Jacki McInnes’ primary artmaking materials and methods incorporate the use of beaten sheet-lead in the construction of small sculptural elements, together with a drawing/painting technique using the soot of burnt car tyres, oxides, and oil paint. She uses these materials metaphorically to suggest the damage to environment and future generations wrought by our current rampant consumption. Her work also explores ideas around economic migrancy and the survival strategies such migrants are forced to adopt. Johannesburg’s informal recyclers have been central to this particular research for many years, as she reenvisages the plastic pallets on which they transport their bulk bags of trash in terms of their ‘safe haven’ or ‘life raft’.
Current creative work sees McInnes using lead in a thoroughly incongruous manner to craft objects that one would least imagine in lead: aeroplanes too heavy to fly, balloons that would go down, life rafts and rings that would immediately sink. In other works, lead ladders and staircases direct the viewer’s eye out of the picture frame, presumably to salvation in a better place. But although the boats, life rings and aeroplanes may seem to suggest escape, being rendered in lead they would sink, offering no escape at all. There is dark humour in this, of course, but the work also serves as a warning of some impending hazard.