Neville Starling

Neville Starling is a self-taught artist, born 1988 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe where he maintains his full-time darkroom and studio. Motivated by his father’s windows of changed personality due to Alzheimer’s disease, Starling deconstructs time’s relationship with memory both individually and collectively. He examines notions

of change; the connection between future thinking and our learning faculty; the processes of forced and chosen memories; as well as the interplay of reality and perception with memory, and how these are interwoven within the continuum of identity.

From concept specific material, structures and mediums, Starling creates immersive, interactive, and what he calls “separative” installations. His chosen material ranges from pieces of land in various forms from single grains of sand to express the eventuality of time, to mud, to painting rocks white in order to turn them from an object into the subjectivity of the viewer by activating their memory of a rock – the importance of land in Africa’s history is paramount to much of his work. Starling also applies found, unhistoricised negatives, slides, plates and films to his work – intact or not, questioning representation and propaganda within a historical timeline. As well as this, he adopts alternative and antiquated photographic techniques, chemistry and equipment to stage, and therefore question timeframes. Starling often creates continuative narratives by using building material and equipment.

Starling held a solo exhibition, Rest Until, curated by Helen Teede at The Corridor Gallery, Harare in 2016 which travelled, under the stewardship of Clifford Zulu as a solo show to The National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo in 2016. Starling's group exhibitions include: the 2nd Zimbabwe Annual Independence Exhibition: Memorialization, 2017 at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, curated by Clifford Zulu; The Burning Question, 2017 with Yebo! Art and Design, Swaziland, curated by Alleta Armstrong; Lost and Found: Expectations, Uncertainty, Excitement and Hope, and, Blood Relatives, both shown in 2018 and curated by Raphael Chikukwa at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare; Starling came second place in the PPC Imaginarium Awards in 2018 at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare.

Starling has been published in Art Africa and Zim Artist, both in 2017, and various Zimbabwean news outlets. He appeared on the talk show, Thatha Wena, ZBC in 2017. An upcoming documentary about his work will be filmed by Kalai Faye and Richard Watson in 2019.

Starling views memory and identity as one through a deterministic framework. However, his concepts cannot escape the notion of self-change and therefore, self-awareness which are both searched for and reflected within his work. Starling constructs environments and concepts in which the guest is able to introspectively decipher their self from what has formed it, as well as how much of the self informs how external content is further perceived.

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