Inheemse Gedenktuin [Indigenous Memorial Garden]

Inheemse Gendenktuin, is a memorial piece for the critically endangered vegetation type 'Breede Alluvium Fynbos' which is indigenous to the Breede River Valley.

It consists of 336 squares of burnt plant material or ash each representing a specific plant belonging to the group. The blocks of ash are mounted away from the substrate and appears to float off the surface. The 'painting' really happens in this space as the reverse side of each block is painted in a unique colour which reflects onto the white substrate behind. This creates a 'painting' which consists mainly of reflected light.

The ash lies loosely on the surface of each block and occasionally drop to the floor through gravitation. It is a curious work in that it has become unexpectedly interactive as viewers tend to touch the ash. The piece thus bears the traces of previous viewers.

Conceptually, I saw this as a large landscape painting with endangered flowers as subject matter.

The initial impetus of this work was to commemorate the plants of the Breede River Valley and to contemplate what comes after loss. Do new forms arise after extinction? How will we be able to remember the experience of being in the unique ecological environment of these plants?

The interference of my audience with the ash was an unexpected outcome; one which questions when a painting is completed. In allowing the surface to be disrupted by various interactive forces, the creative process continues beyond the artist and her studio. The human interaction also seems to point to each individual's way of relating to 'other'. Some of the marks came because of carelessness, some from curiosity and some were deliberately made. This occurrence also indicates how our engagement leaves traces or evidence behind.