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Its that time of year again, you know? Its that crazy time of year again when everything is happening. The last curtain call and everyone is on stage, before the show ends and we enter 2016.

If there ever was a tumultuous year, this was the one. 2015 has seen much discontent culminating in the student marches to the (self-serving and disconnected) president at the Union Buildings, not even two weeks ago. At last, the voices of of the future of this beautiful country are being heard, not quite in harmony but at least not singing a defined political tune. Let the momentum of this bring us back to sensibility.

On a personal level there were lots of ups and downs. I don’t think I have ever been as productive as this year. Many exhibitions and sales to boot, keeping the home fires burning. Trips are planned to expand my creative reach (more to follow later). A grand show of Southern African glass will take place during Cool Capital at the Pretoria Art Association by the end of next year which Dr. Ingram Anderson and I are curating. In March a solo exhibition at Long Street Art Lovers is already stimulating my focus.
Like all journeys one has to traverse the dark valleys to get to the other side. Luckily the view from the next hillock inspires “Fortschritt”.

So, here we are. November 2015. I’ll turn 42 next week. Still feel 25 though…

One of my highlights this year was a Roger Ballen photographic workshop coordinated by the Alternative Print Workshop’s Dennis and Janus. We had a derelict building at One Fox Street, down town Johannesburg, to our disposal. “Bring props”, they said, and we did. I thoroughly enjoyed the environment of learning by doing. Roger made his rounds through the building and gave us 16 participating photographers tips, comments and compliments.
This interaction has been invaluable to my photographic “eye”. As I told Roger, we were busy taking pictures and he came around sprinkling a few grains of salt here and there, sharing his magic with us, making us look at the small things, the details.

Thank you Roger! God is indeed in the detail.

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What a week! What a month!

Several exhibitions are lined up for the next few weeks.

Tomorrow evening, the 1st of October sees the opening of “Abundant Abstraction” at Art It Is. This is a new gallery just down the road from the “Gallery Strip” on Jan Smuts Ave, Rosebank.

Next week the Clover Aardklop Festival opens in Potchefstroom with two group shows which I am part of.
The first is titled: “Games People Play” curated by Yannis John Generalis, Gordon Froud and co-curator Doreen de Klerk.
The show takes place at the North-West University (NWU) Botanical Gardens and Art Gallery in Potchefstroom. The exhibition will feature artists Angus Taylor, Izanne Wiid, Jaco Sieberhagen, Sybrand Wiechers, Jan van der Merwe, Steven Bosch, Neil Nieuwoudt, Richardt Strydom, Eric Duplan, Yannis John Generalis, Belinda Leontsinis, Kevin du Plessis, Gordon Froud, St. John Fuller, Dirk Bahmann, Vusi Mxolisi Beauchamp, Lothar Böttcher and others.
(https://www.facebook.com/The-Games-People-Play-839233689523783/timeline/)

The second, and notably ground breaking exhibition titled: “Betwixt & Between”, curated by Thabang Monoa, and explores contemporary Glass Art in Southern Africa. This will be the first of its kind show, on the visual arts “stage” for any of the major art festivals in South Africa.
Participating artists include: Retief van Wyk, Martli Jansen van Rensburg, Thabang Monoa, Bongani Dlamini, Liesl Roos, Rayan Manuel, yours truly and more.

Many happy tidings and hope to see you at one of these exciting shows.

Instalens

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Blossom.

Go outside and see life emerging from nooks and crannies. It is almost Spring and nature is reactivating, energy’s emerging everywhere and things are blossoming…

 

Blossom is on show at Art It Is for “Upcycle Chic”

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Jozi(Pty)Ltd2015

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Tonight, 02 July 2015, sees the opening of Jozi(Pty)Ltd. at Art It Is Gallery. This is a group sculpture exhibition featuring Lucas Thobejane, Gordon Froud, John Moore and Lothar Böttcher. Several younger and upcoming artists are also taking part in this contemporary collective of creative explorations.

The show will run till beginning August. Please follow this link to Art It Is for more information.

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I am tired. Today has been a long, strenuous day. We live across the road from an informal settlement. Rumours were flying last night about a possible protest march and blockade of the main artery from Moloto, ferrying workers to their various destinations of employment throughout Pretoria.
At eight thirty p.m confirmation of the possible disruption was broadcast by our local police chief through community WhatsApp channels.
Night had already thrown its thick cold blanket over us. Tension was building inside and outside our house. The intended march was to start at 02:00am and uncertainty muddied our thoughts on potential disaster.
Two o’clock came and we slept lightly. At 03:30 our power went off. No electricity, restlessness mounting its steed…
By four a.m. the WhatsApp channels were buzzing with messages of crowds and barricades on the Moloto road. SAPS, Metro and POPS were ready for them and managed to disperse and prevent a major blockage, on this very busy thoroughfare. It could have been an ugly situation but alas it didn’t turn that way.
At five I was up and made a coffee by gaslight. I could hear shots and shouting from the roadside, “rubber bullets and tear gas” I was told later in the day.
By seven the kids had breakfast and Nicki left the house. I checked the road before they left and there was no way they could get through the throng of people and barricades placed on our Spioenkop road. The best would be to turn righ, away from the main road and take a detour, around the block and along Maroela ave. towards the R573.
They did and Nicki phoned later on after she dropped the children at school that she was intimidated by some of these roughnecks to turn back home. Knowing her she ignored their demands and carried on driving, luckily not over them…
Inglin had to move some stones placed as obstacles to get through to Maroela ave. and they were out of here.
I presume the march and protest is in connection with housing demands of the tenants of the informal settlement on Plot 175. Some rumours also state it is about job opportunities and cancelled projects. Either way, people are fed up. They are fed up because nothing has changed much for the good or better in the last 20 years.

The urban influx of people is accelerating throughout Africa. We cannot deny this fact…
The economy is slowing, unemployment and inflation are destroying prospects of hope. Education has been a farce and still is with greater divides between public and private schooling.
Our dependence on the”super hero” state machinery has become almost comical. We have been indoctrinated that the state of this fine republic has all the answers and will solve all our problems. It has managed to diminish the potential we all have as individuals, to learn and achieve greatness, to respect each other and to be selflessly involved in building our communities.

I want to see independence, growth and opportunities for everyone. A country where people respect and are respected.
I see a country that has a state working for its people and not the people working to keep the status quo.
I see a nation filled with pride and possibilities, fearless and caring. A future with great potential.
I also see a lot of work. We all have to lend a hand, without expecting immediate return, with a vision of a future where we can be one, South Africans, proud and strong.

06-05-15

Its dark. Our electrical network is shedding its load, “Disconnect Meditation” hour for many, actually getting used to the …
Thinking… Things are bad with lots of hope. One step at a time,one step at a time to a common goal. Lots of steps to take yet, but it starts with the first step. Find a common direction and start walking, together.
Direction is important but the paths are multitude.

Over the past few weeks many initiatives and conversation about glass and exhibitions were kindled. I suspect a fire is building. Great things are coming!
Lots of hard work ahead and looking sooo forward tucking in. Just placing these words bitby bit on this screen is becoming a liberation. (I also wish my space bar worked properly.)

(and there its gone,that tingling feeling I got in my gut. That rumble tumble,tapping along , bursts from my fingertips. And soon I’ll probably put a nail into the space bar.
Attenzione!! Attenzione!!
The moment has started and now its forward. Head for the hills!
07-05-15

Day two. It has been two days now that Nicki has gone down to Cape Town for Kamers. Sounds like they had a good start today.
It’s also dark again… Last night the power was out till six this morning. HEY! Lights are on!!

You know what this means? I am connected to the outside again…

Whew, I’m glad we got lights again. A whole night seems stressful. Without electricity, that is. (I really would enjoy typing more if the keyboard,the space bar, would work properly!)
But what to do?

I’m diverting my attention now with some intertainment.
09-05-15

Good morning. It is Saturday. Laundry in the machine, spinning, spinning.

Thinking back on this week… It has been filled with many conversations, positive and progressive plotting of the future. Mainly discussions revolved around glass. Some were enlightened observations, of a personal nature, which hit home. Actually this particular conversation was about strings, how strings are metaphors of personal attachments and the depth of their connections. Where do we come from? What is influencing our current behaviour?
I am fortunate to have these insights and people, friends who want to share and grow. I feel alive!

This morning I read an article in the Mail & Guardian (http://mg.co.za/article/2015-05-07-i-fear-for-the-future-here-in-south-africa) by Trevor Ncube. I agree that the many of the troubles in our country come from strings attached far far back into history and relationships. I also agree that the leadership in our country is completely non-inspiring.
My personal observation is that politics is too embedded in national discourse. To much time and energy is spent on who is doing what and how must it be done etc.
More time must be spent on getting the shit done. It starts with taking the first step, irrespective if it might be the wrong one. We must move away from this polarised space and quit blaming others for our own inabilities.
We must take responsibility for our own freedom. We must realise that it will take constant hard work forever to liberate ourselves.

Yesterday I installed my sculpture at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia. The title of this work is “Web” and consists of several facetted lenses with holes drilledthrough them. Each lens is suspended among trees via string through the holes.
I had an idea and could see an image in my head. Each step was intuitive. I loved the process of making and would like to refer this to my above statement of taking steps.
I knew where I wanted to go and by just starting and going I traversed this space of uncertainty to a pleasing result of my labour.

Please come and see these amazing journeys undertaken by fearless artists at Jozi Landart opening tomorrow at noon by Jenny Crwys-Williams.

Artists participating in this third edition of Jozi Land Art: Lucas Thobejane, Lothar Böttcher, Anni Snyman, Erica Luttich, Gordon Froud, Chris Reinders, George Holloway, Moira McMurray, Sybrand Wiechers, Ronel Wheeler, Yannis Generalis, Di Miller, Gail Wilson, Colleen Winter, Lew Rosenberg, Suzanne Shaw, Ann-Marie Tully and Andrea Rolfes, Marilyn du Toit and Chantel Marais.
The opening is Sunday 10 May at 12:00.

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So, I have started this blog and am at odds of what exactly to post. Do I promote myself and build up an identity to be broadcast all over the globe? What do I want to get out of a blog? This last question might be the key to my dilemma.
I want to voice my opinion. I want to say lots of things on lots of different themes. I love art. I love art with glass and think I have a keen eye recognising good art made of glass. I love reading. I read about news and happenings to inform myself, of maybe understanding my place in all this. There is so much media and information at our fingertips. This is great but also has its perils.
Come to think of it my sculptures have been dealing with mass media and our perception or perspective of the world due to its influence.
I have used the narrative of our accelerated interconnectedness by making lenses. These are metaphors of mass-produced electronic devises – our information feeding troughs, if you like. All the information we feed on can be considered second hand. Broad cast moments ago…
My lenses explore this notion. My lenses are designed to play with immediacy. They “beam” all the direct info / light / image from beyond into the viewers eye. They encourage the awareness and experience of that which is here around us right now.

It saddens me that we are standing on the brink of full blown violence yet again. I can but only hope that sensibility will prevail and that the past which shaped this nation will guide us through this perilous time.
We must hold on to our humanity and understand that we all bleed red, all have similar desires. We must focus on the future we want for our children and realize it will only be possible through hard work and working together.
Everything that has been accomplished thus far will be destroyed if we don’t take responsibility and selflessly lead our beloved South Africa out of these days of darkness.

 

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