Stag bound for Queenstown

"Actaeon" a 2.4m high metal sculpture on a trailer bound for a prime spot in Queenstown was attracting attention before it even left Wanaka yesterday.
Sculptor Simon Max Bannister settled in Wanaka three months ago, continuing the work with animal sculptures he began in his hometown of Cape Town, South Africa. The stag is to be displayed at the Artbay Gallery on Queenstown's lakefront promenade. 

Elephant Art

In the game reserves of the Lowveld Sabi Sand, there are many Marula trees that bare the mark of the African elephant. I have noticed something quite unusual about these sometimes brutal gashes in the trunk of the trees…

By using their tusks, I believe the elephants are creating self portraits. whether this is conscious or unconscious is besides the point, the fact is that nature is fractal and these elephants are talented abstract artists too!

Burning the Temple

"The Offering" was an investigation into the architecture of fire and spirit. The temple space within the AfrikaBurn is dedicated to the process of transfiguration, to life and to love. It is for those that need sacred solace, for those that search for a sacred reverence in the revelry of the festival and in the emerging nature of its growing culture. In my design for the sculpture I searched for the elementary forms of other temples throughout history combining masculine and feminine lines. The triangular apex emerged as a physical and symbolic theme. This year would have been the third time I've designed and project led the build with my crew. Simon Max Bannister

The Offering, Wood and Steel, 17m x 6m x 7m, Fire Sculpture, AfrikaBurn 2014, Simon Max Bannister

Burnt on Sunday 4 May 2014, 7.30pm

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...

The "San Clan" glyph, plasma cut mild steel, served as the totem for the temple's shrine. Painted by the fire scarring process it endures to symbolise community, many heads, many legs running in the same direction.

See more of Afrikaburn

Walking with Art

Stand on this beautiful sand bank at the Kosi Bay river mouth and with the expert guidance of land artist Simon Max Bannister and conservationist Galeo Saintz, be part of creating something unique and once-off with nature. 

We’ve all done it, strolled along the beach or a path collecting bits of wood, shells or stones. Now we invite you to come and play with those wild elements while learning about ecology of place and the creative stimulating practice of land art. On the warm waters of Kosi Bay along the wild northeast coastline of South Africa, a diverse landscape of natural beauty awaits. Join a guided ecological and creative experience over three days: Explore the coastal dunes, dense forests, and lakes Sleep under the stars Create individual and collective artworks with personal guidance Discover deserted beaches Learn about the ecology of Kosi Bay Get some quiet solitude Enjoy the little things Conservationist Galeo Saintz and land artist Simon Max Bannister, have created an outdoor adventure that brings people closer to the experience of creating land art by walking, learning and having fun. Bringing awareness to your individual way of seeing and responding to the environment lets you discover nature in a whole new way. The guided experience affords deep immersion into ecology and the unfolding patterns of nature.. Kosi Bay offers wildlife, dense coastal forest, coastal dunes, sandy beaches, estuarine lakes and a host of wildlife as it is part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. Using only our hands as tools and what we sensitively gather from the ground, we practice a very pure form of land art that nurtures creativity and lateral thinking. It leaves a delicate trace of our human understanding in the wilderness, where it can decay, grow, move and transform. Explore Kosi Bay with google maps:,32.8177541,2848m/data=!3m1!1e3 Details: 11, 12, 13, 14 April 2014 Permits included All catering included Campsites on the Lake are already booked Simply provide your transport, tent and bedding Only 5 spaces available All inclusive: R4500 Contact:

Exploring Land Art

"In every walk with nature one finds far more than one seeks" 
Exploring land art for me is about simply stepping into the wilderness and finding inspiration with nature.
Land art takes you into the landscape, where the wild things are. In my creative journey, I have found many beautiful places and wish to share them in a conscious and engaging way. Based in South Africa, I personally guide walks in the bushveld, through forests, across rivers and along coastlines. 
Within groups of 4 -12, we walk and respond to the ecology of specific site phenomena. I demonstrate techniques and process, documenting the temporary traces we make together.
To demonstrate the concept, I recently completed a week of art making in the Blyde River and Tzaneen areas of South Africa, these are some of the results... 

Exploring Land Art: A Walk from Natures Valley to Keurbooms Beach, August 2013

This guided ecological and creative land art experience over two days along the coastline from Natures Valley to Keurbooms in the Garden Route South Africa, was envisioned and guided by conservationist Galeo Saintz and land artist Simon Max Bannister.

As part of the Site_Specific Land Art Bienalle, this walking experience aimed to inspire, motivate and cultivate a direct interaction with land art on the move. A few days ago 13 of us walked onto Natures Valley beach with dark swirling clouds over Formosa peak and mist rising from the Tsitsikamma forest.

Low tide had revealed a multitude of rock pools and the waves were moving gently through a variety of grays and blues. We began the experience by moving as group along the shoreline to the Salt River mouth. Through demonstration and interaction we invited participants to create with found materials, various themes on the "lifeblood of nature" as points of departure for their works. Some creations were individually realized and other larger pieces we worked together. Throughout the variety of coves, beaches and cliff tops we found stones and driftwood to work with, while in the coastal forest, branches leaves and bark became our paints and and the forest floor our canvas. We treaded gently, tracking the patterns and connections in nature, listening to the sounds of growth and decay. The experience was an immersion into the landscape, enhancing the senses, taking us deeper into the ecological diversity of the surrounds and brilliant forms of creation.

Poetry as a language of nature, was shared to bring awareness to topics explored while walking:

Everything is Walking
by Galeo Saintz
Everything is walking. The glaciers leave tracks in their wake with great valleys, the trees
walk over generations across the land, their spoor a forest of deep diversity. The mussels on
the sea rocks walk between tides and circle the moon. The sand on the dunes walks with the
wind collecting at a crest then rolling into the air and flying into the ocean to wander on
beneath the sea. To wash up one day again on another continent. And how did you get here?
Like I said everything is walking.

Using only our hands as tools and what we sensitively gathered from the ground, we practiced a very pure form of land art that really applies limitation and lateral thinking. It leaves a delicate trace of our human understanding in the wilderness, where it can decay, grow, move and transform.

Lifeblood of Nature
compilation by Simon Max Bannister and Galeo Saintz through a collection of quotes by Andy
Goldsworthy edited to form a poem.

Movement, light, change, growth, decay: this is the lifeblood of nature.
Here is where you can learn
here, each moment and material holds something to be discovered,
use the path of least resistance,
remember, perception is limitation,
fixed ideas prevent clarity
and form is void.
The work is the place, rooted.
get under the surface
work with love, knowledge and urge.

As a team we will continue to envision these walks into different wilderness areas of South Africa.  If you would like to walk with us as we explore the interactive capacity land art has to increase our understanding of nature, ecology and the creative spirit, then please get in contact with us.

Simon and Galeo

Compression : Afrika Burn

The title 'Compression' was inspired by trying to capture the feeling of earth and fire. The intensity, the compacted energy, the pressure that the force of the earth builds up and then releases. The title embodied the abstract piece, it conjured up a frozen explosion, a combustion cluster, an opening flower. Its intention was to hold a quiet reflective space in the festival that brought focus to the inner self, the alchemy of creation, life and death.

I envisioned an iconic alignment of fire.. the piece was built to inspire, to be interactive, to shelter and to ultimately burn. Taking its lead from 'Solace' I utilised a similar construction made of triangular plywood timber that would give a powerful connection to flamelike organic spires emerging from the earth, suggesting that more was buried below, that it had a sense of movement and expansion. The desired effect called for a chaotic symmetry of multifaceted self similar spires. These totem like forms created a circular effect and space that made a frame for the firedish at it's centre. Like a flower's pollen, the live element of real fire was essential to the cathartic release of those that visited in the darkest hours.