Nature/ Nurture/ Landscapes

Nature and wide open spaces are a very important part of my life, and therefore my art.

Trees (particularly Acacia thorns and Baobabs) often crop up in my work, because for me, trees are such a special part of life. They speak of fresh air, flowers, strength, life, peace, permanence. They are large living beings who do no harm, but bring goodness and life to the planet, home for birds, shelter for anyone who cares to rest in their shade. Even when they are cut down, they carry on giving, in the form of fuel for fires, building materials, compost etc. Thorns provide protection or pain. 

I particularly love Baobab trees. They are so quintessentially African. They represent happy memories for me because I grew up in Harare, as landlocked as you can get, but whichever direction we travelled in for holidays, whether to Mozambique or South Africa for beach holidays, or to any of the lovely spots we frequented along the Zambezi, from Victoria Falls to Kariba or Mana Pools, we always had to go through a lowveld area dotted with these comical amazing trees. There is a wonderful one on the road to Beit Bridge from Harare, which is hollowed out, and has a cathedral like feeling when standing inside it. These giants are called “the tree of life” and the hollowed out ones, in particular, speak of shelter. Thus, for me, the connection between the lost generation of children needing nurture and these life giving trees.

However, there is also a series “children of the shadows” in which the trees are a metaphor for dark shadowy places, the heartbreak of growing up in a broken society, and in these the faceless children emerge, casting shadows forward into the light, in hope of a better future.

Flattening the Forests 1 & 2

900 x 900 mm Oils and silver leaf on Canvas

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