Sunday, 27 July 2008

OK, at last, here's the new batch.

My solo exhibition at the new Blou Vrou (Blue Lady) Gallery opened on Friday night. The opening was fun, thanks to all those who came along. The show runs till 8th August, and is a mixture of new works, with selected older works that show the progression of how ideas and styles evolve into new ones.

The new works are a further exploration of the "Africa Weeping" idea, using running paint to depict the meltdown that is taking place in so many societies and economies on the continent. Within that framework, I have explored differences between rich and poor, and also hopefully managed to express the courage of the women, who hold their families together against the odds. I also hoped to show the spirit of the children, who, despite facing the bleakest of futures, manage to still be children, and make their own toys, or just have fun. Despite the terrible conditions so many live under, they have a dignity and cheerfulness that is a real lesson to many in wealthy societies who seem to do nothing but be dissatisfied with their lot in life.
Many of the children are depicted as faceless, in similar white garb, because to the rest of the world they are often seen as faceless hungry masses rather than unique individuals. The scenery, clothing, cattle and features of the people are typical of Northern Africa, as I have been using photgraphs taken by my kids, working amongst the displaced people in Sudan, as inspiration. But I have deliberately kept them non specific, as many of the problems there are common to most of the continent.
Sometimes I have detailed a face, and tried to show the strength and dignity behind the pain.

One man's wealth is another man's.....


Vortex, 400x400mm
Using the rich warm colours of Africa to again express turmoil and meltdown, this is pure abstract.

1st world 3rd world, bridging the divide.


Africa weeps for her children 2



Africa weeps for her children 2


Africa weeps for her children 4



Does anyone care?


The next two are dealing with special South African issues:

Heritage under threat



This painting was inspired by a comment we had on our Port Elizabeth Daily Photo blog, on the post called Red Location. ( it highlights the destruction of the historic cottages there, Visit Facebook to join the group "Save the historical Red Location Cottages" at )

The Red Location is one of the blots on Port Elizabeth, a black township, established by the British Colonial Government in 1903, and made worse under apartheid. It is a place of abject poverty, most of the residents living in shacks made of waste material, plastic, old corrogated iron and weathered timber, on the edge of a windswept wetland overlooking the sea. It was the place where the anti-apartheid movement in the Eastern Cape flourished and many amazing stories of underground meetings and couragious resistence are told. The multi-award winning Red Location Museum has been established there, to celebrate the courage of the resistance leaders, and bring much needed tourist money to help upgrade the living standards of those who live there. If the history of red location interests you, Max and I did some posts about it when we visited last year, and also went into the origins, when we discussed Richmond Hill on the PEDP blog. Anyway, sadly the original shacks, which are national monuments and need to be preserved as a reminder of what this nation has been through and that we must never allow such things to happen again, are being stolen bit by bit, and sold to scrap dealers, and outrage over this prompted the painting. The gold stripes represent the stitches that we need in order to repair the torn fabric of our society. The words read "The time is running out. It is urgent that we unite and work together to mend the rips in the fabric of our society. Our freedom was won at a high cost – and we have the opportunity to rebuild and restore – but there are too many who vandalise, steal and destroy. We need to end the negative actions and save our heritage to remind us of our past- then build the future hand in hand.”

Happy Birthday Madiba



This one is special to me because it is a tribute to my hero (and I am not a person who easily puts anyone on a pedestal, I firmly believe in treating all people with the same respect and dignity, be thry royalty or a humble street sweeper.) But my respect for Nelson Mandela is enormous. Last week, on the 18th July he celebrated his 90th Birthday, and I did this painting on that day to celebrate the occasion. The quotation from Madiba reads: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."


And finally here is one that was done on site at the Algoa Bay yacht club when I went there with some friends to paint en plein air the week before last. (We also went last week, that painting is still in the pipeline.)


Jenty said...

oh wow Sue, they're stunning! My favourite is Vortex

Anonymous said...

Dear Sue

Wow! Your artworks are stunning! I went to visit with two other Red Location Museum staff members.

We loved the work you did on the Red Location Cottages and I discussed with the Museum Curator afterwards....

Your works are super reasonably priced as well - I personally loved the Boabab painting - the one that's number two on your list.



Suzi-k said...

Hi, thanks for the visit Nette. I am so sad to hear the shacks are already gone, it is such a shame. But thanks for all your efforts to raise awareness.