Local Heart, Global Soul

January 30, 2014

Keeping Tally Of Things To Trumpet About…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In my last post about the “Rainbow Nation” sculpture exhibition of 2012 that took place in the Lange Voorhout in The Hague, The Netherlands. Visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” and I are checking out some of the last, and most arresting and thought provoking pieces in the exhibit.

One that made me think very hard was a Willem Boshoff piece called “Prison Sentences” which consists of polished and sandblasted Zimbabwe black granite slabs depicting the number of days that eight fellow members of the South African ANC were imprisoned, among them of course, famously, the late Nelson Mandela.

The accompanying text reads:  “Boshoff endeavours with his “Prison Sentences”to make perceptible how long eight members of the ANC, who in 1964 were sentenced during the Rivonia trial, were incarcerated.

On black granite slabs that clearly resemble gravestones, he has tallied the number of days per prisoner.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Dennis Goldberg 11 June 1964 – 28 Feb 1985 (7568 days)

Govan Mbeki 11 June 1964 — 5 November 1987 (8548 days)

Walter Sisulu: 11 June 1964 – 15 October 1989 (9269 days)

Ahmed Kathrada 11 June 1964- 18 15 oct 1989 (9269 days)

Elias Motsoaledi 11 june 1964 15 oct 1989 (9269 days)

Raymond Mhlaba 11 june 1964 – 15 oct 1989 (9269 days)

Andrew Meangeni 11 june 1964 – 15 oct 1989 (9269 days)

Nelson Mandela 11 june 1964 – 11 feb 1990 (9377 days)

I think that this work is a pertinent reminder that the freedoms of today’s South Africa were not just handed over lightly but took decades of personal  sacrifice by many people to achieve. It’s also a work in progress, an unfinished diamond in the rough that whilst now roughly shaped still needs much work before it can shine in true harmony as the Rainbow Nation Nelson Mandela and his fellow campaigners believed it could one day be.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Andries Botha:   “Nomkhubulwane” (Galvanised mild steel and recycled rubber tyres)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The accompanying text on the information board also tells us:”Andries Botha is very concerned with the fate of elephants, Nomkhubulwane is the Zulu goddess of rain, nature and fertility.

She can take on the guise of any animal. In Botha’s version she is an elephant, made of pieces of recycled tyres.

Seeing  pink elephants”is an English expression relating relating to hallucinations brought about by drunkenness.

The pink elephant in question is seen coming out of a mould, which brings with it the impression that elephants are products that are easy to make.

Botha shows us that this way of thinking is a hallucination and that the wildlife in Africa is not something that is simply replaceable.

Personally these are the two pieces in this exhibition that really “spoke” to me..  the choice of materials used in both was ingenious, the subject matter was thought provoking and both left a lasting impression. The annual summer sculpture exhibition in the Lange Voorhout has never disappointed me yet, and but with pieces like these I think that 2012 will be a difficult year to beat. So… Nomkhubulwane, that really is something to trumpet about.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 26, 2014

The Rainbow Nation Rolls Into Town in A Taxi…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post in my diary detailing our retrospective adventures of 2012 with visiting friend from Singapore “Velvetine”. So far we have visited and seen snippets of England, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and Germany and now it’s time to spend a little time exploring closer to my home in The Netherlands.

One thing I always try to get to every Dutch summer is the annual exhibition of statues located in the Lange Voorhout in the The Hague. I wasn’t well enough to attend in 2013 but back in 2012 Himself dropped Velvetine and I off in the centre of the city and we got to walk slowly and admire everything.

We find an information billboard that explains the background to this year’s exhibition:

During the summer months, work by around thirty South African artists will be on view in museum Beelden aan Zee, on the Lange Voorthour, in the Kloosterkerk, at the ANWB main office and in Raadhuis de Paauw in Wassenaar.

“The Rainbow Nation, Contemporary South African Sculpture” displays the colourfulness and variety of forms of contemporary at in South Africa. A rainbow is made up from all kinds of different colours and only occurs under special conditions. These features also apply to South Africa.

The country has eleven official languages, at least as many different peoples and an extremely turbulent history. The Rainbow nation is a term that Nelson Mandela and Desmund Tutu used after apartheid was abolished.

They wanted to leave the racist past behind and express their pride in the diversity of their mother country through this term. During apartheid the different population groups were strictly segregated and severe restrictions applied to black people.

This led to an underground of black artists and an international cultural boycott, which kept South Africa isolated for a long time. Since the free elections in 1994, the art world seems to have burst open and developments have gained momentum.

While there is a great deal of attention for the economic and political changes in South Africa, changes on a cultural level have remained more in the background until now. Precisely these developments can be seen in the “Rainbow Nation”. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The artists reflect on their identity through self portraits, the use of materials specific to South Africa and symbols from their cultures. The photo series and sculptures on display also reveal attention for the current living conditions of the people and animals of South Africa.

The politics of Apartheid and the violence connected with it, form another theme that recurs in many of these sculptures. “The Rainbow Nation”, thus sheds light on all kinds of aspects of the culture of South Africa and colours the Hague in all the hues of the rainbow.

Velvetine and I only covered the part of the exhibition located at the Lange Voorhout since we had other things already planned. We start with two of the pieces standing close by, the first  is by Gordon Froud and is a piece called “Plastic Cost Hanger”.

It’s information board reads: “Although taxis do not generally enjoy a very good reputation, they are an important complement to public transport in South Africa. The minibus taxis do not run to a regular schedule, but are picking people up and dropping them off along the way. Froud made his minibus from coat-hangers as for him they signify the industrial, urban environment“.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The second piece is by Angus Taylor and is called “Disclosing Decay”  and it’s  information board tells me: “Arising out of piled stones comes a portrait with it’s own identity. The form of the person is to some extent determined by the natural properties of this material, but the natural characteristics come nonetheless to the fore“.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Velvetine enjoys artwork and sculpture as much as I do so we take our time and start to wander…

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