Drypoint on 240gsm Arches etching paper, 2009, Ed 25. by Chris Diedericks
Prof Dreyer writes “whether real or fictive; visual or literary stories are told about, for instance, societies and places where the impact of the ideological blueprint of globalisation has created diasporic cultures and nomad identities”.
The term diaspora (in Greek, "a scattering [of seeds]") refers to the movement of any population sharing common ethnic identity that were either forced to leave or voluntarily left their settled territory, and became residents in areas often far removed from the former. It is converse to the nomadic culture, and more appropriately linked with the creation of a group of refugees. However, while refugees may or may not ultimately settle in a new geographic location, the term diaspora refers to a permanently displaced and relocated collective.
“Diasporic cultural development often assumes a different course from that of the population in the original place of settlement. It tends to vary in culture, traditions and other factors between remotely separated communities. The last vestige of cultural affiliation in a diaspora is often found in community resistance to language change and in maintenance of religious practice”.
Sentinel is possibly dealing with an example of such a “nomad identity” where the subject in the work is depicted as searching for another similar human being. He (the sentinel) appears to be isolated on an island and seems to be “lost”. Smaller encircled images in the work act as visual clues in this narrative. The subject might also be “on the watch” in order to protect other similar “nomads” (?). The massive ball of debris (memory?) next to the sentinel acts as evidence for collected “baggage” or “experiences”. On a personal level the encircled images are disturbing current news events and are reflective of troubling issues close to heart.
The sentinel’s suit is possibly evidence of a tightly controlled society in which money, control and power are valued above anything else. The issues of power and money, and the money-driven society we have created, are also under investigation. In this work, as in the others, I have disguised elements of hope and possible answers for this dystopian reality. In Sentinel, elements of hope are to be found in the presence of ships (possible escape?) and the presence of technology (the binoculars); the sentinel is therefore not necessarily stranded or lost.
However, I always attempt to steer clear from providing literal explanations for my work, as I believe that there cannot be only one final interpretation of any work of art.