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"C'EST KIF-KIF" - KITH Opening speaker: Charika Swanepoel

October 15, 2018

KITH: A group exhibition by EGLAF Arts Collective was opened on October 5th by Charika Swanepoel, editor of Laurel Magazine. If you missed this memorable event, you can read an excerpt from her speach below.


"The thing about KITH is its near inarticulacy.


I’m reminded of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets: “Words strain, / Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, / Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, / Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, / Will not stay still”. And this is the case here, tonight, as well. No word will stay in place when we try to frame that common human heart, and when a word does seem to stay, the meaning of the thing is changed. So, if I start to sound like a rambling lunatic, please bear in mind, I’m chasing the words, the form to which I’d like to fit the thing.

That’s the thing about KITH—its near inarticulacy. 

And yet, here we are, kindred flames.
KITH is knowledge, kinship, camaraderie.
KITH is what we say when we wish to name our entanglement in that shared search for substance in the immensity of the cosmos. 

There is a tremendous sense of affirmation in the shared nature of our quest.

We affirm what we think is true, and beautiful, and worth pursuing. But we also affirm that certain things hurt, that we are accountable for each other and that sometimes, the equation fails, and we are changed, utterly.

The French have a saying “C’est kif-kif bourricot”, in short, they just say “C’est kif-kif” meaning “it’s all the same”. If you wanted to know the difference between say, butter and margarine, well, “c’est kif-kif n’est pas?” It’s not that we are all the same, but rather, that we come from the same stuff, we all breathe what’s in the air, we’re all good people and we’re all bad people, our darks and lights are really not that far apart, “c’est kif-kif”. 

KITH is affirmation.

Is there anything more affirming than seeing in someone else those things you could hardly frame into thoughts and words and sense? Is there anything more affirming than meeting shades of yourself in someone else’s joy, or love, or fear, or grief, or hope. Is there anything more affirming than meeting yourself again and again in a different kind of trade?

KITH is an answer, a kind of knowing, an understanding, KITH is the kernel of this great quest of ours, it is our search for an immensity beyond ourselves. KITH is the recognition that we are not alone, that life, ultimately, is a team sport. 

We help each other to get to know ourselves and when we very existentially come to the conclusion that this is it, we start to help each other reach for something more, for something to bridge that gap between the you and the me, for something of an eternity." 

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