Block A: Thokoza Women’s Hostel – Angela Buckland

Angela Buckland’s BLOCK A, Thokoza Women’s Hostel is a second instalment of BLOCK A, Jacob’s Mens Hostel. The work extensively elaborates on living conditions in an urban African city.

Thokoza is the oldest women’s hostel in South Africa and is situated in Durban. Originally one of the only residential spaces where black women could live in the city in Apartheid, there is a lot of speculation as to whether they are good or bad for those who live in them, cramped into small living spaces while also being liberated from many familial or patriarchal pressures.

This work intrigued me since it carries such weight, it serves as a valuable piece of documentation and also because, I myself, am finding a greater love for photography as a medium every day. It was an intensive installation process but at the end of the day every experience in the art world ads another thread to your cloth of knowledge and skill.

There are apparently many issues between the younger and older people in the hostel.

There are apparently many issues between the younger and older people in the hostel.

The doors, each a portal to another room within which anything from three to nine or more people have to share a space meant for only three people.

The doors, each a portal to another room within which anything from three to nine or more people have to share a space meant for only three people.

Installation view from a distance.

Installation view from a distance.

An example of a row that is longer, meaning that the room is filled with a lot more people.

An example of a row that is longer, meaning that the room is filled with a lot more people.

Angela Buckland, the artist, shared many intimate moments with the residents as can be seen here.

Angela Buckland, the artist, shared many intimate moments with the residents as can be seen here.

Try and imagine that your whole world, your home, is basically just the space of a bed.

Try and imagine that your whole world, your home, is basically just the space of a bed.

The information of each card lends to this massive artwork a depth that is equally massive.

The information of each card lends to this massive artwork a depth that is equally massive.

Getting the bed by the window is something one earns. It also means that you stay in the corner and that there is more of a sense of privacy not having to be between two beds.

Getting the bed by the window is something one earns. It also means that you stay in the corner and that there is more of a sense of privacy not having to be between two beds.

The Beginning – Rowland Daniel

I recently had the great pleasure of working with the artist Rowland Daniel. This incredibly humble sculptor has been working on his art part time for over 20 years and only recently took it up full time. I was lucky enough to work with him on his very first solo-exhibition in the NWU Botanical Garden and Gallery. I found his works to be honest and straight forward while the recycled materials remind us of our duty to encourage green living and green art making!

An installation shot of the gallery.

An installation shot of the gallery.

Amazing rock pieces in Rowland's garden at his house. I like to think of them as thinking stones. Definitely an installation for the philosophers and thinkers among us.

Amazing rock pieces in Rowland’s garden at his house. I like to think of them as thinking stones. Definitely an installation for the philosophers and thinkers among us.

Probably my favourite sculptures in the exhibit. These guys are simple but clever and very aesthetically pleasing.

Probably my favourite sculptures in the exhibit. These guys are simple but clever and very aesthetically pleasing.

A mask made from recycled metal and reworked throw-away bricks. Modelled on the artist's own features.

A mask made from recycled metal and reworked throw-away bricks. Modelled on the artist’s own features.

A fountain sculpture made by Rowland as a commission. Though this isn't one of the artist's great artistic achievements, this late-afternoon moment was too beautiful not to post.

A fountain sculpture made by Rowland as a commission. Though this isn’t one of the artist’s great artistic achievements, this late-afternoon moment was too beautiful not to post.

One of his bronze works.

One of his bronze works.

A native American in resin.

A native American in resin.

A mask made from recycled steel.

A mask made from recycled steel.

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The Lotus Eaters – Barbara Wildenboer

I worked on this exhibition at the end of last year. The works speak of natural resources and, of course, water specifically. Wildenboer is a gifted artist with fresh interpretations on a subject we tend to forget. Her incorporation of The Odyssey by Homer is both smart and lends to the exhibit a sense of romanticism. Enjoy the shots!

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The boat filled with rocks makes a beautiful metaphor for the human race’s treatment of our resources and “Penelope’s Web” at the back is well-placed to fill in the air and also remind us that water is all around!

This work in particular was beautiful to see when there  was a slight breeze or when someone opens the door too quickly.

This work in particular was beautiful to see when there was a slight breeze or when someone opens the door too quickly.

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Beautiful lotus leaves made  from laser-cut maps.

Beautiful lotus leaves made from laser-cut maps.

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Each panel was shot at a different time of day, hence the beautiful palate.

Each panel was shot at a different time of day, hence the beautiful palate.

2000 boats folded from pages of The Odyssey. (Folding that amount, of course, affords you a wish)

2000 boats folded from pages of The Odyssey. (Folding that amount, of course, affords you a wish)

CBD Portrait

I love Johannesburg and all it has to offer. I spent a day walking around in the CBD and saw and experienced the beautiful, the sad, the happy, the stink. I will do it again soon, though this was the first time I truly felt out of place. My whiteness did not blend, it was not always well-received and when it was I was very much aware of how my camera was exploiting their day to day living. I paid a couple to take their portrait, and I gave to them what I could spare out of the bulked baggage of white privilege on my back. I thank them.

"CBD Portrait". 2014. Johannesburg, South Africa.

“CBD Portrait”. 2014. Johannesburg, South Africa. (prints available)

The Garden at Night, by Gerhard Marx

Goodman artist Gerhard Marx was invited to be festival artist at the 2014 Clover Aardklop and I had the pleasure of working with him and photographing his work. The Garden at Night is a show about nature, about humanity, and about how those two things connect with one another. The intense dedication to detail and perfection is this artist’s greatest attribute while also working with very unique media.

View of an "Animal" carcass through which can be seen two of Marx's big "Carpets".

View of an “Animal” carcass through which can be seen two of Marx’s big “Carpets”.

"Mother and Child".

“Mother and Child”.

An inside-view of one of the "Animals".

An inside-view of one of the “Animals”.

An example of the kind of material used to make up images on the polished black surfaces.

An example of the kind of material used to make up images on the polished black surfaces.

The stand for the "Animal" carcass is also designed and engineered by Marx. It is flexible in terms of position and can swirl around to create many different interpretations.

The stand for the “Animal” carcass is also designed and engineered by Marx. It is flexible in terms of position and can swirl around to create many different interpretations.

One if Marx's "Animals". The carcasses are made through a long and careful process of cutting and fitting pieces of bracken together, always finding the exact right bend to achieve perfect balance.

One of Marx’s “Animals”. The carcasses are made through a long and careful process of cutting and fitting pieces of bracken together, always finding the exact right bend to achieve perfect balance.

"Vertical Figure". This beautiful work made up of a polished and worked black surface with ground down plant root material takes the human form back to its origins as part of the planet's miracle of life.

“Vertical Figure”. This beautiful work made up of a polished and worked black surface with ground down plant root material takes the human form back to its origins as part of the planet’s miracle of life.

The counter weight on the stand of "Vertical Figure". Designed and engineered by the artist, this add-on links the work to the maps as a sort of map-making instrument.

The counter weight on the stand of “Vertical Figure”. Designed and engineered by the artist, this add-on links the work to the maps as a sort of map-making instrument.

This work is made up entirely of cut-up pieces of maps with no extra lines added. The artist shows his dedication to the subject matter superbly.

This work is made up entirely of cut-up pieces of maps with no extra lines added. The artist shows his dedication to the subject matter superbly.

The title view of the exhibition. "The Garden at Night" is a beautiful title and brings to the works an element of mystery, referring to the ongoing growing processes we never truly get to witness due to the slower nature of growing things.

The title view of the exhibition. “The Garden at Night” is a beautiful title and brings to the works an element of mystery, referring to the ongoing growing processes we never truly get to witness due to the slower nature of growing things.

"Scion: child" is a bronze sculpture but was first sculpted with small pieces of bracken.

“Scion: child” is a bronze sculpture but was first sculpted with small pieces of bracken.

These editioned works are meant to bring to the installation the human element which forms part of art talking mostly about organic matter.

These editioned works have to with the bifocal nature of human sight. It connects to the works all focusing our attention to that which we may not always be able to truly see: the busy organic world living all around us.

An almost full view of the installation.

An almost full view of the installation.

The material used to fit together the "Animal" carcasses.

The material used to fit together the “Animal” carcasses.

Theatre lights used to light up the two carpets on display making the pop out in the gallery space and almost seem like they are back-lit.

Theatre lights used to light up the two carpets on display making them pop out in the gallery space and almost seem like they are back-lit.

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The two large carpets. Plant root material used to give a bird's eye view of maps as they are from above. These works especially makes you see the earthy elements of what underlies all of our roads and buildings, which may not always come across on the maps we use.

The two large carpets. Plant root material used to give a bird’s eye view of maps as they are from above. These works especially makes you see the earthy elements of what underlies all of our roads and buildings, which may not always come across on the maps we use.

A portrait that I took of the artist, Gerhard Marx. He is signed at one of the most reputable galleries in South Africa, the Goodman Gallery. Gerhard is a perfectionist in his artwork and even when installing his work. It was a great pleasure working with him.

A portrait that I took of the artist, Gerhard Marx. He is signed at one of the most reputable galleries in South Africa, the Goodman Gallery. Gerhard is a perfectionist in his artwork and even when installing his work. It was a great pleasure working with him.

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"Horizontal Figure". This work was my favorite in the exhibition. The detail the plant-root material lends to this almost magical work is phenomenal. To me, it also connects to the oh-so-holy human body heading back into the earth and forming part of the on-going natural recycling process.

“Horizontal Figure”. This work was my favorite in the exhibition. The detail the plant-root material lends to this almost magical work is phenomenal. To me, it also connects to the oh-so-holy human body heading back into the earth and forming part of the on-going natural recycling process.

Two new maps, or "Carpets", made using Google Maps.

Two new maps, or “Carpets”, made using Google Maps.

A detail of one of the "Carpets" made from plant root material.

A detail of one of the “Carpets” made from plant root material.

On My Way to Work

The walk to my job takes me about 15-20 minutes in the mornings. The road stretches from my front gate straight to where I work. First crisscross through the traffic, people hurrying to where they need to be, I notice the shops all starting to open up, the car guards (because what is a South African parking space without one?), the street children still hanging around like they never leave. Then the isle of construction. about two blocks of dust and rubble and workers in hard hats all warmed up and working long since I first opened my eyes in bed.

The walk to my job takes me about 15-20 minutes in the mornings. The road stretches from my front gate straight to where I work. First, I crisscross through the traffic, people hurrying to where they need to be, I notice the shops all starting to open up, the car guards (because what is a South African parking space without one?), the street children still hanging around like they never leave. Then the isle of construction. About two blocks of dust and rubble and workers in hard hats all warmed up and working long since I first opened my eyes in bed. I enter the dust filled dome-like stretch trying to keep my feet clear of the fine grains only too eager to stick to my shoes…and then today, this woman walks in front of me. She is pushing what seems to be a confection stand covered with old withered material. At first I thought, clever girl. See an opportunity to make some money, grab it head on. But no, as I passed her I noted that the stand was empty. Not a thing, the holes in the cover peeked in at empty shelves. Why was she pushing her empty trolley through this wasteland of construction, who the fuck knows?

Playing it safe

My first entry for the Swedish Innovation Photography Competition.

My first entry for the Swedish Innovation Photography Competition. The competition calls for the use of a Swedish innovation to be used in a South African context. I worked with safety matches. Referencing sayings surrounding the idea of “playing with matches” and the concept of the “safety” match in the hands of a child. “Playing it safe” by Kevin du Plessis.