We all arrived in the Tankwa with our lives changed in very individual ways by the experiences of the pandemic.
How do we reconnect? To each other? To the landscape? To the fullness of emptiness?
The level of openness and courage we brought to our explorations was astounding. Or as Robert Koch put it in his poem below: “…emergence casts its magic, shaping this moment…”
To our own surprise almost all of us dealt with what emerged in the shape of performances, rituals, poems, singing, all coming from the depths of our hearts. We became very close.
On the final evening of the residency, we gathered for a sound journey Quentin had prepared for us inside one of the empty water reservoirs. We all lay in a circle, face up towards a frenetic night sky jagged with stars and satellites. One of us had fallen asleep and began to snore like a diesel truck in spite of, maybe because of, the mythical quality of the sound journey. When we were all able to stir from the magic Quentin had created in the circle, the snorer apologised: “I just seemed to wander off”. JP’s come back was that we had ‘’all heard the departure… and that something needed oiling!” The laughter was magical too, generative, transformative and nourishing for the post-pandemic flotsam inside the reservoir.
There was healing experienced in a way that cannot be put into words.
By day she greeted us kindly, offering her paper walls as sanctuary. Providing a bright shade in this windless heat. A small place where we could hold ourselves in this beautiful but vast expanse.
She was meant to be a little safe place in the darkness too - but in the midnight quiet her presence evoked the unsettled thoughts of the frightened dances we dance each day.
Shadows turned her walls into windows and replayed scenes of past lives and other whispering worlds across them.
She resumed her life and showed us what she had always been. Refusing to let go of her past as she lived in the present. A ghost constantly haunted by her own ghosts. Living a new life; living an old life.
“A Broken String”
Because of a broken string
because of a people breaking the string
the earth my place is the place of
something, a thing broken,
that does not stop sounding breaking with me
Poem by Stephen Watson based on
Dia!kwain’s /xam story, Lloyd Bleek Collection
Journey, endeavor and destination.
The question is fundamental to everything I am.
A mirage in the sand.
I never really sang.
Last year, on a hill in Area 51 on Stonehenge I started to speak a different language.
This year, on a different hill I sang to the stones in the veld.
This is a work in progress. Most of my art usually is.
It often changes, morphs, undulates, weaves, and moves in ebb-and-flow patterns. Mimicking and honouring natural cycles.
In a way, my art - especially something this ‘raw’ - can even be seen as a gentle form of rebellion against our need for perfection, control, and poise.
In the Tankwa this year I stepped beyond my fear and shyness, to sing to everyone around the campfire.
I am stepping up with courage, to shine my light, to embody more fully the woman and the artist that I could be.
Which becomes an invitation for everyone around me to do the same for themselves.
“Poem for the Tankwa”
An art intervention in the Tankwa
I carry the horizons of the Tankwa behind my eyelids
The distant, purple mountains provide a sanctuary for thought and the open spaces, a canvas for exploration
I brought the word ‘Natural’ with me for contemplation
I chose a site with visual impact and a narrative of disturbance.
My intervention culminated in a meditation honouring the stones .
“A Kind of Magnificence”
A poem written at and about the Tankwa Artscape Residency
“The Circle Vigil”
A whole night ritual performed by Hanien and Colin
Video and audio by Ashley Dowds
Images and videos courtesy of Tegan Green, Lyn Mossop, Robert Koch,
Janet Botes, James Mader, Ashley Dowds