Ah, back to wild cliffs and sea air.. After my recent workings with plastic pollution, I have found that more earthly materials are calling me again. I have travelled to the Garden Route, a favourite place of mine to make a vision real. I always wanted to do work in the area, something big and powerful, strong and enduring. So when the location was found by Eden to Addo and the support of the Kranshoek community confirmed, I was truly overjoyed.
The site is located on the far edge of town, a small dirt track takes you almost right to the cliff edge. The piles of broken white stone all around showed that it was once a working quarry. Overgrown and neglected, the locals have always said "something should happen here". It sits in a borderline space, a no man's land on route to the beach far below. I have seen the potential for the work to bring the community together, to focus the space to better the stillness, beauty and wilderness this location has to offer.
Eden to Addo’s First Land Art piece within the Robberg Corridor, Kranshoek
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Just past Plettenberg Bay, in the emerging town of Kranshoek, a change is about to take place. Piece by piece, a 3 year vision has come together. Through the work of Eden to Addo and Site Specific, the opportunity to create a large-scale land artwork that involves community and makes the best of local materials has arrived. The art work will be the first of many along the Eden to Addo Great Corridor creating South Africa’s first Land Art Route.As a conservation initiative, Eden to Addo aims to establish a living corridor along old elephant migratory paths linking the Garden Route National Park to the Addo Elephant National Park 350km to the east. The Land Art Route will create a thread that links the idea of a corridor across the different communities while keeping the corridor both visible and contextual in the landscape.
The undulating hilltop horizons sang like rhythmic waves, and over the crest an unlikely caravan of guides did arrive...
The challenge as I see it with land art is to use what materials that are available in the open environment. Here, I have 10 large 2 Ton blocks of stone scattered around, in rather curiously random positions I might add. After much thought about the original intention and the challenge presented by working on such a scale, I felt the inspiration to realign them and fit them together to form 3 elephants, from small to big, travelling in an Eastern direction along the cliff edge. The stones already have forms and textures reminiscent of the hardy wise animals, a leg there, a trunk here, it was as if it had always been waiting for this transformation. The accessibility to the site means that I can use some machinery to lift the boulders and some local stonemasons from Kranshoek will also be available to assist. Working with a tight budget and an even tighter deadline set the stage for this challenge.
But I could not resist the ridiculous thought that my mental state was ready for telekinesis. I tried to move them with my mind for a whole 10 minutes- No success.With no time for experimenting with ancient pulley and level techniques.I must use what tools we have today. I realized that a 20 Ton crane and a good site-map would have to do.
Replicating the 10 stones with clay, the boulders became much lighter to move with my mind. I was able to understand and engage with each form more closely, imagining how they will fit together best... I have studied each stone carefully now and it is truly astonishing to see the "elephant" within the boulders as they lie, a gift from the universe.
The symbol of the elephant talks of inspiring headstrong trailblazers, such as the local maverick legend, Andrew Le fleur and his visionary attitude. The Griqua's journey of trying to find their place mirrors that of the personified 'wilderness' trying to find its place in our lives. Encouraging the hero in all of us we must shape the world, and in so doing, change the environment to enable life to grow. Walking the talk of the idea of wildlife corridors is a theme within my work. Spreading worthy ideas of diversity and rebirth, this artwork will open the porthole. Understanding environ"mental" relationships , physically and socially. Using art to reinforce the idea of protected environments heralds a new era in conservation in South Africa.
The art work will be placed within Eden to Addo’s Robberg Corridor to highlight the importance of corridors. The corridor connecting the Robberg Nature Reserve and Harkerville State Forest, is a pristine 18km stretch of wild coastline. The owners of this magnificent coastal corridor are testing South Africa’s conservation legislation for the first time by asking the MEC for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning to declare their properties a “Protected Environment” in terms of the National Protected Areas Act.
"Without keeping the linkages between protected areas open, the ability of the human race and of natural systems to adapt to the vagaries of climate change becomes severely compromised.” Says Pam Booth of the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative, the NGO that is driving the process.