Journey – Op Reis Art Exhibition 1

Artb. Gallery, Bellville, May, 2011


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.




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

                                    The Latrodectus

                                    The Cerambycidae


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 again

Look as much as you want

But not in the medicine man’s cabinet or his packets or his jars

or his bottles at

                                    Bear Paws

                                    Monkey Hands

                                    Leopard Tails

                                    Shark Fins

                                    Rhino Horns

                                    Elephant Tusks

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.


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


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image