"Kwaaikop", a ten-times life-size head, was installed at a Karoo homestead. In addition to working on location, this site-specific sculpture is made of salvaged mud-brick, the unbaked bricks typically used in constructing old buildings such as this.
The angry head is rising from the earth, as if in response to us naughty humans above. At the time of making the sculpture, Karoo communities were just picking up speed in protesting against fracking, the controversial mining method that is set to dramatically change this much loved and vast arid interior of South Africa.
I dedicate this sculpture to my mother who throughout here life committed to saving historical rural architecture, an effective example of activism in one's own backyard.
It was surprisingly emotional collecting these unbaked mud-bricks from a farmhouse ruin, as bit like attending a commemorative ceremony like a funeral. I like to think that there are memories contained in the bricks that relate back to the many forgotten lives that they sheltered over the years.
The modular system allows for collapsing the sculpture and reinstallation elsewhere. This is a lot more versatile than the usual permanent nature of installing an artwork this size.
The Absa Cape Epic commissioned Niël Jonker to create the bronze trophy for the winning team. The slideshow below displays some of the processes involved in casting bronze sculpture by using the Absa Cape Epic trophy as example.
Bronze sculpture artist Niel Jonker has been especially selected due to the similarities between his sensibility and ability to work on location, thus complimenting this unique MTB racing event staged in the same wild and magical landscape. Man and nature work in tandem through a creative process that calls for endurance, humility before the natural elements, and being willing to embrace whatever arises in the path. Jonker's bronze sculpture and landscape painting captures emotion and spirit of place, now captured in the Absa Cape Epic trophy.
A haunting beauty possesses the limited edition bronze sculptures of this trained sculptor. Figures that resonate with a gentle, yet definite emotion have been given form through expressive mark making. This inner turmoil alludes to the beautiful yet turbulent environment, timeless yet contemporary all at once.
From his studio in Baardskeerdersbos, with it's proximity to the Cape Fold Mountains, wilderness beaches and fynbos slopes, historic farms and forgotten villages, as well as the solitude afforded by living remotely, Niël Jonker maintains a unique vision that contributes significantly toward the intellectual landscape of South African art.
Niël presenting the Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu with his 80th birthday present.