Thursday, April 25, 2013

THE GUN & THE PEN by Stan Aneto

THE GUN & THE PEN – Stan Aneto 2013

My gun's got loaded 
my pen on the white paper of tears
should I be more concerned 
about animals and plants 
than humanity on a final push of extinction...?
They call me the earthman
Coined from an untamed affair with nature
an unscripted romance ordained by divinity
Long before my placenta was trimmed
it is a sacred calling to curate and caress
but should I be more concerned
about plants and animals
than humanity on a final push of extinction...?
The mind of poetry is insatiable
Bottomless like the pit of hell
Cos the issues on my table are endless
I am much worried about the shedding of blood
As I am worried about frequent flood
I am much worried about genocide
As I am worried about ecocide
I am much worried about nuclear warning
As I am worried about global warming
I am as much worried about mindless shelling
As I am worried about senseless tree felling
I am much worried about human rights
As I am worried about animal rights 
I am much worried about corruption
As I am worried about pollution
For I see the inordinate pursuit of riches
Increasing the scale of endangered species
The mind of poetry is insatiable
Bottomless like the pit of hell
So I bless my pen and paper

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

CALL OUT: Articles for 4th edition of Plastik

Art and biodiversity: sustainable art?

Interest in ecology and sustainable development is unprecedented, as is to the increasing concern overshadowing society´s well-being. With the news of massive deforestation and the scarcity of water resources, we are continually reminded of how animal and vegetable species are endangered. It´s clear that the need to respect the environment is shared by all but that natural resources are being exhausted through conflict of interest and contradictory action. As a result living and endangered organisms are affected by a kind of universal heritage value, as if representing the memory of an uncertain future. 
Since the ´60s, artists have testified to, and denounced, through their work, the ravages that human activity has brought on a planetary scale. With art interventions that have taken place in nature or have been an actual part of a landscape, the concepts of the environment, of site and territory, have become more visible in the art world. By demonstrating the physical properties of the material, and of the living, such artworks – whether perennial or ephemeral, in natural or developed spaces – actively call for the spectator's participation, alternately as observer, walker, or explorer in a double game with the attitude of the artist him/herself. To what extent have the new contours of spatialization in an artwork and art´s modus operandi in general contributed to the change in the way we look at the natural world? What impact has it all had on increasing the general public´s awareness, and of protecting our environment?

Between the esthetic and ethics, art and the science of the living, the 4th edition of Plastik will present an evaluation of the perimeters of action and the meaning of artistic practice dealing with the subject of safeguarding biodiversity. The ties between environmental issues and artistic creation will be tackled from the point of view of the real as well as the symbolic scope of such practices, between the implementation of an ecological, imaginary approach, and social commitment. We will try to understand the propositions revealed by artworks which entertain a relationship to the balance at play between the living and the extinction of species. What kind of response do such artworks develop in relation to this new challenge, launched by scientists, as being of the greatest interest for humanity? Is it ecological art or ecologically-made art? Can one talk of eco-gestures in art? Through their experience as researchers, artists, critics, or exhibition curators, the authors will gather together a collection of testimonials and studies, questioning the procedures in order to understand how the preservation of biodiversity has become the subject of today`s most significative artworks. 

We´ll be asking: 
  • Are researchers, and artists, in the face of environmental challenges: the new crisis managers?
  • Notions of creation and destruction, safeguarding and conservation
  • Reevaluating nature, landscape, and territory
  • Eco-art, the green esthetic, neo-naturalism, sustainable art?
  • Collaborative environmental intervention
  • Animal ethics in artistic practice, abolitionism and welfarism
  • The eco design approach, and individual commitment?
  • Implementing art and eco-gestures : exploration-fiction, surveying, plantations, collecting, ethnography, gentle intervention
  • Museums, institutions and their ecological responsibilities 
[Plastik] est la revue de l´Institut ACTE 
CNRS - Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Admission criteria for articles: 
Authors are invited to propose texts of between 3 000 and 10 000 worlds. Contributions can contain up to 10 images with a resolution of 72 dpi. Images should be sent separately, with mention of their place, title and source. The same goes for pictures and other illustrations under format image. The first page must contain: the title of the article, the name of the author(s), their affiliation, email and postal address, a summary of 10 to 15 lines and a list of keywords characterizing the contents of the article.

Deadline for articles: 
Please send your articles by email before June 15, 2013.

Rédaction [Plastik]
Institut ACTE - CNRS
Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
47 rue des Bergers 75015 Paris - France

Olga Kisseleva

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hubcap Project

Guest Post by Viv King

The Landfillart Project is an artistic endeavor that tries to increase awareness of the amount of trash people generate.

The idea was thought up by Ken Marquis, a gallery owner and framer from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, who started a collection of old discarded hubcaps  and has spent the last three years convincing other artists from all the US states and 52 foreign countries to give old hubcaps the artistic treatment.
An article from the Huffington post tells Ken's story:
Then he (Ken Marquis) began prowling the Internet, emailing artists who caught his eye to gauge their interest. 
A typical reply, Marquis says, went something like this: "`You want me to find a hubcap in my own country and pay for that, and you want me to pay for (the materials to make) this piece of great art, and then you want me to ship it to you at my expense, and then you want me to gift it to you? Am I understanding you correctly? OK, yeah, I'm in.'"
"I've had that conversation hundreds of times," Marquis says. "Artists get it."

I was one of the artists Ken contacted and I gave him pretty much the same reply! I am an ardent supporter of recycling projects, alternative building methods,  and making use of local materials and found objects wherever possible to create works of Art.

I was born in the Eastern Cape in South Africa, which has a rich tradition of beadwork amongst the Xhosa nation, lead by the great statesman and much loved former President, Nelson Mandela.

Beads were initially used as trading in the early part of the 19th Century and have a special social and ritual significance, used for denoting gender, age and status of the wearer.

I managed to source an old VW hubcap from a second hand car dealer. No, I did not trawl the dumpsites looking for them as I knew I would not find any. Some poor soul from the townships would have got there before me and made a stove out of it or something, this being South Africa and poverty being a powerful motivator of ingenuity.

I arranged the beads in an Ndebele pattern. The Ndebele is one of the many  groupings of people in the broader Southern Africa. I liked the strong African design.

A single bead is a humble object of little significance. But when put together in numbers they make a powerful statement. Just as the small voices who are calling to save our planet from extinction, when added together become a powerful  force of change in government laws, and bring about the end of industrial pollution in the world.

Ken has collected over 1000 hubcabs. 250 of these have been selected as part of a travelling exhibition which begins its journey in a Museum in Pennsylvania and from there around the States and hopefully around the world.

I am pleased that my hubcap has been chosen, as it is a subject very close to my heart.

View other hubcaps submitted as part of the project:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Publishing with fewer environmental Perils?

A bit of a focus on Green Design
written by visual artist Janet Botes

While doing some online research for my studies in 2006 I came across Celery Design Collaborative, based in Berkeley in the US. On a recent search for this Design company I found that 5 years later they're still going strong. With updated branding and some outputs or "eco tools" from their efforts in creating and supporting sustainable design they're a great example or role model for other design and publishing companies. One of the outputs is a Sustainability Score Card that gives a good overview of what options to favor when choosing paper, plastic, ink and binding methods for your next creative or publishing project. Check it out at Looking at paper, they have also created an ecological Guide to Paper. Go and read more about paper processes and how to choose your paper at

Another output is a book published in 2009, Green Graphic Design, by Brian Dougherty. Check it out at According to Jade-Snow Carroll of the Design Observer, it is a "great resource for designers wanting to practice their craft sustainably".

On the same track there is a fresh, new and local company to keep an eye on... Paper People Publishing Collective, based in Johannesburg. As a book arts network and a publishing house they encourage all their authors to print on recycled materials, and are developing solutions for hand-printed and hand-bound books from Studio 6 at the Newtown Artist-Run Centre.

As a general guideline, when choosing your paper, try choose paper that are approved by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), tree-free paper or recycled paper.

When choosing your recycled paper also consider the percentage of waste used, and the amount of chlorine used to whiten or brighten the post consumer waste paper used in the production of the paper. And how about hemp paper? From what I hear things are looking good for the possibility of having industrial hemp legalized in our country! Industrial hemp is not from the same strain of plants that can be smoked, and as hemp grows much quicker and with less water than cotton it is a great raw material for use in the clothing industry, building industry and, of course, for paper. Another new option is stone paper, have a look at the post we published about Stone Paper:

When looking at ink, suggest to your printers that they use vegetable-based inks and low-VOC solvents. And from what I've read, don’t use a printer that uses isopropyl alcohol. Generally, as with all materials and products, try to avoid inks with toxic chemicals.

When delivering and packaging your books, brochures and other designed materials for your clients, don’t wrap them in plastic, but pack them in re-usable, recycled or re-used packages. Also tell buyers to recycle or re-use all packaging and containers as far as possible.

Together all the small changes and effort we make makes a big difference.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ecological Land Art Walk - sleep under the stars!

Join for a two-day facilitated walk exploring the ecology of place through Land Art. Nature’s Valley to Keurbomstrand 13 & 14 August 2013

R 1 400 per person, sleep under the stars, fully catered.

Web registration page at: 
or email: for more info.

Monday, April 15, 2013

International Artist Feature: Sarawut Chutiwongpeti

Installation Art by Sarawut Chutiwongpeti from Thailand

Sarawut Chutiwongpeti graduated from the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at Chulalongkorn University in 1996. His work aims to explore cross-interdisciplinary junctions of art and culture, and searching for answers that can help reverse the subordination and objective materialism, which are prevalent in today’s society. Sarawut's work is created in a  search for the unexplored facets of experience. 
What are the thoughts, doubts, fears, uncertainties, and reflections that we have and experience as we head towards the new material and immaterial territories, which we are to inhabit in the future?  - Sarawut Chutiwongpeti
See more of his work at his website

The Installation series of Untitled (Wishes, Lies and Dreams),
2008, Variable Dimensions, Mixed Media

The Installation series of Untitled (Wishes, Lies and Dreams >> I Want To Believes..!),
2009, Variable Dimensions, Mixed Media

The Installation series of “Untitled 2007” (Primitive Cool),
2007, Variable Dimensions, Mixed Media

The Installation series of Untitled (Wishes, Lies and Dreams >> Paradiso...),
2009, Variable Dimensions, Mixed Media

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Awards for green initiatives & success stories

Mail & Guardian Greening the Future Celebrates a Decade!

In 2013 the Mail & Guardian’s annual flagship, Greening the Future, celebrates a decade of honouring environmental best practice in South Africa. For the past 10 years Greening the Future has publicised innovative efforts to create a cleaner planet without compromising progress. It showcases innovation in renewable energy, action to combat climate change and strategic management of natural resources.

This year new awards for Future Leaders, Rhino Rescue, Community Conservation and Biodiversity Stewardship have been added to the categories of the prestigious flagship. Awards are also given in the following categories: Business, Non-Profit Organisations, Water Management, Energy Efficiency and Carbon Management, Innovation in Renewables, and Schools and Institutions.

The awards are judged by a panel of forward-thinking and experienced individuals involved in shaping environmental sustainability in South Africa. We invite companies, parastatals, NGOs, schools, institutions and individuals to join in the celebration of the Greening Decade by showcasing your success stories in making the world a better place for those who live in it.

To enter go to www. entries open Friday February 22, 2013 and close on Friday May 3, 2013.

For more information contact:

Tamarin Marshman
Project Manager: Events
Mail & Guardian
Tel: 011 250 7300
195 Jan Smuts Ave

Monday, April 8, 2013

Artist Opportunity

Call for submissions: is inviting South African artists currently studying or who have graduated within the last five years from a recognised higher education art or design course to apply for online representation. Artists working in any visual media can submit works for consideration.

Please complete the Preliminary Application Form by following the link All applications will be reviewed by the Curatorial Panel and the successful artists will be notified by email. The application period closes on the 31st of July 2013.

About and the StateoftheART Gallery is a dynamic art marketplace offering contemporary fine art for sale by South African Fine Arts graduates and emerging artists - we make art more accessible to the world and provide a platform for selected artists to make a living without giving up their artistic vision. These are a few of the benefits that can offer you as an artist:
  • Opportunity to consign work to the StateoftheART Gallery in Cape Town
  • Free professional portfolio on the website (we take a commission on sales) 
  • Press coverage - in the last few months we have featured in Leadership Magazine, Conde Nast House & Garden and Business Day as well as many online blogs and publications. 
  • Introduction of your work to our corporate clients and collectors both nationally and internationally.

For more information visit or
contact Jennifer on T:021 801 4710

Friday, April 5, 2013

Disbandment of the Green Your Art initiative as a physical entity

Most of you know that this blog has been the digital outlet and representation of a physical movement or initiative based in Cape Town. Last year we did a demonstration on creating recycled paper, homemade glue and plant dye on Pasella. And recently we had a meeting about setting up a GYA team to run projects and extend the reach of the small initiative. In the last GYA newsletter, however, I've expressed my decision to disband the initiative. My commitment to Green Art and the role of creativity in sustainable development is by no means diminished by this act, and I have more time to focus on creating art from waste materials and developing/finding eco-friendly art materials and alternatives. This blog will be kept updated, I will connect and collaborate as an artist with projects, work and initiatives by people involved and interested in Green Art, and I now have more time to dedicate towards making the Green Expo art exhibition a bigger success this year.

The decision not made due to a lack of support from people interested to get involved and help with the initiative, and I really appreciate and value the generous offers of help and involvement. My reasons for making the big decision were based on my personal aims and priorities. If, at all, anyone is interested in fully taking on the running, management and drive of the initiative I am happy to give everything I have as resources. So if you feel THIS strong about the existence and continuation of this project, please contact me at!

And now we get to the juicy bits - my reasons. Hopefully someone could learn from this, or maybe it gives you the inspiration and insight towards making important changes in your own life.

The who, why and how of the disbandment of the Green Your Art initiative

I, Janet Botes, have been running the "show" for a few years - first in the form of the 'Ecojunki' movement, then shortly as Greenivate, and finally as GYA (Green Your Art). The project evolved from a platform for my green art projects that didn't seem to fit my other fine art works, which at that stage (from about mid 2007) were mostly self-expressive, abstract art.

As my work evolved and I grew as an artist and person, the two separate directions or styles in my art (abstract, expressive versus eco-friendly nature-focused) started to merge. Which led me towards making Ecojunki and eventually Green Your Art more inclusive - featuring other artists and encouraging artists to work with a more environmentally-sensitive approach.

One of my biggest challenges has been to manage my time in a way that I don't neglect important aspects of my art or of the initiative. I've ended up spending too many hours in front of the computer and not enough time with a paintbrush in my hand, too many hours strategizing and brainstorming and not enough time being in nature.

When assessing and evaluating the situation during the two weeks following the meeting on 16 March, I shared my feelings, concerns and thoughts with my husband, who's walked most of the Ecojunki-GYA journey with me. He reminded me that I've considered 'merging' it with my art practice (e.g. giving eco art workshops under my own artist name rather than GYA), and disbanding the initiative four other times within the last two years. I've felt - and strongly now feel - the need to focus my efforts towards more self-initiated and consolidated projects as an artist, land artist, designer, workshop facilitator and photographer, without the responsibilities and expectations involved with running an initiative representing or affecting other people's projects, interests and investments.

In a sense I am becoming more selfish with my time, but the result of time spent on my passions rather than sticking to something I've outgrown, or something that has outgrown me, will prove itself valuable to everyone who work with me. Essentially I am an artist, and I get great joy from creating new things. Even though I've done a relatively efficient job at running Green Your Art, my management, coordination and organizing skills are not my strengths, and does not serve my purpose on the earth as well as working as a committed full time artist, crafter, and creator. There are several organizations and initiatives that serve as similar collective network or play a connective role within our community in supporting and connecting artists and people with a strong connection to nature and sustainable development. Get involved with these guys: annually has global campaigns which give ample opportunity to get create and raise awareness for the environment. They also have the following specific art-related campaigns or initiatives to get involved with:

There's also several links on the links page of this blog!

After sharing most of my personal reasons, I'd like to end off with a quick explanation why setting up the team, and sharing responsibilities with other people, would not have been sufficient in truly giving me the time and focus that I crave:
  • Even when having people to help with a project, there needs to be a leader, facilitator, director to organize the responsibilities, people and resources. This is a big responsibility and have proven to be just as time consuming than 'doing things yourself'', your tasks and actions just change. In fact, with growth comes more admin!
  • I find that people are seldom able to take charge, commit or take ownership of something that they didn't conceive or create. This is natural, and of course there is often uncertainty on how much and what you are 'allowed' to do or change within a company, organization or initiative. This keeps the onus of driving the initiative forward mostly, if not solely, on me.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment at the end of this post! I trust, however, that I have given a relatively clear image of my reasoning around the disbandment of Green Your Art.

With no regrets & a warm heart,
Janet Botes

The Site_Specific SIDES Programme: CALL FOR PROPOSALS

click to enlarge

Site_Specific International Land Art Biennale
10 - 17 August 2013, Plettenberg Bay

Site_Specific hereby invites proposals for contemporary site specific land art works with the focus on using natural materials, and to create work that is ephemeral and embracing of the natural beauty of Plettenberg Bay.


The second Site_Specific International Land Art Biennale will take place in Plettenberg Bay 10 - 17 August 2013. This year, Site_Specific will be opening the event to 15 more artists to create their work in Plettenberg Bay alongside the core group of invited artists from Germany, South Korea and South Africa.

We realised that there are many artists that want to be part of Site_Specific, although we can only financially support a core group of invited artists. Thus we have decided to invite an additional maximum of 20 artists as a ‘fringe’ group on the basis and mutual understanding that they will work independently.

These Site_Specific SIDE artists will have the opportunity to join the invited artists in the programme schedule for the period, including lectures, discussions, workshops and social events. The SIDES work will be on display in the same area as those of the invited core group, and will be included in the Site_Specific catalogue documenting the event.


  1. Support in identifying a site for your art work and the permission from all the relevant authorities.
  2. Inclusion in the official programme and catalogue of Site_Specific 2013.
  3. Participation in the evening lectures, discussions, workshops and social events of Site_Specific 2013.
  4. Inclusion and exposure to all media that will cover the event.
  5. On approval of your proposal, you will receive a Site_Specific Participant Passport, that will entitle you to significantly discounted accommodation and other offers at Plettenberg Bay establishments.


  1. Application deadline: 2 May 2013
  2. Selection of artists: 2 June 2013 
  3. Working on site in Plettenberg Bay: 10-17 August 2013
  4. Opening event: 17 August 2013
  5. Closing and dismantling of art work: 18 August 2013


  1. Artists will be responsible for their own transport, accommodation, meals etc.
  2. Artists will be responsible for their own material, tools, realisation and installation of art work.
  3. Artists will accept and obey all the rules and guidelines provided by Site_Specific during the week long event.


Site_Specific reserves the right to publish photographs and films showing the exhibited art works.


Please send the following information to by 2 May 2013.
  1. A concept drawing of your proposed art work showing it from different angles.
  2. Explanation: title, technique and size of the proposed art work.
  3. List of materials that you plan to use.
  4. Describe a preferred site along the Milkwood Trail in Plettenberg Bay (including Main & Robberg Beach) that you have in mind for the work. Other sites can be considered if relevant.
  5. Supply a time frame for installing your art work and taking it down on 18 August 2013.
  6. Supply your name and contact details (email address and mobile phone number).
  7. Proof of EFT payment, please use SIDE plus your name as payment reference i.e. SIDEnameSurname.


Please pay ZAR 250.00 into our account to help cover administrative costs.

FNB, Account name: K2102029381
Account no.: 62353123335
Rosebank branch code: 250655
Reference: SIDEyourName

Proposals without proof of payment will not be processed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NESTING by Danien Esselen

Look at these fabulous works by Danien Esselen! Nests, bark hideouts and bulb-like art habitats. I first saw her work at the Gallery @ Grande Provence in Franschhoek, Western Cape, as part of the Walk This Earth Alone exhibition, and recently saw these photographs from her "Nesting" exhibition. Danien Esselen completed a BA (Hon) Fine Arts at the University of Pretoria, but have lived in the country side all her life - growing up with a strong connection to the land and nature. 

Herewith images from the exhibition and excerpts from Danien's artist statement:

"The Nest artworks are a subjective reflection of myself as a woman becoming a mother. The work therefore has a strong feminine quality and focuses significantly on the Maternal. The Nests symbolise a maternal womb; a place of safety, shelter and protection. Each Nest becomes a sacred place where any mother can safely shield and nurture her infant. The intense detail and aesthetic quality in the Nests reflect this fetish and compulsive nature of the female -The Maternal."

"The creation process of these Nests are also very significant. The natural materials are delicately collected, gathered and rummaged for. The material is then delicately handled further and processed until fitting. Then only is that material woven, platted, entwined and manipulated into a Nest structure. All these processes are essential and a significant feminine act. The natural media which is used in creating these nests is very metaphorical, referring to the notion of the caring and nurturing mother/ Mother Earth. "

"These Nest artworks become a symbol of protection and to “memorise a loss and also defend against it.” It is symbolical that nature and the environment are disappearing and being destroyed daily and that it is essential that we protect it. Viewers can interact with these Nest artworks and explore nature at a closer and more intense and spiritual level as one can touch, feel and smell the works, highlighting the sacred and almost spiritual powers nature embodies and what an essential part it is of life and our daily lives.