“Berry touches on rituals to emphasize the meaning of principles identifying and cementing together the members of a community. She addresses their souls and spirits, transforming social codes into allegories of a shared alienation as if this process was a way to create armor that could carry memory and transcends history.” N’Goné Fall
Berry Bickle was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1959
Berry has recently returned to Zimbabwe after living in Maputo for fifteen years.
She studied Fine Art at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and has a postgraduate degree, majoring in painting.
She has worked in a diverse range of mediums: installation, video, ceramics, contemporary dance, and photography; with the latter two, she has worked in urban spaces in order to analyze contemporary histories and the archival as subjects of her work. Berry’s work has ranged from delicate mixed-media creations to whimsical ceramics to room-sized installations incorporating snippets of handwritten diary entries, poems, and testimonials, along with videos.
Her work uses postcolonial theory to explore the history of Zimbabwe, in line with postcolonial research developed primarily in Anglo-Saxon countries since the 1990s. The artist – a white woman in an African region where the relationships between blacks and whites are fuelled by violence – draws from the past to inform the present. Exploring issues of race, psychological violence, power, territory, history, memory, and exile, Bickle raises questions about submission versus control, tradition versus modernity, and the local versus the global. By playing with subjectivity Berry Bickle turns set ideas upside down and appeals to our imagination and to our senses, like an invitation to meditation and communion.
Collaboration, writing (or rewriting) and the manipulation of archival and personal material are central components of Bickle’s practice. Bickle draws our attention to the existence of alternate stories, those buried beneath the weight of dominant narratives, and the consequences of their subsequent erasure.