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What did it cost? The coins and sense of arrival. Strokes of discord of the here and now; movements made of will and uncertain lanes. And where does it all land? Is ‘through’ enough of an emotion despite the closures up ahead?

Toll Gate is an exhibition for artists. As the title suggests, it comments
on the threshold and taxation of making. The barriers of visibility and the notion of ‘showing up’. It’s brief and uncomplicated. Thematically there
are roads, carriers, travelers, and retreat. Landscapes of people and unknown places. Grids and rows. Bridges, bypasses, and birds. It suggests a restlessness inhabited by cities or ideas but also the fleeting nature
of a passer-by. On the return, there is something to be said of scale and proximity; to the shadows of silos and perhaps the freedom of doing it yourself. To the creations with unknown destinations and maintenance paid upfront in material and making. Mate’s rates; not toll gates.

Cape Town November 2021

© Nathalie Viruly & Paul Wallington




‘Bright lights’, they say. What draws us to the urban grunge and defunct, the throngs of people pouring in on the promise of endless possibility, the hypnotic glimmer and untouchable shine on everything that the city might offer? In many ways we find ourselves in a space that holds this restless gap – a city caught on a knife’s edge. Its presence embraces the palpable emptiness of decay and echoes of fragmentary lives; an urban cavity filled with wishful speculation and possible futures. Steadfast in this somewhat paradoxical state therein lies the inextricable separation between people and place.

This exhibition posits itself on the premise of the city environment not in all its glory, but in its cyclical and inevitable ambivalence. To put it another way, it seeks to illuminate a transitory disposition of the inner-city space: one that is robust and yet entangled by moments of fragmentation, dislocation and the uncertainties of being. This state of existence, often overlooked, extends beyond the CBD through the inner nodes and ventricles of the city – the fills, desires, digitized spaces, familiar longings and dystopic tempers that reveal certain manifold and equivocal expressions of the urbanscape.

© Nathalie Viruly & Kerry-Lee Chambers



the underbelly is the weakest or most unpleasant part.It’s the stuff we do not want to see but feel up against our skin. It’s the days post-partum and the birthdays that still hurt. It is made of matter and material. It is the stuff of this exhibition and its title. Obstetric violence has been studied from various academic perspectives. Multidisciplinary studies have grappled with the foundations of this concealed and perhaps episodic form of gender-based violence while feminists, policymakers and bio-medical academics have worked to mitigate its real manifestation. What I offer is a curatorial project from the perspective of a birth-doula in a South African maternity ward. As an outsider, working within, this exhibition focuses on the living paradoxes within practices of medical care through the stories of objects. By looking at a cardiotocography belt, particularly its material qualities, this project focuses on acts of kindness and structural cruelty. It seeks to expose intersectional obstetric violence, microaggressions, the unruly feminine and acts of compassion. It visualises the impact of modernity on women’s experiences of birth in some state facilities and questions whether women give birth or are delivered, and how violence permeates either possible answer.

The UnderBelly, therefore, inhibits its own space, with curtains of institutional and personal cloth.Within are objects that are resonant for me with birth. This exhibition invites you to walk the uncertain path to motherhood that many women take. It is unstable and soft – among the home, the hospital and her.