OnLine | 21.6.2020
Born in Pretoria, South Africa, I have spent most of my life on the African continent.
I know what it is to wake to the early morning breeze and the gentle chirping of birds. I know too that one can expect this to be interrupted by the loud, raucous cries of the hadedas flying overhead in a group.
I have seen thorn trees, sunsets and animals in the wild and experienced what it is like to feel time standing still when watching animals slowly gather at a water hole.
There is no doubt in my mind that I am from Africa when I hear certain music that I can feel deep in my whole being, or when I realize that I have a specific sense of humour.
I have, however, also lived on other continents. I spent ten years living in Germany in Europe, ten years living in the United Arab Emirates in Asia, and am currently living in Canada in North America.
These opportunities, for which I am very grateful, have broadened my outlook on life and changed me in many ways, but have not eradicated my African roots.
When I return to South Africa for a visit, I am immediately greeted by the red soil, and every evening, I am particularly aware of a specific atmosphere and lingering light as sunset approaches.
A lover of travel, I have visited the continent of Australia. I would obviously still love to see South America. Antarctica, the only continent without indigenous human inhabitants and mostly only inhabited by scientists and staff could elude me – but who knows!
What truly excites me is that my art form has allowed me, and continues to allow me on a daily basis, to connect with people all over the globe. Each of my artworks is created entirely on my iPhone, and although I have had works printed onto recycled wood, aluminium and gauze-like veils I am also able via social media to share works immediately in cyberspace – a sphere which is not limited by physical location or time of day or night.
An explorer by nature, my curiosity when travelling, whether in cyberspace or around the globe, fuels my creative process.
Through my art, I explore time, space, interconnectedness, rootedness and movement. I call these new parameters ‘here2here’ as I send out a call to acknowledge the other, to broaden our perspectives and widen our embrace.
Living in Africa, I was always fascinated by the stories of the nomadic tribes such as the Tuareg of North Africa or the Khoisan of Southern Africa. When we moved to the UAE, I learnt more about the Bedouins whose centre was always changing as they moved through the borderless desert.
We live in a century of mobility which brings with its advantages as well as many challenges. The people in my iPhone artworks appear to be rooted in a moment, but at the same time, they are on the move and invite viewers to follow them to discover a story that is waiting to unfold.
When I am out photographing to capture scenes I can use in my iPhoneart, I use the Slow Shutter Cam App on my iPhone, then use other apps to create my own textures and blends, and to at times paint on my iPhone screen using my finger.
Part of a blossoming Mobile Art movement, I have been fortunate enough to have my works exhibited in Italy, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Qatar, UAE, Switzerland, USA and Spain and have also been honoured to receive numerous international awards.
My artworks feature people from different cultures and from all walks of life and are a reminder of our common humanity. There is a Southern African philosophy called “ubuntu” – I am because you are – which speaks to the fact that we are all connected.
Archbishop Tutu, who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1996 says, “We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world.”
As I use modern technology to create and send out my iPhone artworks into borderless realms, these words are always close to my heart.
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