Artist: Nico Ras
In partial fulfilment of the Masters in Art in Visual Arts.
25 January – 18 February 2022
The focus of the body of work, produced by Nico Ras, titled Boerseun is exploring the artist’s fluid identity through fugitive, ethereal and unconventional printmaking techniques. Through an adopted approach of Practice-Led research, the artist explores deeper questions and concepts surrounding his complex identity. The use of practice, making, or a creative process as a research method generates new ideas and can lead to new insights in areas of the actual making process. Ras investigates pertinent themes, by way of his artmaking process, associated with his constructed identity, including whiteness, masculinity, cultural inheritance, and shame/guilt. Ras comes from a traditional Afrikaans background, raised in a secluded Dutch Reformed Church community in a plattelandse dorpie which established rigidity in terms of his identity and culture. Growing up in a post-apartheid context, he has come to question the fixity of identity and challenge the legacy of his conservative Afrikaans upbringing. Ras create images using charcoal powder deposited on a paper surface through a silkscreen printmaking technique modified into an unconventional stencilling process, in combination with drawing, which the artist refers to as a ‘charcoal transfer’. The charcoal powder remains unfixed on the surface, resulting in a fragile image. The nature of the image being transient parallels the notion of his unfixed identity, and further becomes the symbolic material process to explore ideas of inhabiting multiple selves, and the fluidity of the artist’s understanding and representations of self.