Natalie Moore


Imagine if you could recapture the sense of wonder, naivety and pure joy that comes with the freedom of childhood, liberated from the constraints of your adult life? Absa L’Atelier winner, Natalie Moore, invites you to do just that and lose yourself in her fairytale-like Sandman solo exhibition, now on at the KZNSA. Moore, a photographer and mixed media artist, won the Gerard Sekoto Award in the 2015 Absa L’Atelier art competition for her photographic triptych Once Upon A Time Jozi, which explored the universal fairytale in the Johannesburg context.

This time Moore explores the classic fairytale through the lens of a dreamscape. Sandman is a narrative akin to one’s dreams, where the storyline may seem fragmented and unstructured to the conscious mind, but natural to the fabric of a dream and the subconscious.

Moore says this lack of chronological order points to another notion explored through the imagery she has used – that of chronos versus kairos time. Where conscious time is perceived in a constant, measurable, chronological fashion (chronos), time in a dream (kairos) exists outside of this construct.

She says another aspect of the dream world is our inhibitions. “Nightmares are fuelled with fear but inversely, in a dream we seem to act and love without fear. I believe this is truer to our nature than the masks we sometimes wear in real life. This begs the question of how we define what is more real, when some aspects of dreams are more real than reality. What is oasis and what is mirage?” she asks, adding that the sheets in the exhibit are representative of the conscious mind and the desert, that of dreams and the subconscious.

The idea of the sandman relates to that of fairytales, which Moore says are familiar to all of us and, like the smell of rain or the taste of Zoo Biscuits. It transports us to a time that is all but forgotten – that of our childhood.

“That was a time when our minds were still open. Before we were conditioned to believe what we could and couldn’t do; could and couldn’t dare to dream. It is with these unconditioned eyes that I wish for viewers to engage my work. I want them to journey from being mere spectators of the story, to being in the story itself. My hope is to awaken in viewers, a sense of amazing possibility and imagination. When visiting the exhibition, I want them to walk in with reality, and walk out with their dreams,” Moore adds further.


Extracted from Art Times

Original article can be viewed here


  1. The exhibition is titled ‘Sandman’. Do you think it is a suitable title? Explain why.
  2. Photography’s connection with surrealism lies in its ability to represent the material world in strange and abstract ways. Choose an artwork from the exhibition and identify what makes it strange or abstract.
  3. Consider the use of symbolism in Natalie Moore’s work, providing examples (with detailed rationale) from the exhibition.
  4. Natalie Moore describes the surreal nature of the desert as a landscape that echoes the dreamscape and the subconscious. Discuss her ‘Sandman’ body of work in terms of surrealist principles of irrationality, automatism, psychological and dreamlike sequences with no apparent logic and a disregard for conventional storytelling narrative.
  5. Consider the work of contemporary South African artists Marlene Steyn, Tash Brown and Yolanda Mazwana, whose work can be classified as surrealist or expressionist, or a combination of both. Compare their contrasting styles with Natalie Moore’s, and why the work of all four artists might fall into these classifications; additionally, consider whether these classifications are relevant today.


  1. Natalie Moore has constructed this fairytale dreamland through a combination of photographic prints and mixed media pieces comprising oil paint on photographic prints. Select a number of ordinary objects from your immediate environment and photograph them. Print the photographs and get to work with your paintbox to create an alternate, dreamlike narrative layered into the original prints.
  2. Recall and record a dream. How did it feel and look? Think about how dreams differ from real life and memory. Are there similarities? Create an artwork based on your dream images.
Natalie Moore

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