In 2018, Gallery MOMO presented Cape to Tehran: Re-imaging and re-imagining personal history in post-Apartheid South Africa and post-revolutionary Iran. Curated by Sepideh Mehraban, this group exhibition featured a diverse selection of artists, primarily from South Africa and Iran, who grapple with the complex histories and traumatic legacies of these two countries. Personal experiences of conflict and change are channelled through their work, presenting a multifaceted discussion about areas of commonality and divergence between post-Apartheid South Africa and post-revolutionary Iran.
Rather than presenting a singular narrative, Cape to Tehran is instead a robust conversation between artists from different generations and geographies. The exhibition serves to contrast these artists’ personal encounters of socio-political turmoil in their homelands, creating art as a means of reflecting, as opposed to simply representing, their experiences of conflict and change.
Within this exhibition, Kathy Robins exhibited two works: Free Soil (soil, clay, crete stone and egg boxes) and Refuge (hay bail, cobbing materials, soil, lime, sand and stones). The works reference ancient construction techniques in which sundried bricks are made through a process of mixing hay, lime, sand, clay and water. With their inherent binaries of durability and ephemerality and reference to make-shift homes and the scale of the human body, the works bring to the fore questions of human and environmental transience, placelessness, and human connection to land and space.