I was lucky and honoured to be one of the artists for the Thupelo 2015 workshop held at Ruth Prowse School of Art in Woodstock
during this workshop
my thoughts, ideas and everyday experiences,
and also the way I perceive myself as artist,
have been scattered like leaves in the wind
opening up new possibilities,
new branches of being,
and much new art
to be made
we are not static beings
we are not meant to be one-dimensional
we are more complex, more intricate, and much more interesting
than I ever cared to realise or admit.
time to change my perspective, time to look anew.
I came to this workshop with some expectations, but at the same not knowing what to expect. I also didn’t have a clear idea of what I’d like to create, even though my recent art practice has been very focused in a specific direction. The expectations I had about the workshop was about having space to make art while also having the opportunity to work and interact with other artists whose work and methods differ from mine. All my prior expectations were met… and even more. A wonderful surprise and delight is the way that some people’s work and ideas subtly crept into my work without me copying, appropriating or imitating their individual and unique ideas or style. We’re always in some way connected to all other people on this planet, through the *collective consciousness but I’ve never been so aware of the connections between us as artists as I have been during this workshop.
The true icing on the cake, for me, has been a break-through in how I perceive myself as an artist. I’ve increasingly pin-holed myself into being an ‘environmental’ artist. While climate change, pollution, deforestation, food security, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, …I will stop here… is incredible issues that need urgent solutions and attention; I have limited my work and thus disregarded many unfinished artworks, ideas and creative expression(s) concerning my personal experiences about identity and belonging. The incredible artists who| have met has shown me that I can without reserve allow myself to explore all the disparate pieces of who I am and what I find important in this world, and express it in my art.
* Collective consciousness: A set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society, with a life of its own. It can not be coincidence that thousands of people, around the world experience similar feelings, create similar artwork, and perform similar actions, with no direct interaction with each other. Various forms of what might be termed “collective consciousness” in modern societies have been identified by sociologists, from solidarity attitudes and memes to extreme behaviours like group-think or herd behavior.
Thank you to all the artists for sharing your work, your process and bits of yourself with me, but I’d like to especially acknowledge these artists for sharing your studio space(s) with me, for inspiring me, for shared moments and/or for challenging my world view in some way: Tatiana Mendez, Francois Knoetze, Lionel Davis, Jill Trappler, Dathini Mzayiya, Oupa Sibeko, Ofentse Letebele, Jeff Lok, Ayesha Price, Erica Luttich, Leyla Harris, Mercy Nhauranwa, and last but not least, Helen Harris.