After a recent visit to the Market Outside the Box (OTB) in Burj Park I was inspired by the colourful and surreal illustrations by the prolific South African artist, Andrew Verster who’s work was part of the fascinating pop-up market by the Showcase Gallery and FN Designs. His bright ritualistic depictions of warriors kept reemerging in my mind, so today I had to go and look at them again and get some information about the artist.
At the gallery we where greeted by the lovely Marina Lordan (Gallery Manager) who allowed me to take a picture for my blog and she also gave me some information about the artist. Andrew Verster is a 75 year old artist with an spiritual and aesthetic interest in ancient cultures, their body markings, tattooing and scarification – possibly why I have such an affinity to his work – and his work is not based on a particular tribe, but rather a ‘global tribe’. He is also interested in iconography, symbols, sub-concious, dreams and spiritual deities and for me, these aspects are best illustrated in his series of Warriors, to be found at the Showcase Gallery.
Personally his series ignited this idea that I have been toiling with for about a year now. I painted the first of the series two nights ago and I was thinking of a title for it. I came up with War at Home (might change later), based on a book I am currently reading about the history of South Africa. I did not even know that his series was similarly titled (see Warriors above). My series revolves around the depiction of a group of personally remarkable and inspirational women and whether it was his use of color, mark, subject, the ritualistic use of repetitive format or all of the above, I am inspired and motivated.
I was also reading and researching my cultural history (Specifically the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902) when I came across this remarkable lady:
Nonnie de La Rey was the wife of General Koos De La Rey, who is a very well known General who fought against British rule during the war. His wife is one of the very few women from the Anglo-Boer War who’s writings of her accounts was published. During the war the men where fighting and the women where sent to British concentration camps. She refused to be sent (with her children) to a camp while her husband was at war. She consequently roamed the “veld” with her children for a year to evade being tortured or die of starvation. She had all the elements of the perfect “volksmoeder” or “Boer womanhood”, which was a post-war ideology that developed out of this notion of female strength. Later these same elements of womanhood where oppressively used for the Nationalist party’s own agenda/propaganda, but despite that, Nonnie was a remarkable woman. (Nassan, B. & Grundlingh, A. 2013. The War at Home: Women and families in the Anglo-Boer war. Tafelberg)