism.
Born and raised in South Africa, segregation appeared natural to
her, even though it was unnatural to her heart.
the next month, Georgette will confront some of the struggles during
apartheid by showing her recent work, entitled Truth, Justice and
exhibition, through Dec 11 at Seattle Pacific University, will include 20
painting inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
hearings in South Africa.
current paintings, the last in a four-part series, address the
institutions that supported racial discrimination, such as the judicial
system, the media and religious sanctions.
way to communicate with people is visually,” said Georgette, a Mercer
Island resident since the mid 1980s.
“ I want to show what happened.”
who started her project on the TRC hearings four years ago, began taking
art lessons when she was in high school.
After graduation, she took one yar of art at Johannesburg
University. A mother of three
grown children, Georgette started painting again once she moved to Mercer
Island. Besides her passion
for art, Georgette tended to her own consulting business on the Island for
city service studies.
1994, she pursued a degree at the University of Washington and soon began
painting full time. Since
graduation, Georgette’s paintings have been featured in numerous art
shows, such as the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center in Seattle. “The venue meant a lot to me. (My work) was one of the
first exhibitions, said Georgette. “The
showcase featured the first series on TRC.”
to the TRC project, Georgette’s art is mostly based on South Africa.
“My fourth pieces are very intuitive.
I approached the canvas and just started to draw.
They really just came out of her,” she said, pointing to her
resident of South Africa for 27 years, Georgette came from a privileged
Jewish family and was very aware of her social status. Since both her father and husband lost family in the
Holocaust, Georgette always felt a strong sense of prejudice. “Everything had division,” she said. “But my life was a
cocoon, I lived through most of it but I didn’t do anything about it.”
the 1960’s when all unskilled work was reserved for non-whites,
Georgette vividly remembers when a group of Japanese businessmen were
declared honorary whites during their visit to South Africa.
It was not until the 1990s that changes in the social system and
government came about, according to the artist.
through the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation pieces, Georgette hopes to
start the healing process and spark awareness in others.
TRC is incredibly brave,” said Georgette.
“It represents tremendous courage.
These ideas, in a way, are bigger than people.”
showcased works are done in oil and are divided into three canvasses
called triptychs, to represent a segmented South Africa.
The cell structures, which dominate each of her paintings,
symbolize truth within the healing process. Georgette used readings to
inspire her to paint, develop phrases and patterns hidden within her
paintings. “Painting is
analogous to writing, she said. “Patterns and fabric design are
intrinsic to who I am. It all
comes out in my work.”
Georgette wants to donate some of her project work to a South African
museum or university; however, she will need to find funding to transport
the artwork. For now, she is
content in knowing that her pieces have the potential to start the
recovery process, for not just South Africans but for people around the
globe. “I am hoping that my
work will stand on its own,” said Georgette.
“For me, it’s a form of healing.
by permission of the Mercer Island Reporter
appeared November 13, 2002)