Swim. Don't Drown

 My favorite time to go swimming is either during winter or when it’s raining.

My favorite time to go swimming is either during winter or when it’s raining.

 

I began with little steps in a round pool swimming 5 stroke laps to get from side to side and in doing so I would be much more comfortable when I eventually started swimming in a full sized Olympic pool as pictured to the left here.

Yes. You read correctly. Today I'm not going to talk about photography. Well, I probably will, but in a roundabout way.

I swim. Not professionally or for competitive reasons, but purely for exercise and I suppose as a form of meditation. It gets boring. The repetition, but that's also what I kinda enjoy about it. The literal back and forth, lap after lap, lungs burning, oxygen deprived, limbs feeling like led weights.

I started swimming just over three years ago. I started off small in the pool at the estate where my friend, Ett lives. The reason being, that I became quite anxious having my head submerged under water; the way you’re supposed to swim. It's difficult to explain. I would equate it to being claustrophobic, but with all this open space around you in the water. The first time I experienced this was when I went snorkeling with a girlfriend of mine off the coast of Mozambique. I was excited to do it, but as soon as my head went under that water, my brain said; "Nope, no way! Why are you trying to drown yourself?" So I sat in the boat and tried not to vomit.

Now, three and a half years in, I swim 2-4 times a week. Some days are great and others are shit, just like most things in life. You have the days where you get into a groove and you’re gliding through the water, your breathing is in sync and everything just works. And then you get those days where you are a fucking ton of bricks and your ass is dragging so hard you might as well be walking along the bottom of the pool.

How does this relate to photography? Well, right now my ass is dragging and my thoughts are a ton of bricks, meaning I find myself in a space where creating seems impossible. However, my descent into that hole hasn’t been fully realized, in that I am combating it, by trying to arrange several projects to keep me from reaching the bottom, coz clawing my way out is always tough even if it is rewarding in the end.

That being said… A few things that have been keeping me busy are group exhibitions I’ve taken part in.
First up is the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition. My piece “Pietà” was selected back in 2015 and in subsequent years I’ve not had anything that featured until this year where my piece “Kanselkleed” (Pulpit Banner) was selected as part of the top 100 entries and I recently learned that it was selected with a few other pieces to be exhibited at the Sasol HQ in Sandton, Johannesburg.

 Kanselkleed (Pulpit Banner)

Kanselkleed (Pulpit Banner)

This past weekend was the first of three upcoming group exhibitions I am partaking in. The first one was at Banele Khoza’s new studio/gallery space; BKhz in Juta Street, Braamfontein. It’s running until 1 December and I urge you to go and check it out when you find yourself in the neighborhood. Not so much for my work but for the other artists taking part, especially Tatenda Chidora’s pieces.

The second exhibition is a one night only pop-up show at Trent Gallery on the 9th of November in Waterkloof where I’ll be exhibiting alongside some of my favourite local artists.

Liminal Feminine.jpg
 

Kanselkleed: Conceptual Statement

The artist invites the viewer into a dialogue between religion and consumerism. The work resembles a ‘Kanselkleed’ (Pulpit Banner), that is used in traditional churches to dress the pulpit according to the season in the liturgical year.

The banner is a dark red hanging on a century old wooden rod, red being used during the Easter Weekend in the church, the core season in the Christian year for many adherents. The wood could be a subtle reference to the cross, and to tradition as a whole in the church.

The words on the banner, ‘GELOOF KOOP LIEFDE’ (Faith Purchase Love), is a wordplay on the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love (Geloof, Hoop, Liefde). It is by this wordplay that the artist comments on both society’s worship and value of consumerism, and on religion’s incorporation of a consumerist culture.

The Gold trim amplifies these comments on consumerism, as seen in the ironic use of expensive décor and architecture in many church buildings. These words can also be read as a sentence, GELOOF KOOP LIEFDE (Faith Purchases Love). Commenting perhaps on the condition to adhere to certain dogma before one in included by the church or even by God.

I need to thank my friend Sheila-Madge Bakker for helping to make my vision a reality and Pierre du Plessis for helping to make sense of my words regarding the Synopsis of the piece.

 
Behind the Lens.jpg

Lastly there is a group charity exhibition coming up that my friend Banele Khoza is curating in collaboration with Absa titled “A letter to my 22 year old self”.
I am very lucky to be featured amongst some truly incredible artists including Banele himself, Justin Dingwall, Lady Skollie, Nina Torr, Heidi Fourie and many more I don’t even know.

In a nutshell these are some things that have been keeping me busy. In all honesty though I have not been making new work for these exhibitions, but rather showing work that relates to the themes of the show or work that has not yet seen the light of day.

That’s been my story for the last while since returning from my travels and working on the new website. Which you should definitely check out if you haven’t yet. There is a lot of new work up, plus a few older favourites.

Thanks for reading.