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Meandmyhands - Visual Art by Katharina Forster

These series of nine sculptures called Caring-Protecting-Influencing (2010) convey a variety of perspectives we can choose from when looking at the process of receiving a child as well as looking at possible relationships between us and our children, might they be born already or not, might we be their biological parents or not. Below you will find interesting facts to each sculpture:

CARING-PROTECTING-INFLUENCING, mixed media series of sculptures

​Receiving I, Spir​itual (2010, feathers, thread)
You know, for some people receiving a child is like receiving a present from God. No doubt is is a miracle and a spiritual view helps to understand and accept it. But I have alos met the woman on the street, who was pregnantwith her 6th child, begging, who said: “But it’s a gift fom God!”
And how many children in South Africa are called Sipho (isiXhosa and isiZulu), in Sesotho among others: Mpho, Neo or Tshifhiwa and Mpho in Tshivenda, …

Receiving II, Natural (2010, burned protea plants, thread, ribbon)
The seeds of the protea neds to burn once in a while for it to germinate. It’s natural and just happens. I don’t want to say it’Äs easy, but it just comes natural, doesn’t it?
Sometimes proteas burn too hot, because of all the allien wood at the Cape which burns at a higher temperature….

Receiving III, Academic (2010, books, glue)
The academic approach to receivinga child is a cradle carved out of books. For me the carving was a physical process but how many receive a child mainly listeing to what books, and research have to tell them? All Knowledge is taken from books, research, the internet and litle is trusted to intuition. Receiving a child is a difficult study!

Receiving IV, Materialistic (2010, bottles, bottle tops/lids, fishing line, crimps)
You get your car, your house, your partner: now you need your child. It’s a possession as other things. If you have two extra rooms in your house, you may have two children. Not necessarily more
Toys, safety, entertainment, love and care can /will be bought. “there is a lot out there you might have to want”

Receiving V, Adoption (2010, used teabags, chicken wire, red thread, block out lining)
For me adoption is all about the connection between the new parents and the child. There is no blood relation which holds them together, so the “man made” connection is very important. It’s golden! I have used branches and twiggs of different trees and connected them with plaster of paris bandages, a healing prozess.The ones you use when you broke your arm or leg…
A friend who is a father to 3 adopted children saw the sculpture could full heartly connect with it ;)
Receiving VI, Rape (2010, found natural clay, steel, natural sponges)
I have chosen to combine used teabags with barbed wire. Isn’t it a wonderful contrast?
The harsh, sharp, pointed silver wire and the delicate, used, fragile teabags?
You know how easily they tear! I have placed the sculptures on a pillow and couldn’t resist of using block out lining (white fabric which keeps any light from shining through)
You don’t see, you don’t want to see, ….
Statistically devided the amount of rape over time, every 17 seconds  someone gets raped in South Africa.

Receiving VII, Abortion (2010, found wood, plaster of paris, red paint, gold leaf)
This cradel wont hold what you put in as it opens as a spiral at the bottom to let go.
It’s made ourt of found clay- just as in the biblical story Adam was made from a lump of clay. And don’t we all, our bodies, turn to soil matter once we are dead?
In South Africa teenagers use abortion as a way of contraception. If a clinic refuses to do the abortions for miners, they just go to the next clinic, until they find someone who will do it.
“Safe and clean abortions, pain free”! is advertised on most light poles around.

Receiving VIII, Inheritance (2010, woolen jersey, pink and light blue baby vest, steel bars, red satin ribbon)
The red ribbon is used for the association with the AiDS/ HIV ribbon.
It holds the two sides together with the grey , woolen base. Due to the AIDS/HIV pandemy parents die young and leave the children behind who then stay with their relatives, often grandparents. It is a reversed inheritance; thath’s what it is. It’s sad.

Receiving IX, Stealing (2010, electric cables)
When you give birth in a private hospital, your baby gets an armband around its wrist which will trigger the alarm once taken off the maternity ward, unless the parents confirm with the nurses and sisters.
Kids often get stolen for various reasons of jealousy, power, perdsonal isseus, infertility, …. (There was a woman in America who even killed a highly preganant mother in order to keep her lye up that she is about to give birth to her own child. She then rubbed the blood between her legs, went to hospital and pretended to have had a spontanious birthing experience at home…)
Electricity in South Africa is used to protect oneself in general: Alarm, electric fences, remote controlled gates, thats at least my foreign view, which helps.
And doesn’t one naturally hide something; wrap it tight if it is stolen, or if you want to protect it from being taken?