News update November 2006

Greetings from the getting green hills of the lowveld,

We have some new residents in the garden, a rather charming scops owl and rather noisy Greater Galago bush babies in the trees and on the corrugated iron roofs at 4.30am! We have built a box to accommodate them (hung in a desirable tree) but so far they prefer to make their own arrangements. It also appears that we have a resident ghost who has taken to bothering Sarah’s rooms and the laundry at night. This is not the first strange observation in Sarah’s rooms; other people who have slept there (independently of talking to Sarah) have also given us odd reports. So with much optimistic determination Tamar set off to consult a reputable Sangoma who practices near Numbi gate. To cut a long story short we are now R 2 800 poorer (Mark says she did a property evaluation) and the ghost is still with us. We have advised Sarah to have a chat with it and that they need to come to some mutual understanding as the ghost, like us, seems to have no intention of moving on. Fortunately, the ghost prefers the side of the old house where guests do not sleep, so have no fear!!!

Since coming back from Zanzibar (but a distant memory….) things in the workshop have settled into a good groove. Leshoka has readjusted to being back home and Syneth is busy at Tamarind. He seems to be struggling a bit with living in the USA, the beer is watery and the bars are just not the same as the ones in Bushbuckridge. Plus soccer is not a national obsession and his daughter, Portia, is not with him. Vasbyt Syneth! New editions of prints which have been editioned and that are now available are by Johann Louw, the Kuru Art Project, Robert Hodgins, Sam Nhlengethwa, and Dumisani Mabaso.

The studio has been busy with the following artists collaborating with us over the last few months: Claudette Schreuders and Anton Kannemeyer (they came with their daughter Anna who is the sweetest, most determined one-year-old), Luke Martin, Robert Hodgins, Esias Bosch and Albert Adams. We also were involved with e-pos 2 a project between South Africa and Belgium. Organised by Veerle Rooms of the Frans Masereel Centre in Belgium it is a project involving South African and Belgium artists and writers. We had to buy extra beds to accommodate everyone and for nine days Flemish, English and Afrikaans (or a mix of all three) floated around the garden and studio. The following artists and writers are taking part: Verlee Rooms, Monique Thomaes, Lut De Block, Pieter Holvoet-Hanssen, Hentie van der Merwe, Kim Berman, Jabeba Baderoom (she was not here for the White River leg of the project) and Charl-Pierre Naude. Willem Persoon and Isabelle Leclerq made sure everything ran smoothly and kept us in stitches. Tamar was in “heaven” discussing the Goddess with Lut (a poet) who is busy working on her PhD on the Sumerian Goddess Innana. The results of this collaboration will be exhibited in 2007, here in SA and in Belgium.

Locally we have been stirring things up on the art front and have had Luke Martin (head of the local Emergency Medical Services, Dept of Health) in the studio doing some prints and also Esias Bosch who has done some beautiful studies of acacia trees. Tamar and fellow artist and mom, Karin Daymond, decided to bite off slightly more than they could chew and embarked on a project with Penryn College. We showed the learners from Grade 0 to Grade 12 original artwork by artists from Mpumalanga and the rest of the country that relates to the province. The kids discussed the pieces and then worked on their own visual responses to a work that had grabbed their attention. The best results were curated and exhibited alongside the professional work on an exhibition that was held at the end of October. This comes as bit of a shock to the Lowveld which defines art as beginning with leopards draped on tree branches and ending with elephant charging against the backdrop of a setting sun!

Maru is very ready to start Grade one and is already planning how to tie her ponytails and where she will eat her lunch in the “big” playground. Simon fell out of a tree at school, he and his fellow nine-year-olds were jumping from a bench to a branch and then back to a bench (mothers nightmare) and has fractured his skull in two places; behind the ear and deep into the bone, fortunately missing the tricky delicate ear bits. He also has a small fracture on his wrist and was at home for a few days while we watched him, closely… He has returned to school this week and seems fine.

The end of the year is rushing towards us on fast forward so we will get in early and wish you a great break over December and hope that it is quiet and peaceful.


Mark and Tamar

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