Artb. Gallery, Bellville, May, 2011
‘TRAVELLING LIGHT MOTHER EARTH’
Reflecting on the world to-day and my journey in it, I find that environmental issues loom very large. I am always so conscious of the space around me and what’s in it and particuarly, natural elements.
I chose to focus on the present and the future in this exhibition, although some of the prose/poetry refers to incidents or observations in the past. They are all personal experiences. I did not focus on large issues like the building of dams, diverting of rivers etc. but rather on the everyday interface of life – things that we all can relate to, one way or another. Things I have seen during the course of my life that bother/have bothered me.
The perspex suitcase is light, airy, transparent and travels lightly but the paradox is that it is made with chemicals derived from oil and thus a pollutant derivative down the line. The irony implied is that no matter how hard we try to be consciously PC of the environment, our lives are so intricately woven with products derived from oil and we are so dependent for the running of society’s engines on natural sources that we convert into energy (I.e. electricity/oil/gas powers all spheres of life) that we cannot function without them.
The prose/poetry is not not written with a ‘holier than thou’ attitude – I am/have been guilty of some of the actions referred to, as much as the next person. It is a general cry to humanity that each of us can make a difference and lots of small differences can amount to huge healing of Mother’s Earth’s Body.
The rest of the elements of this sculpture are environmentally friendly – bone latches I carved from bones that I retrieved that lay in the veldt, from animals which had not been killed by any human action: the prose/poetry is written on recycled paper and the ties used to secure the prose/poetry ‘labels’ to the suitcase were woven by me from strands of the lemongrass plant that grows in my vegetable garden where we use no pesticides, herbicides or insecticides.
TRAVELLING LIGHT MOTHER EARTH
Slip in the slipstream of the coal truck
Don’t drive the truck!
Too many trucks
burden the air,
haze the landscape,
drown out the cries
of The Falco Tinnunculus
The Milvus Migrans
The Elanus Caeruleus
Clear bath water needs no crystals
Downstream, downstream, downstream
the residue scours the bowels
of The Chiromantis Xerampelina
The Rana Angolensis
The Rana Fuscigula
What trees do you blow your nose on?
The lignum that knew all seasons,
the rain, the mist, the sun, the clouds?
The ligneous shelter
of The Diplopoda
Weave the baskets again from Mother Earth’s bounty –
rushes, reeds, papyrus, bark
at season’s end when the life force is spent
and green shoots have turned to brown strips of
straw, cane and rind.
Let the greengrocer’s fruits breathe in them.
No plastic suffocation here.
Rock pools need no suntan lotion to oil their days
The Choromytilus Meridionalis
The Chthamalus Dentatus
The Saccostrea Cuccullata
Leave no tyre treads on
The Donax Serra
The Bullia Digitalis
they crush like eggs in the sand.
Pluck no souvenirs, no living sea trinkets,
from their watery homes,
breaking the oceanic life cycles
of The Argonauta Argo
The Parechinus Angulosus
The Cypraea Tigris
Look! Look! Look!
Looking is as free as the air,
momentary, yet timeless, stuck in the mind’s eye,
like Helicon Prunosus hewed to rock as tidal waters rush over.
Look as much as you want
But not in the medicine man’s cabinet or his packets or his jars
or his bottles at
T C M
T C M
T C M
A dirge for the slashing and burning
of Mother Nature’s bounty,
of man’s foolish vanity
Feel the sun’s fire
at the animals in the farmers’ fields.
Black beasts burning in the hot sun.
Black fur soaking up the heated sun rays
’till the blood boils in the body.
No shade here: no trees
just stubbly land and baked earth,
hard-fired by summer’s season.
Feel winter’s lockdown
Look and suffer
the lambs stuck,
hard-frozen to earth’s icy grip.
No shelter here: no sheds
Feel man’s casual indifference to the beasts in his domain.
Take thought to the casual indifference,
the denial of suffering,
of hooked mouths,
unhooked and freed
to bleed in the oceans.
It’s called “sport”
The Grey Psittacida
in his endless loneliness,
caged behind thin, steel bars,
driven to self-mutilation,
suicide even ?
by plucking out his feathers.
Pity all those caged.
Feel man’s ignorance
of their helpless, flightless loneliness.
LOOK FEEL HEAR
Hear the veiled murmurs of the universe
for Mother Earth’s fate,
gripped by her deadly dis-ease.
They whisper this, her dread fate,
the virus spread across her body.
They whisper the word softly