Installation view at the 'Disrupt II' exhibition, Old Wine Cellar, Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch.

Artist statement


Suture: ˈsuːtʃə/


The action of stitching together the edges of a wound or incision.


The suspended installation ‘Suture’ is a continuation of my investigation of the motif of the boat and the meanings it generates in the context of displacement. Having conducted an academic study on the effects of displacement on the psyche, I am interested in how the boat, as a means of displacement, can be a metaphor for the traumatic experience of loss. 


Travelling over water, which is a symbol of the unconscious, a boat has connotations of a safe container transporting the psyche over the treacherous waters of the unknown. However, the boats that I am creating in my art practice are all rendered impotent through their brokenness. This is also apparent in ‘Suture’, a skeleton covered partially with torn fabric. There is evidence of failed attempts to stitch the fabric together again, as if suturing a wound. Still, these efforts are in vain: the vessel will not be able to sail.


The intention with ‘Suture’ is to examine the aftermath of loss and our efforts to heal the  psychic wound left behind in the wake of traumatic experiences.

  • Suture
  • Emma Willemse
  • 2018
  • Installation
  • Wood, mutton cloth, paper and string; treated with ink made from Eucalyptus bark
  • 67 x 100 x 400 centimeters
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