Kathy Robins holds an MFA and PG Diploma in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town (2016, 2012), a B.Soc.Sci degree from UCT (1983) and a textile and product design degree from Parsons School of Design in New York (1989). Robins has worked in community development, art, design and social activism throughout her working life. She founded and developed a Corporate Social Responsibility Programme in 1999 and continues to work in creative and educational development initiatives.
Robins collaborates with artists Olivié Keck and Sepideh Mehraban for the work, Between Homes, Between Forms, Between Languages which offers a virtual reality (VR) experience. The work responds to the current issues around diaspora and the concept of home.
The aforementioned work – featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, The Main Complaint – uses the digital medium of virtual reality to translate these ideas from the physical world into the immersive digital landscape. Each artist has responded to the themes of language, home and from within this environment.
Inspired by Svetlana Boym’s The Future of Nostalgia and The Off-Modern, Robins’ work titled, Fabric of the Universe (2018) – featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, Still Here Tomorrow to High Five Your Yesterday – explores the process of replacing a world of environmental upheaval, war and economic displacement.
The structure of my work sits within grids, used both metaphorically and physically as a reminder of the blockages and closed borders for people on the move as well as the contemporary voices of the not-so-silent grids – of the rise of nationalistic voices upholding the divisions that dictate the relationships between people and space. Overshadowing this too, is the upheaval of our climate and the sense of loss imbued within it. The crossing of borders, both physical and ideological, requires the navigation of grids or terrains into which one is grafted but not fully accepted or rooted. Recognition of the fluidity of physical movement of peoples across the globe and shifting perceptions of the human relationship to the environment, home, and community, requires reordering of both physical and mental constructs.
Drawing on these ideas, the Fabric of the Universe is a collaboratively made work comprising of indigo dyed cotton printed with images reflecting the displacement of people and the ravages of climate change on the environment. An image of a nest evokes a transient home and serves as a visual anchor in the work. Hand stitching with copper wire implies a human effort towards connection and healing of disparate parts.
Robins has exhibited her work in local and international group shows, most recently The Space Between at the South African Jewish Museum (Cape Town: 2016), Displacement at AVA Gallery (Cape Town: 2016), The Christmas Show at ISArt (2016), Muse Montage at Ecclectica Gallery (Cape Town: 2016), Fog Catcher Installation at Design Indaba (Cape Town: 2017), Master’s Showcase at Michaelis Galleries (Cape Town: 2017), Dream Rift at Ecclectica Gallery (Cape Town: 2017) and Mixed Metaphors (Kalk Bay Modern, 2017).