Journey across South Africa: Black &
During my journeys
across the globe I tried to see cultural, social and political
environments in relation to nature.
September 10 we visited, Johannesburg City: we walk alongside a local
market in Alexander Township. I noticed that they sold pieces of earth.
I discovered that women, who are pregnant, traditionally eat these
pieces of earth. This indicated a link between being a mother and earth.
I South Africa we
visited Ingrid Gruin and Chatillon’ s house and garden- were told about
spirit rocks by Credo Mutwa. Ingrid Gruin offered a gift to me. A book
named Adam's Calendar.
September we then drove into the Redhill Settlement Village. We
approached a group sitting round a fire. One of the women had orange
ochre on her face, I questioned her what it was and they showed us the
local clay rock. A man then decided to crush some with water and paint
his face to demonstrate; he then painted my face too.
This was quite amusing
for the people watching and so we seemed to be welcomed by the
community. We then ventured deeper into the village, were welcomed to
see inside some people’s shacks (houses). We met a young man by the name
of Steven and asked if he would like to be part of the Zebra hand
project. Max drew with charcoal and rock on some of the rusted
corrugated iron, while I carved giraffes into a large rock.
In South Africa I saw
a society that shows a mixture of Africa and the West. I felt still
after many years that the dominating effects of Apartheid are not over;
there is distance and gap between poor and the rich, black and white.
Kate Grogh and
I am not black, nor
white, perhaps something in between. Having this color, I also met many
respected people, mostly white, who try to bring equality. They do their
best to educate the society whose majority is black.
We shouldn’t forget
that regardless of races or richness or poorness, now we face with
global social, political and of course ecological crises.
Our children, like my
little fish cannot survive in a polluted environment.
We must help them to
This is a duty where
there are many hands that need to touch.
The pattern on the skin of a zebra inspired me to realize a project
named “black and white”, where I paint with white color on black skin
and black color on white skin to make them similar.
This can also affect
the life of other creatures.
and collaboration we may be able to build a better environment for us,
other creatures, and of course the next generation.
Max and I arranged a
workshop and created a collaborative work with some African children. We
encouraged them to collect waste material and to create music with these
items, a magical way to recreate new life with discarded objects. Max
encourages them to paint with chalk on the rocks, and so they made an
environmental installation. We enjoyed their creativity and dance. It
was a great day.
At Eden campus I used
a video projection and design of a shell spiral on the face of Max.
usually likes archetypal symbols such as spiral or circle. I also
extended my project named border, which started in Serbia.
Max says as a South
African, he has European heritage in the family. So having this
background, one can question, which culture is he? The same question can
be raised for larger communities that include people from many
nationalities, do we shape our borders or do borders shape us? The
concept behind this project is that we live within the racial,
geographical, political, social and cultural borders. Despite all
political conflicts, in comparison to past times, now people are more
mobile and so, more mixed cultures will be born.
Another new experience
for me was to use colored earth on the body of a Whale shark. I paint a
three-headed snake on the body of shark.
I use colored earth
and decided to create my own “mythological creature” and proceeded to
paint a three-headed snake on the body of the shark.
A three headed snake
for Persian is a dragon and related to dualistic religion of
Zoroastrian. It was symbol of evil. At a later Islamic period, a famous
Persian poet converted this evil power to an evil king who had two
snakes on his shoulder. In a way within Islamic
monotheism, old mythology
survived as now Persians read it. Furthermore, Moslem mystics
interpreted a dragon or any evil symbols such as divas, as our deeds and