“An ode to the fake/knock-off/bootleg high-fashion products in the markets and bazaars.
This work is a consolidation of a few concepts and observations that have occupied my mind recently. At the core, it plays on the notion of extremes and the conflict that exists within dualities. The first of my reflections is rooted in consumer culture, class and symbols of wealth; I explore this construction by questioning what constitutes the real vs fake?
Hermès Birkin bags are the most expensive bags in the world, ranging from $40,000 to $500,000. Named after actress and singer Jane Birkin, the iconic bag is handcrafted and strictly exclusive for a specific class of clientele or celebrity (there is a waiting list), which drives the value of the Birkin up year after year. This kind of product is an anomaly in the sense that after purchase, these bags usually increase in value – there is an impressive resale market that exists purely for Birkins.
What we perceive as ‘valuable or not’ has been constructed by companies, brands and the system of capitalism. Do you think the 1% feel good owning something that only they can? Do I experience an equal satisfaction in owning a fake Birkin? Is my happiness equal to theirs? Or is this conflict and uncertainty around what holds “value” really about us? How we feel about ourselves possessing these things, am I more valuable to myself or to others if I have this bag, dress this way?
Dually, I looked at subversion; having an idea challenge and undermine another idea – invoking and subverting the historical accusation of ‘witch’. Historically, women who were labelled and believed to be witches and or different were demonised and killed. For me, the label ‘witch’, also observes the courage and conviction that womxn possess – in the sense of being true to themselves; challenging society's expectations of them and not conforming; albeit the consequences. It is both a burden and a privilege to bear the name, witch.”
fake Hermès birkin bag and acrylic | 17 x 34 x 38cm | unique
Saaiq’a is a Durban-born writer, multi-disciplinary artist, and visual storyteller; engaging with photography, installation, and mixed media-based works while pursuing documentary and film-making. “In previous and current works,” they write, “I have explored mental health and mental illness, the duality of life, love/sex/death, identity, and the transience of life. I would describe some of my work to be: Ephemeral. Transcendent. Gritty. Honest. Intimate. Poetic. Melancholic. Confrontational. Introspective. Visceral. Cinematic. Experiential. Subversive.”