Today we’ll be taking a look at the work of two !Xwe artists from the !Xhun and Khwe San Arts and Culture Project, that began Schmidtsdrift.
Andry Kashivi, the first artist we’ll be talking about says that Platfontein, the 12 500 hectare farm purchased by the government for the !Xun and Khwe in 1999, is a much better place than the tent town in Schmidtsdrift – basically a refugee camp in which these two communities lived for almost 10 years waiting for land disputes to be settled in the new South Africa.
Andry has carried a few precious belongings with her all through her arduous journey spanning many miles and many years. Chiefly amongst these are the mortar and pestle belonging to her mother and a beaded dancing skirt.
Her oil on canvas painting above, entitled Tree of Life with Gecko and Buck (1998), shows, I feel, some of the joy of life, resilience and spiritual beauty that one can deduce about Kashivi from her interview. (Read it and others in My Elands Heart, compiled and arranged by Marlene Sullivan Winberg, for sale at the Kalk Bay Modern)
The next work is by Joao Wenne Dikuanga and is a most astonishingly strong piece of work.
Joao, the oldest member of the group is an extremely quiet man. In his interview the few words he chooses to say come across with gravity. Wonderfully, he describes his creative process. It is linked to the hunting of the eland, something close to his heart:
“Here at Platfontein is no eland. When i think of this eland inside me, I just take a sheet of paper and draw it [....] [My work] comes from my heart or my head. It is from the old days, like what my father did. I think until i find the right image and then draw it.”
Below are another two works by Dikuanga illustrating the hunt.
(Click on the link below to view an article entitled Trailing the Schmidtsdrift San)