ABOUT THE SCAPES PROJECT
SCAPES was a project that relied on an exploration and interaction with audiences (performance art), viewers (exhibitions) and participants (interactive events, performances and installations), and through this aimed to explore human interaction with scapes especially landscapes.
Through the project Janet Botes hoped to investigate ways in which art and creative interpretation could raise awareness and also create an interaction between artist, participant or individual with a specific environment or scape.
This included the execution of Land Art, such as the work of Richard Long and Strijdom van der Merwe, in which the artist uses natural found materials and objects in a natural environment and arranges or changes the site to express an idea, aesthetics or symbolism.
As part of the SCAPES project, 4 artists created land art in natural areas around Cape Town CBD, including Deer Park and Newlands Forest. The aim of these works and interaction in natural areas around the city was to encourage thinking and also appreciation for the natural areas, and thus inspiring the viewer to become more aware of the natural spaces that we have around us and that we should preserve.
"I am concerned with fragile balances both in the environment and the human condition. I use whatever comes to hand to express myself, and for this exhibition have concentrated on and celebrated those elements of nature present in abundance – earth, wood, rock and precious, pristine, reflective water. The stream is still flowing pure and strong, despite this being the end of one of the hottest, driest Cape summers! It always astounds me that this natural beauty is right here, gurgling away in our midst, as we juggle our busy and polluted lives.”
Andrée Bonthuys, March 2011
ABOUT LAND ART
Land Art is an international art form that developed in the late 60’s, early 70’s, in part a revolt against painting and sculpture and the perception of art as an acquirable commodity, and in part a return to the senses... and it is this return to the senses, carried out in nature, with nature as both canvas and material, which makes this Scapes project so delightful.
We are able to escape the busy world, hightail for the slopes of Table Mountain and access our creativity whilst focusing our senses, all in an intimate encounter with nature below one of the World’s recently proposed Heritage sites, Table Mountain. An experience which centres and focuses us, forces left/right brain switches and always seems to bring about heightened awareness, a sense of calm and often, personal transformation.
We observe, listen, touch and see. With hands as our only tools, resourcefulness is needed and only what is present is used – rocks, sand, leaves, sticks, reflective water, the landscape.
Nature may be the starting point, but conscious intervention results in Art which is entirely cultural. And principles of Art such as form, line, perspective, space, colour and texture must be considered. The ephemeral creations remain where they have been made to change and erode under natural conditions. Often all that remains is a photograph. And of course, a heightened awareness. Hopefully passers by, dog walkers and joggers will enjoy our endeavours and hopefully open their eyes afresh at the glorious nature available to all right in the midst of our city.
Written by Andreé Bonthuys, 2011