Thursday, December 20, 2012

ARTSHIFT: Global Power Shift 2013

"We know that we are running out of time to stop our planet from becoming a very inhospitable place, and we know that our local organizing is the most important tool we have in this struggle. So just as co2 levels and extreme weather are on the rise exponentially - so are we. 
This June, will be organizing Global PowerShift an international gathering in Istanbul, Turkey, where 600 young climate leaders from around the world will converge to skill-share, trade tactics and connect on how we will be the generation that will turn the tide on the global climate crisis. Organizers will then return to their own countries and organize a regional gathering, developing regional campaigns, goals and actions connected to a global movement."

To do this, they need new creative tactics to have maximum impact!

 "We are up against the richest corporations in the history of money, so our currency will be our creativity. A major focus of Global PowerShift will be on creative activism, including workshops and skillshares in puppetry, mass production for mass mobilizations, subvertising, street art and street theater, creative non-violent direct action, activist animation, reality correction, and historical reclamation.
We will also be constructing an Arts Camp for the duration of the gathering to integrate creativity into the functioning of daily life while providing important encampment skills to Global PowerShift participants.
We need creative, impassioned and dedicated individuals to join us at this historic gathering, and to grow a globally connected network of creative organizers strong enough to reclaim our future from the fossil fuel industry. Apply now to join us for Global PowerShift, deadline for applications has been extended to 4 January 2013. Participants will have all expenses covered."

Take a minute to share this invitation with anyone you think might be interested or share the ArtShift webpage on twitter or facebook. For this to be a success we need diversity in all aspects and will need to reach outside just the “climate” movement - this is, afterall, a struggle as big as our planet that involves many different movements. Please encourage anyone to apply who you think would contribute to and benefit from this crucial gathering.

Do it now, we’ve got no time to lose.

The gathering in Istanbul is only the first phase of this project, we’ll need many more dedicated individuals to participate locally in one of the hundred regional PowerShifts and in the hundreds of local campaigns and projects beyond that. If you can’t apply, but wish to stay in touch, please email

This callout was sent by 
Kevin, Art Ambassador for

Vertical Garden by Jochen Kruger-Allenstein

Vertical Garden 
by Jochen Kruger-Allenstein
24 square meters, 
located at Dainfern north of Johannesburg

Visi blogger Peter-Ernst Maré describes vertical gardens and their origin:

"Vertical gardens are referred to as living walls, green walls, bio walls or, in French, un mur végétal. The pioneering French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc is credited with creating the first vertical gardens after observing how plants were able to grow vertically in the wild without the need for soil. He developed a way to create artistic looking vertical vegetation on any type of wall." [read more]

For more information or to commission the artist:

Jochen Kruger-Allenstein
Cell: +27794027467

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Telephone Cord Sheep

by Artist Jean Luc Cornec
Museum of Communications in Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, December 14, 2012

Read: Green Art on

Go and read Part 1 of an ARTicle by Janet Botes about Green Art:
Green Art | Environmental Art | StateoftheArt |

An excerpt from the article:
Environmentally-focused art could play a very significant role in collective concern and activism, as one of art’s main premises is to question and challenge accepted perceptions, values, or beliefs. Art also offers new solutions and inspires new understandings about the world around us, therefore playing an important role in how we change our actions and our relationship with the earth. 

Exhibition: The Grad Show At Michaelis

Artworks that focus on environmental themes, or uses natural materials, that were shown as part of the exhibition of art by grad students from the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art.

Work by Miranda Moss

Hanien Conradie's work inspired by the spores of flowers - see more images of this body of work on her website

Detail from a work that forms part of a body of work focusing on the ROSE

Beautiful works created by using the roots of plants as medium, form part of a body of work that focuses on deforestation as theme.

photographs by Janet Botes

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Conversations about art, function and nature at the Green Expo

The Green Art exhibition is a new initiative of the Green Expo in collaboration with artists. Conceptualized and curated by visual artist Janet Botes, the exhibition aims to offer expo visitors a new experience in the form of artworks by different local artists. For the 2012 installment of the exhibition, entitled (eco)nversations, held at the Green Expo in assocation with National Geographic Channel 281, from 23-25 November, 8 artists exhibited work which ranged from painting, scupture, installation art and live, interactive art. The participating  artists for 2012 was: Simon Max Bannister, Janet Ranson, Stefanie Schoeman, Janet Botes, Danelle Malan, Nicolle Marais, Claire Homewood. Kai Lossgott wrote ‘A Green Manifesto’ in consultation with the curator and other participating artists.

Janet Ranson's Upset Tree and Avenue of Trees are dramatic assemblages of found timber and reclaimed nylon packaging material as a simple metaphor for humankind’s devastation of the natural order.

The Collage Mural Project is an interactive piece conceived and facilitated by Claire Homewood. Expo visitors were invited to create collages around the theme of (Eco)nversations. Artists used these collages as inspiration for collaborative mural painting

STEFANIE SCHOEMAN is particularly inspired by desert landscapes and, while spending the last year between the Karoo and Namibia, she has recognised these quiet open spaces as the current theme in her work.

Simon Max Bannister's Fragments of Paradise is a series of eroded plastic flotsam that were caught as samples in the middle of the Atlantic gyre

This exhibition was made possible by collaboration between the artists, the Green Expo organizers, the Shoprite Checkers Strokes of Genius art project, Pronature Paints and Xanita. The exhibition is hosted, sponsored and in partnership with the Green Expo in association with National Geographic Channel 281, organized by Three City Events. The exhibition aims to become an integral part of the Green Expo in the future of this annual event.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Learning from Nature

by Tayla Tucker

I recently went to a film festival which was part of the ‘Sustain our Africa Summit’ and watched a film entitled: ‘Second Nature – The Biomimicry Evolution.’ This film explored the emerging discipline of biomimicry, which examines nature’s best ideas, models, systems and processes, and emulates them to solve human problems. The film was inspired by famous biologist Janine Benyus and followed her and the Biomimicry Institute team in the bush in South Africa as they demonstrated how organisms in the natural world can show us how to be more sustainable and efficient with the things we already have.
 Biomimicry, also known as Biometrics, comes from the Greek words ‘bios’ = life; ‘mimesis’= imitate, and is not a new idea. Man has been looking at nature for answers, both simple and complex, throughout existence. An early example of Biomimicry in Engineering is the study of birds for human flight and even today the most advanced aeroplane building companies are looking at wing structure of larger birds in order create safer commercial passenger carriers.

"The more our world functions like the natural world,the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours,but not ours alone." ~ Janine Benyus

Throughout the video Janine gives us examples of designs from nature and how they have been used to create superior man-made products, an example being the Lotus leaf. A Lotus leaf is self-cleaning, which means that after rainfall it is clear of water as well as dirt. Janine explains that the surface topography of the leaf interacts with water molecules in a way which allows water to roll off taking dirt with it. A company by the name of Sto Corp has created a sealer which mimics this topography, effectively creating a self cleaning paint. This simple sealer has the potential to change home life forever. No more having to physically wash the walls, the rain can do it, or a simple spray with a hose pipe. This should also eliminate the use of soaps; which will be good for the environment.

Images: (left) by Janet Botes, (right) sourced from EcoSalon

If we can learn techniques like this from something as simple as a leaf, imagine what else is waiting out there to be discovered! Nature has been evolving for 3.6 billion years, testing through trail and error, in order to create the most effective with the least resistance. There is so much we can learn, we just need to open our eyes to what is in front of us.

There is a local Biomimicry organisation which provides information and offers courses, where you can learn more about this amazing new branch of science! Go to for more information.

Here is a link to a bio of Janine Benyus as part of TEDx, which also includes links to talks that she has given:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Artist Feature: Galia Gluckman

written by Chelsea Amór Lotz 

Galia Gluckman is well known for her vibrant, cutting edge, yet decidedly tasteful eco art. Born in Israel, but living and having spent her childhood in Cape Town, this young artist has taken the world by a storm with her eco artworks, made from 95% recycled cardboard and paper. Galia, who is primarily inspired by the earths beautiful landscapes and the colours and textures that go with it, uses a process of going through old magazines, finding colors that match and assembling them to create a master piece. Her motivation as she clearly states is ‘Order, arising from disorder’.

  Galia Gluckman with one of her eco artworks - a warm landscape art piece created by using magazine paper clippings

Galia explains in her own words:
“Pattern, whether in nature or art, relied upon three characteristics: A unit, repetition and a system organization. I question how these regular and irregular patterns develop and what sort of rules and guidelines shape patterns in the world around us. It seems as though order arises spontaneously from disorder and that patterns can emerge through a process of self-organization. Many irregular patterns are simply not random, they often display an underlying structure.”

Landscape of the Atlantic Seaboard of Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, using discarded or recycled paper

Galia has been featured by a host a various magazines, such as: The Oprah Magazine, Good Taste magazine and The Guardian amongst many other publications. Her work proves that eco art can be attractive and aesthetically pleasing, as well and kind to the environment!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Engage & join the conversation!

During the 2012 Cape Town Green Expo in association with National Geographic Channel 281, 8 artists are exhibiting artworks and art installations that engage the viewer about our planet, seeking to spark dialogues about our connection and relationship with our natural environment.

Eight Artists, One Planet

Each artwork in some way talks to and about: nature, the earth, the natural world, the planet, the ecosystem, the biosphere, our natural heritage - and our place within it.


Simon Max Bannister, Janet Ranson, Kai Lossgott, Stefanie Schoeman, Janet Botes, Danelle Malan, Nicolle Marais, Claire Homewood

The Collage Mural Project, facilitated by Claire Homewood, forms an integral part of the exhibition. Here's the event page for it:

Make sure to read Recession aesthetics and making art without destroying the planet: "A Green Art Manifesto", Kai Lossgott's contribution to (eco)nversations, and part of our catalogue which is available at the exhibition:

Facebook Event page

Sustainable design prototypes from the Fresh Talent competition exhibited at The Hub, Johannesburg

[Issued by MANGO-OMC on behalf of Shift]

Prototypes of the winning designs of the 2011-2012 Fresh Talent competition, hosted by the then known Eco Design Initiative (which in August rebranded to Shift: Inspiring sustainable design) will be on show at The Hub in Johannesburg from 14 November. The exhibition marks the final leg of the past year’s competition and coincides with Global Entrepreneurship week, an international initiative that introduces the act and art of entrepreneurship to young people in various countries.

The exhibition will run from 14-24 November and entry is free.

Says Janine Johnston, CEO of Shift: 
“We are very excited to launch the Johannesburg exhibition of the 2011-2012 competition on this date as one of our aims is to not only teach young creatives to design sustainably but also to think in an entrepreneurial way when designing. After all, sustainable design aims to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits.”
The annual Fresh Talent competition invites young people to design sustainable solutions for a range of challenges faced by people and the environment.  Showcasing the designs and concept prototypes of the 2011-2012 winners and multi-media stories of the finalists’ journey into sustainable design through their participation in Shift’s educational exchange program, the exhibition also offers the opportunity to view global examples of sustainable design curated with INDEXDesign to Improve Life®.

The winners of the 2011-2012 Fresh Talent Competition are:

Gabriele Birkenmayer for Shoots –A Grassroots Bamboo Project (first place)

Shoots – a grassroots bamboo project

“Shoots” is a full-cycle approach to sustainability that produces well-designed, good quality consumer products, furniture in particular, while addressing unemployment in South Africa and caring for the environment.

Shoots aims to involve rural communities in the planting and farming of bamboo in areas that require rehabilitation, such as those affected by soil erosion or water pollution. Bamboo is known to enrich and stabilise soil due to its root system that soaks up heavy metals and aids in water purification. Bamboo is also a highly sustainable plant, reaching maturity in 5 – 6 years and since it is a grass and not a tree, harvesting bamboo does not kill the plant. A bamboo ‘clump’ can be selectively harvested annually for over 100 years. Bamboo also produces up to 30% more oxygen than any other tree, making it not only a sustainable material, but also very environmentally friendly.

The rural communities responsible for growing these ‘plantations’ will be trained in harvesting the plants, converting it into laminated or strand woven boards and how to convert these boards into self-assemble furniture which will ‘last a lifetime’ – in terms of both material durability and non-conformity to any fashion trends.

Wayde Dyers for his Vermiculture Growth System (second place) 

Vermiculture Growth System

The Vermiculture Growth System is a compact composting and rain harvesting system utilizes the benefits of worms – nature’s own recyclers, to convert food waste into nutrient rich, 100% organic fertilizer while harnessing the benefits of rain water to feed plants in home, vegetable and potted gardens.
The Vermiculture Growth System is easy to use and versatile. The unit, which is compact enough to fit on a balcony, in a shed or shaded outdoor location, is made from 70% recycled plastic.

The Vermiculture Growth System consists of five trays and a water catchment. The composting worms, Red Wigglers, start off in the first working tray and they simply eat their way up, “wriggling” into the working trays above, where they can detect the food scraps. Along the way, the worms produce castings (manure)  - also known as “black gold”; trays of which can be removed, diluted and hydrated using the water collected in the system’s rain harvester for plant nourishment.
The cycle is never ending.

Marieke Adams for the Ikghuphu Sleeve (third place)

Ikghuphu Sleeve

Ikghuphu is a series of laptop sleeves made from wet suite factory waste. It draws inspiration from the Ndebele’s abstract patterns decorating clay walls, translating the colours and patterns into a multi-dimensional textile that provides tactile interest and additional protective cushioning for the product inside.

Made using neoprene offcuts –factory waste, and traditional hand crafting techniques this design combines influences of traditional and contemporary homes, in both function and material.

The traditional stitch and craft techniques used in the production of Ikghuphu Sleeves create more opportunities for skills development, job creation and economic empowerment, especially for women. Using “waste” materials reduces the environmental impact and significantly reduces the material costs of production.

The Ikghuphu Sleeve is a sustainable design that appeals to the global contemporary market of laptop users and improves opportunities for sustainable development.

The Exhibition is free and open daily from 9am to 9pm at The Hub, 4 De Beer St (cnr Smit St), Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2000.

For more information visit, or email or watch the latest videos on

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Land Art by Strijdom van der Merwe - Rocks on sticks in water

Interview with Strijdom van der Merwe

Chelsea Amor Lotz wrote a perspective or review of Eco Art at the end of September. For October her contribution is an interview with renowned and respected South African sculptor and land artist Strijdom van der Merwe! As artist he's traveled widely, participated in Biennials and art festivals in several other countries and continents, and also makes substantial contributions to the local art scene, especially in Stellenbosch where's he's currently based. Without further ado, let's jump right in and read what he has to say about Land Art and the motivation behind his art:

Amor: What inspired you to do land art?

Strijdom: The constant discovery of unknown places and landscapes and materials to work with. To be exposed to the ever changing climate and weather and to be part of the cycles of nature.

Land Art - wire on a rock outcropping in a landscape, by Strijdom van der Merwe

Amor:  How long have you been doing land art for?

Strijdom: I have been working full time as a land artist since 1995, but one can argue that I have been discovering and exploring it since my days as a young boy on the farm where i grew up.

Amor:  What interests you most, about the concept of land art?

Strijdom: That you work outside the gallery space and that you are only bound by the rules and regulations of nature. Very important that most of the works exist because of there surrounding areas. The land is not a setting for the work but a part of the work. you learn to look wider and appreciate the interaction between many things.

Artwork made during an artist residency and land art festival, by land artist Strijdom van der Merwe

Amor: Can you please tell us more about your most recent piece of land art?

Strijdom: The most recent large scale work was done for the Tulbagh Art Festival. We wrapped several hundred of renoster bush in red fabric on Gageheuwel just outside of town.The reason for doing that is because it was the Spring Festival and Galgeheuwel is well known for all the flowers and bulbs that bloom that time of the year. This work was to make people more aware of the blooming of colour that last only for n few weeks before the change into summer. It was a celebration of the short lived beauty of colour. This work enhanced the fact that nature is ever changing. The red fabric was dismantle after three days.

Strijdom van der Merwe
Tulbagh, Western Cape, South Africa
August 2012

more images on Land Art SA

Amor:  How do you see land art as relevant to the connection between man and nature?

Strijdom: We are nature. We are in the danger of losing our balance with nature. No matter how sophisticated we become, we are still part of the cycles of nature. Land art strengthens that connection and reminds us of our close connection. It also makes us aware of the dangers of not living sensitive towards the resources we have. We can't keep on taking, we have to learn to share.

Circle made by sweeping or removing fallen leaves on a lawn, by Strijdom van der Merwe

Amor:  Which landscapes do you find the most inspiring?

Strijdom: The semi desert areas of the Karoo I have always found inspiring, it's like a blank canvas. But the most surprising is always the most unexpected landscapes. That is what makes land art so wonderful, you can sit in your studio and decide what to do, you have to walk the studio of your canvas to be inspired and only thén the creativity will follow.

Amor:  What is your 'dream piece'?

Strijdom: Always the next one. As a creative person you are always busy exploring, even when you're busy with one work, the ideas of the new better work have already taken place in your mind. And so it becomes a vicious circle of never ending discovery. What a blessing.

Art installation in a natural landscape or forest

Amor:  Do you try to portray particular messages and meanings through your land art?

Strijdom: It depends from work to work. But in general, no, I don't go out to make a statement. I will always first let the forces of nature influence me, and what is created is a result of the site. But, when it comes to certain art festivals or commissions then you have an obligation towards the client and people - most of the time a certain theme has to be addressed. Recently I had an art work installation at the Circa gallery in Johannesburg where I made a statement against 'fracking' in the Karoo, because I felt it was necessary that by working in the landscape and having a close relationship with the landscape, you have to raise your voice in protest.

Commissioned artwork or installation art by Strijdom van der Merwe in South Africa of a field of yellow hands

Amor:  Do you see yourself still doing land art, in 20 years time?

Strijdom: Yes, I guess that will be he case, the format may change and the scale of the work may change but the message may still be the same.

Amor:  What advice do you have for artists seeking to experiment with, and explore the medium of land through art?

Strijdom: This is no easy road. You have to learn the basics of art, going through all the disciplines of colour use, balance, perspective etc. Once you have an educated understanding of the history of art, and nature and human interaction, only then will you be able to create work that is a true and honest reflection of the site and understanding of our relationship with nature. To put 10 stones in a line to end up as an artwork is a life time of knowledge and sensitive observation. But the rewards are greater than any painting that hangs on a wall.

Strijdom van der Merwe's work is included in many private and public art collections. His work can be seen on his website and featured on He is an integral part as artist, founder and committee member of South Africa’s first international Land Art event, entitled Site_Specific. Two beautiful coffee table books of Strijdom's art is published and available from:

Sculpting the Land - | Exclusive Books
Sculpting the Earth - | Exclusive Books


Chelsea Amor Lotz is a mother, model, humanitarian, entrepreneur, professional writer & author, living for the evolution in consciousness.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Eco Art, By Chelsea Amor Lotz

For many generations artists have remained with the same question in mind: Is art sustainable, how can the human expression of art connect us to nature and to that of humanity?  Furthermore, is it possible for both humanity and nature to connect intrinsically, and through the use of art to improve and nurture the relationship and understanding between humans and nature whilst remaining to deepen the human expression, reaction and psyche towards our relationship with nature?

Some people wonder about eco art in a practical sense, it terms of sustainability and workmanship. Should art, they wonder, not inspire recycling, reusing and re-imagining the way art is used? Some of the greatest art pieces seen in the world today, are simply structured around the re-thinking of a theme, with new or different level of consciousness, allowing the theme to be utilised in a new way, although appearing the same. We see this all the time, with tables made from loo rolls, portraits made from plastic bottles and great pieces of art with recycled materials such as paperclips, tyres, plastic and rope. The use of such materials also brings into awareness the excess waste and the disastrous impact that pollution has on the environment, whilst understanding that waste can be reused for better purposes.

There is a huge and vast array of materials in which the use for ecological art means opening a new world, whilst allowing one to journey into the unknown and adventurously foray into new, but largely uncharted territories of ecological art.

Some of the most beautiful pieces of eco art, have begun with the thought in mind of working with nature, and then expand into beautifying and working in accordance with nature. A typical example of this is land art, where the vast space, terrain and weather conditions, including the rhythms of nature are taken into consideration. South Africa has been at the forefront of expanding its global recognition on land art; in Plettenberg Bay in 2011, artists specialising in land art gathered in South Africa, traveling from around the world to share, display and expand on this interest.

Land art is a beautiful example of how it is possible to not only work with nature, but to display and represent an individualistic concept of our connection with nature, and how that connects us to the earth.

Art in a sustainable sense, is also the consideration of the effects of chemicals in paints, and dyes, that will inevitably end up in the earth and in water. By moving to more sustainable, naturally sourced pigments, without the toxic chemicals, it makes a definitive stand on the evolution of art to becoming a sustainable practice. Ethical pigments and dyes are being made commercially, although it is quite easy to prepare natural paints at home.

The aim of art has always been to entice, shock and satisfy the sense, sometimes one or all of the above, yet by considering the relationship to nature and the use of materials, man is able to make a stand by creating a bridge between art and a sustainable world. Furthermore by the imagining of abstract art and it's context to nature, for example the use of nature to mimic or copy nature, only deepens our relationship and understanding to nature.

It is in this, that we begin to understand that art, can not only be used for the aesthetic effect of being visually pleasing or emotionally moving, but that art can create a statement that is in support in the evolution of human consciousness and our relationship to the beautiful, diverse and immense world that we live in.

- Chelsea Amor Lotz

Friday, September 7, 2012

Little Green Day Activity

On 26 August 2012 an event called the Little Green Day was hosted by Deer Park Café in Vredehoek, Cape Town. The event featured a solar-powered stage for musicians, great music, organic and vegetarian food, some product stalls, and workshops. One of the workshops were facilitated by me, Janet Botes, and were open to anyone who wanted to join. A couple of kids joined and we created some toys, unfinished artworks and gadgets by using discarded food packaging, plastic bags and other 'waste'. Instead of using paint, we coloured our creations with coffee (the cheapest I could find, but next time I'll try using fair trade coffee).

Mask made from a pizza box lid, and a rolled piece of newspaper as 'stick'.

Why not gather some tools and random bits, invite some friends, open a bottle of wine, and together make things with what you have in front of you. It's fun to just play around and experiment - you don't need to have an end product or idea in mind, just attach and wind different pieces of plastic, polysterene and plastic bags together and see what you are able to create! Or if you like kids, or have kids, do the same (without a bottle of wine, of course!), you'll be delightfully surprised at the funky ideas that children come up with.

Instead of using glue or tape, find and develop other techniques to attach things. Here's some ideas or suggestions:
  • wrap torn/cut pieces of plastic, chips packets, crackerbread foil or newspaper around an item
  • thread with discarded/old rope, twine or pieces of twirled paper/foil/plastic
  • fold and cut cardboard or paper, making tags that fit into slits

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Threads of plastic

These pieces of plastic were picked up in a stretch of beach of only about 7 meters in Bloubergstrand! Plastic debris and bags cause sea animals and birds to suffocate, and they also don't biodegrade, just break up into smaller bits of plastic which gets eaten by fish, birds, dolphins and whales. Have a look at this great ad that illustrates my point:

A great way to use plastic is to use it as rope or thread. Simply tear or cut it into strips, twirl or roll them into useable strands, and knot them together.

In this way, I've started using plastic in crochet pieces:

I learnt how to crochet when I joined in some sessions of The Woodstock Art Reef Project. WARP is crocheting a symbolic installation of sculptural coral reef structures to extend the awareness of environmental issues and related aspects of science, math and art within the  community of participants and in public forums.

Go to to find out more about the next gatherings and sessions

Yet another way to use strips of plastic grocery bags in a functional manner

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Me and My Animal" Photography competition

Fun prizes are up for grabs as part of the Celebrate Life Festival.

Enter the photographic competition to be in line for outstanding prizes and see your picture on display at the Celebrate Life Festival at the River Club from 9-10 June 2012.

Theme: Photography must depict something which gives a focus on the bond between animals and humans. It does not have to be your personal pet but can also include animals in the wild. 

Entrants may use digital or film and can submit in black and white or colour. Entries must be mounted photographs in either A3 or A4 size (including mounting)and can be landscape or portrait. There is no charge for entry. An entry form must accompany each entry. Email The completed entry form must be submitted by 30 May 2012 and can be faxed to: 021 761 8666 or emailed to Due to limited space the first 80 entries will be accepted.

CROSS-POLLINATION workshop in the Langeberg