Earth Skin 

This site specific work was initiated in Lady Grey on 1 January 2000. 

Artist's statement

Documentation of this project began on 01/01/2000 with the aim of the work evolving through a process of change throughout the year 2000.  As the start of the new Millenium, this year had a particular significance as many prophets of doom declared that the end of the world was approaching. While working on this project my thoughts were on the change of seasons and the relationship of our body to the earth.

On the property of an artist-friend, Heleen du Preez, a patch of ploughed land adjacent to the small stone dwelling caused the red earth to push up against its walls. This proximity spoke to me about interrelationship but also about discomfort, the surface of earth and the nurturing of our bodies, cultivation and power politics. Just as the harrow delves into the surface of the soil, so I wanted to create physical associations between the image and the word 'harrow'.  

The way I processed the images was a deliberate practice of technological intervention: the scene was videoed, stills from the video were developed onto transparencies, and these were projected onto prepared Vilene surfaces.  Distortion of the imagery began to occur due to the repeated visual translations. The images were copied in charcoal onto the surfaces.  Thin washes of oil paint were applied, after which beeswax was saturated into the Vilene layers. This was further embedded with embroidered hair, enriching the charcoal drawings while linking human presence with the earth.  Then the layers were stitched together. The relationship of interdependence and the markings left by this relationship became entrenched in the video taken on and around the site.  

This work was exhibited throughout that year in four separate localities, It changed to a new format in accordance with each site, to reflect process, labour and the changing seasons. The images provide evidence of the work in different sites, and the material changes that took place over time.


As part of an art festival in Lady Grey, the Earth Skin installation was sited in the stable beside the ploughed land and the harrow that had inspired the work, and positioned alongside an installation by Heleen du Preez.


At The Unisa Art Gallery in Pretoria it formed part of an exhibition entitled Land, curated by Koos van der Watt.

It featured in the Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards (top 100) in Kempton Park.

In Pretoria it was exhibited at Millenium Art Gallery as part of the duo show Cross-cut Criss-Cross with Karin Lijnes.  After this exhibition Earthskin was taken up into the Unisa Art Collection at the end of 2000. It remained in its final form, and was exhibited at the Recent acquisitions exhibition at Unisa Art Gallery in 2003.

Work mentioned in in interview between Pieter GR de Villiers and Prof Annalet van Schalkwyk  at Littnett:

criss cross row detail Connect 2002.JPG