The Land of Nobody

By Ilhaam Stoloff in collaboration with Brooke Auchincloss


This body of work predominantly aims to use large scale macro photographic prints of the biological processes of particular materials which symbolize cultural colonisation.  Additional methodologies are mixed media and sculpture.



Although endowed with layers of meaning, this exhibition sets out to interrogate two dominant and interrelated issues:

  • First, the phenomenology of the concept Terra Nulius or The Land of Nobody as the basis for cultural colonization.
  • Second, the notion of perception as a living tissue that is true until proven false.



Most of the concerns of the artwork were initially developed from the subjective experiences of Stoloff.  In 2000, Stoloff converted from Judaism to Islam. Living with a bi-discoursal identity prompted the realization that her innocent childhood aspiration to return to Israel to pick oranges on a kibbutz was founded on a one-sided understanding of reality.  This compelled Stoloff to begin working with the materials that symbolize her own subjective conflict, and to begin exploring the notion of the ‘land of milk and honey’.

When Stoloff met Auchincloss in 2013, an American artist living and working in South Africa since 2003, a dialogue began between the two artists about the notion of perception as truth.  A synergic process began between the two artists.  Their shared vision to take on the role of disturber through their art and their enthusiasm for the meaning production of the image led to further collaboration where they began to explore and capture the biological processes of additional materials that show perception as a living and evolving organism that reveals hidden stories over time.

Auchincloss and Stoloff’s aim is to confront the viewer with the emergence of a new truth in large-scale works like Life After Death where massive prints show human hair piercing through bubbling water and fermented orange juice crystallizing from the surrounding salt.   In the work, The Land of Nobody, images of yoghurt and honeycomb strips sink below lunar layers of combat-coloured furry mould, producing an undeniable transformation from a truthful illusion of richness, flawlessness, luxuriousness and desirability into another one of degeneration, disease, discomfort and uninhabitation.

The exhibition The Land of Nobody seeks to ask critical questions and disturb those whose true illusions remain unexamined.