Involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong
The study of the physical features of the Earth and its atmosphere, and of human activity as it affects and is affected by these, including the distribution of populations and resources and political and economic activities.
From the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age to this Age of multi-material, technological response following the industrial revolution 250 years ago. The ages of human technologies have been defined by our access to and ability to use different mined resources.
Mining provides us with all the ingredients to manufacture the technologies of our contemporary world. Behind mining are rich and contentious histories that have shaped social hierarchies.
The exhibition title encompasses bodies of work responding to different aspects of humans engagement and interaction and use of the wealth extracted from our planet, Earth.
All wealth is derived from the Earth and laws and legislation are constructed to regulate who has access and ownership of the resources from the planet. This wealth is surveyed, mapped, gridded and measured. It is then divided, allocated and regulated via legislations that include title deed and mineral right that are stored in archives.
Series from COMPLICIT GEOGRAPHIES has been exhibited in Germany, Rumania, England and South Africa, and is now re-installed in Cape Town 4 years after its initial showing during Unite’s Masters in Fine Arts (cum laude) received from University of Cape Town in 2014.
Unite explores the impact and relations between power and Earth through the mechanisms, both technical and social, of our modern world that are so inextricably linked to mining. Her celebration of the industrial sublime critiques the force of human compulsion for material goods regardless of the environmental and social consequences.
Conversations around mining with Earth scientists, geologists, engineers, metallurgists,industrialists and mining and geology historians has further expanded her visual interpretation of the extractive industries.
The art Unite produced from these explorations is inextricable from the impact mining wrought on African history. We would live on a vastly different continent – and indeed a different world – were it not for the epochal discovery of diamonds, gold and other mineral deposits in the second half of the nineteenth century and the concomitant and sometimes tragic effects of these discoveries.
– Ivor Powell and Andrew Lamprecht
Jeannette Unite has deep historical links with mining. Her grandfather’s Cambridge University Engineering Degree paved his involvement in the metal industries in Johannesburg and her great grand-father part owned a gold mine. The family friendship with geologist Hans Merensky, who discovered West Coast alluvial diamond deposits where Unite had lived in the 1990s alerted her to her complicity as end-user of mined titanium.
That history coupled with her innate fascination with material and the complex world of extraction, production, labour, machinery, materials, value creation, development, and her involvement -complicity- has inspired her art for decades.Her focus is not on precious stones and metals. It is wealth creation through digging, scarring, extracting, producing and transforming. It is what humans do with their planet and the materials that are left – the dumped materials which are evidence of complex forces and are the medium and materials which inform, The colour and texture in her art work.
Jeannette Unite travelled thousands of kilometers throughout Africa, Europe and England, Searching for metals, pigments, geological ‘deep time’ in chalk, clay and coal strata.
The artistic result is her exhibition COMPLICIT GEOGRAPHIES. Jeannette hopes to draw attention to all our complicity, as consumers who drive mining industries and advocates for us to be worthy custodians of this beautiful world that is our only habitat.