Saturday, March 29, 2014

Funding needed for bodymapping project and community workshops

Remember the Koekenaap workshop in which I participated in 2011? Refresh your memory by following this linkthis one, or read my Afrikaans account of the workshop. It was one of the opportunities created for artists in the region of the Namaqualand around Koekenaap, Klawer and Vredendal, and was organised by Desireé Brand and the Wesland Kunsvereniging. The workshop brought artists in from different areas of the Western Cape, creating a space for interaction, collaboration, art-making, discussion and ideas germination. It also culminated into an exhibition in Vredendal held at the Wesland Kunsvereniging, showcasing the work created during the 10-day workshop or residency. 

Artmaking during the 2011 regional Koekenaap workshop

Desireé is now running another similar project that forms part of her research at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, focusing on the state of art and artmaking in the Olifantsrivier Valley of Namaqualand.  The area plays host to a lot of creative and talented people, however there is no public art, galleries or other platforms for local artists. It's difficult enough for artists to create great art despite criticism and self-doubt, but it's even worse when there is no platform, no support and no community for the creative work that you do and to share your interest and passion for art. The following photographs documents one of the workshops organized as part of the new project. The workshop took place on the farm Begin!, located on the R362 between Klawer and Vredendal in the Western Cape. 

The current project is focused on doing body-mapping with people from different sectors - bringing together farm workers, people from the towns and people from the townships in a supportive space where their creativity can be explored and utilised into shaping a collective. Up to now the funding for projects such as this has come from the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport, but this workshop is the last project that will be funded by the department, leaving a huge gap that needs to be filled. This is where you come in... If you can support or fund the project in any way, please contact Desireé at +27 27 2132567 or

Originally posted/cross-posted on the Green Your Art blog

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Current Experiments and Expressions

At any particular time I usually have to put in time and effort to clear space on my studio table. I am always surrounded by unfinished works (it's a curse!), experiments, natural materials from a recent walk or the garden, notes, quick sketches, and other bits that contribute to the chaos in my studio. Often I have gems hiding in unexpected corners because of this, and sometimes I am able to group together things that really work well together. Here's a selection of some of the many things that are currently occupying surface space in the studio:

A beautiful richly-coloured soil from the garden. I have no idea what I would like to do with it, I might end up making it finer with my mortar-and-pestle, and taking a photo of it strewn onto a piece of glass - then using the photo in the Nuances work I am currently working on. 

Some abstract sketches, possibly in preparation of some of the bigger works for my exhibition:

More bits of 'work in progress'

One of the pieces of seaweed from my recent Gordon's Bay sessions, now stitched onto paper with brown thread:

Detail from a large mixed media artwork in progress:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Expressing the almost unexpressable

Janet Botes
Ink and coffee on fine art paper
420 x 297mm (unframed)

My abstract works generally diverge from the overall environmental focus of my work. These works are rather more personal, inspired by emotional responses to life events or circumstances, especially in times of change. Created in a style in line with Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism, relying on automatism - a very spontaneous, free or automatic approach that aims to express the creative force of the unconscious. 

Janet Botes
Beetroot juice and ink on fine art paper
594 x 420mm (unframed)

Made to represent my first seven days after moving out of Cape Town City, the artwork expresses the emotional turmoil and challenges in adapting to a new environment. The cellular shapes also relates to the seven chakras of the human body - signifying the importance of groundedness and connection to our own body and energy in our wellbeing - physical as well as psychologically. Within those first days of a new life in a new place I maintained sanity or equilibrium through exercise and religiously healthy eating. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tread Lightly
feel the delicate flutter of wings against your legs
Walk Silently
hear the distinctive sound of crickets calling their mates
Speak Softly
acknowledge the gentle balance that earth tries to hold

Odonata, 2014, ink and coffee on cartridge paper,29cm 40cm

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wat 'n week...

Tussendeur stofwolke
Bly roepende stemme
deur die deure ongetolke
Stomp dowwe geluide
Wat terg en pla aaneen
Waar ek sit en werk alleen

Soggens op voor hanekraai
Om buite sproeiers oop te draai
Sodat plantjies bietjies kan groei
Tussendeur e-pos en oproep
klientvraag beantwoord
En oor-en-oor verandering aanbring

Wydstaan hoekstaan bakstaan
Vir man en self, vir leef en vergeef
En om my vlugdrang te verdring
Getikte woorde - sinneloos, ongeerg -
kragteloos om uiting te gee
Aan hierdie wilde woeste week

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Sketchbook Snapshot: found today - a leaf & thread

I found today
a leaf and thread
that binds me to the earth
I think today 
that we belong
with our hearts bound tightly to our land

I know today
that you might not always
think and know this truth
I believe today
that someday you'll also awaken
to the tender thread that binds you to nature

Sunday, March 2, 2014


solitude can bring you wisdom
 but love and companionship brings growth.
I walk among mountains within desert landscapes
to find myself. to find inner peace. 
I then return to the people I love,
and share the insights, wisdom and happiness.
And so together we can learn and grow. 
Next time I take you with me into the desert,
into the mountains. 

JB, 2014. 
Photographs taken in the South Sinai, Egypt.