About | Cathy Abraham

Cathy Abraham was born in 1968 in Cape Town, South Africa where she currently lives and works. She specialised in process-based art at the Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town (UCT), where she graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma (PGDIP) in 2016 and a Master’s in Fine Art with Distinction in 2018. Abraham’s creative work brings together seemingly disparate entities through participation and a ritual based practice. She uses mediums that reflect the subject matter which include film, mixed media, installation and participation as well as painting and sculpture. 

Most recently in 2018, Abraham’s MFA culminated in a solo exhibition titled, A Deeper Kind of Nothing.

A Deeper Kind Of Nothing

‘Nothing’ is frequently associated with insignificance. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘to reduce to nothing is to consider or treat as worthless or unimportant’. This project aims to reveal that this form of nothing is, essentially, something.

As a child, I was told that my struggle with breath, with asthma, was nothing but psychosomatic. This was a version of ‘nothing’ that held within it the power to be life-threatening. The dismissal of concern for my asthma led me to dismiss other major events in my life as nothing too. I cannot be sure what residues of ghastliness haunt and inspire me, as there are so many events I would like to forget, yet I remain aware of these experiences and their after-effects.

By working with objects destroyed or damaged in the course of daily domestic life, I wish to speak to the mass of irreparable ‘brokenness’ that constitutes my life story; irreparable yet redeemable. I mark unrecognised potential within objects considered not good enough or not good at all.

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Undying Entanglement

Larger than life, the house itself was an enormous place holding decades of memories joyous and tragic. When it was destroyed last year, after being in our family for 50 years, I filmed and photographed its unraveling. I was struck during that process, how no matter what was being stripped, gutted, bashed, pulled apart and ravaged, the house still stood: regal, graceful, metaphorical of human existence…

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