South Africans unite against the exploitation of the Karoo

2015-08-24 19:00 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - People who live in the Karoo, whose lives are directly affected by the government’s new ruling, have come forward in protest using art as a final form of retaliation against this practice.  

Anthropologist Prof Lesley Green, taking part in one of these art exhibitions to open at Iziko Museum says, “In the United States, fracking has brought to a head questions about the reliability of scientific evidence in the knowledge economy. 

“It is neither reasonable nor rational to claim that “better engineering” or “better environmental regulation” can be relied upon to minimise the effects of permanent damage to land, and to fossil water sources”. 

 If you feel passionately about this, support the various art exhibitions on show in the coming weeks:

Iziko Museum exhibition – Karoo Disclosure

What: Karoo Disclosure is an example of “how artists tackle issues of the environment in their practice with a particular emphasis on care for the land,” says Professor Virginia MacKenny who will be exploring environmental concerns in artists’ work in her presentation.

The exhibition explores notions of heritage, culture, ownership, and legitimacy in the context of external economic and political drivers that threaten to change the landscape and the lives of communities in unforeseen ways.

The film, Karoo Disclosure, which was selected for the Karoo Indy Film Festival and shown at That Art Fair, is the focal point of the exhibition. Photographic works as well as objects, artifacts, rocks, fossils, animals and insects from the Iziko Natural History Collections found in the Karoo area will also be showcased.

The opening of Karoo Disclosure will feature a discussion panel on the issue of fracking led by experts in Anthropology, Climate-Change, Art and Natural Science including: World Wildlife Fund (WWF) energy expert, Saliem Fakir; UCT Anthropology Professor Lesley Green; UCT Art Professor Virginnia MacKenny, Curator of Karoo Palaeontology at Iziko, Roger Smith and Art theorist, Andrew Lamprecht.

The collaborating artists include: Deborah Weber, Damien Schumann, Elgin Rust, Gina Waldman, Margaret Stone, Maxim Starcke, Lisa Bauer, Michelle Liao, Tom Glenn, Peet van Heerden, Hendrik Dudumashe and Paula Kingwill. 

Where: Iziko South African Museum
When: 29 August 2015 until 15 November 2015. 

Katie Barnard du Toit– Fear & Loss - The Industrial Karoo

What: Katie Barnard du Toit, curator of this collaboration of artworks does exceptionally well to give people of the Karoo a voice through the art in this exhibition. The works on display respond to the theme from various vantage points, presenting direct testimonials, personal experiences and references to historical moments.

“It is also the community’s state of apprehension around the sustainability of their present way of life, should fracking occur, that kick-started the artist’s motivation for creative investigation," art critic Diane de Beer says.

Katie du Toit, from the Karoo herself, focuses on the emotional factors of fear and loss, and "uses material metaphors in her work to refer to valued aspects of community life” that might be in jeopardy with the fracking prospective. 

Where: Hester Rupert Art Museum,Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape 
When: November 2015 - April 2016 

Strijdom van der Merwe – Karoo Geoglyphs

What: The Snake Eagle Thinking Path (meander) in Matjiesfontein is the first permanent geoglyph made by Anni Snyman in collaboration with PC Janse van Rensburg, and the help of Site_Specific artists, supporters and the Matjiesfontein community. 

The path is in honour of a breeding pair of Black Chested Snake Eagles resident in the area and the artists and collaborators hope that the geoglyph will attract global attention via Google Earth to the precarious semi-arid biome of the Karoo, encouraging tourists to visit the town of Matjiesfontein and walk the meander.

The geoglyph consists of one continuous line - a footpath that leads the walker back to where s/he started, allowing the experience of wide open Karoo veld and sky to soak in.

“The Snake Eagle drawing celebrates the unity of specie and habitat,” the Karoo Geoglyphs site states.

“The heart of the eagle is formed by two intertwining shapes that symbolise not only the food of the eagle, but also the flow of water in the nearby river, and the air currents that keep it aloft. It is impossible to split the essence of an eagle from the wide expanse of sky that it inhabits, nor should a snake be imagined without the ground, vegetation and water of its home.”

“Earth is a living, breathing system that is susceptible to the intentions we impose. To engage our best intentions, we invite you to write a personal meditation to, or for, the Snake Eagle Thinking Path as a symbol of one of earth's countless living systems. Once we’ve received a sizeable collection, we will find a way to publish our favourite meditations, offering them to those who come to walk the path.”

Where: Matjiesfontein, Western Cape 
When: Official launch: 5 and 6 September 2015

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