Cydney Eva is the founder of PatternNation, the umbrella under which all of her creative practices find a home. This includes mural paintings, installations, clothing and jewellery. Cydney, born and raised in East Vancouver on Unceded Coast Salish territory, is in Johannesburg on a two-month residency with Assemblage. I had a conversation with her about her work and desire to come to South Africa.
Cydney’s artistic journey began with her exposure to a number of artistic practices while growing up. With her mother running a children’s festival that saw companies from all over the world share their visual art, dance and theatre, the creative bug bit her quite early on. Cydney started in theatre and played with humour as well as explored the different ways we engage with one another. She carried this through when she began to focus more on visual art and fashion, stating that her work is about “connection, play and colour”.
She describes her work as not fitting your usual visual art experience. It is more about creating immersive spaces. “That is more what I am interested in as an artist because I think we need to laugh together and talk more,” Cydney explained. She believes that creating these spaces for laughing together, playing together and being vulnerable with one another provides opportunities for learning and connection.
Reflecting on her family’s English heritage and describing herself as a “colonizing body” who is a “guest” on the land she calls home, Cydney is invested in creating patterns which are inspired by indigenous cultures and place value on thinking about art outside of a European framework.
Having fantasized about coming to South Africa to create work, Cydney was delighted to be part of a residency hosted by Assemblage. The collaborative opening night of her exhibition at Assemblage will be animated with performances by three South African experimental performers, as well as have some of PatternNation’s clothing and jewellery on display. Audiences can expect to see the entire space covered in patterns. Another element to the opening night will be interactive cloud sculptures made from custom made fabrics and balloons which will “create a more surreal space.”.
Cydney is collaborating with Elo Zar, Agord Lean and CostaBesta. Singer and songwriter Elo Zar will be bringing some of her experimental music and visuals. Agord Lean, who has also painted a portion of the space, will be putting on an installation meets rap performance. CostaBesta will be closing off the night in a space that has been painted specifically for him. To sandwich that all together, her friend and upcoming DJ from Vancouver Orla Adams aka OWABOWA , will be performing as well.
Be sure to check out the exhibition on Friday 7 April at Assemblage.