The 1st of September was the big day – the prize-giving celebration of our first MVP Environmental Sculpture Competition, and it was awesome!
The Big Day in Masbiekers Valley
What a beautiful, special spring day it was! The weather was perfect and a great crowd turned up to celebrate with MVP and enjoy the artworks in the woods.
After a brief welcome the judges – renowned South African artist Haidee Nel, Municipal manager Anton Groenewald, Swellendams’ Red Lady, Moira Odendaal, Alex Hayn from Atelier and the Dominee Thomas Joubert – were introduced and sent into the woods to decide on the winner.
Performances followed by the tiny tots group Babbel and Krabble, the talented Stella on guitar from Swellendam Hoer Skool, the Railton Brassband with some big beats and carnival flair and finally the delightful Cobus and Ruzeldas’ lovely folk harmonies complete with dance routine by their daughter.
All the while the Swellendam Lions, Song of Wheat and Seonae Eco Village produced delicious goodies to keep everyone full and satisfied both before the sculpture walk and on their return.
…and the Winners are…
Choosing the winners was a tough task. Each of the sculptures was a huge success in its own right. The three merit awards went to Karinsa Schutte’s Season Sun, Zondagh Zaayman’s Emoticons of the Forest and Taegan Martin’s Networks.
Season Sun by Karinsa Schutte
This artwork was a 2 meter in diameter dream catcher, suspended 3m above the ground between two gum trees. It was positioned so that the suns rays would catch the glittering jewels around sunset.
The setting is really rather profound as you have to change your perspective and LOOK UP, raise your face to the sun.
Zondagh Zaayman – Emoticons of the Forest
Zondagh’s creation was a crowd favourite with people posing with the emoticons as they walked through the forest. Each Emoji was about 50cm across and made from a fallen eucalyptus tree. There were 15 rounds which were double-sided leaving visitors 30 emotions with which to grapple!
Taegan Martin – Networks
By far the largest artwork with a 20-meter diameter, I’m pretty sure you will be able to see this beauty from space!
Taegan’s concept was brilliant, drawing the idea of the forest network and our social networks. Over time, the indigenous trees that he planted will grow, forming a network of bush, roots, trees and animals.
3rd Place: Nature’s Eye by Jean Mouton
Jeans’ 4m floating sculpture was the most technically difficult and ambitious piece consisting of the sculpture, recycled steel and wattle as well as the raft of timber, recycled drums and rope. As you walk around the dam you have a 360-degree view before finally arriving at the viewing point on the dam wall. The sculpture scored consistently high with all of the judges.
The beauty of this piece is really the changing light and reflections that dance off the water throughout the day. With the majestic clock peaks in the background, Nature’s Eye encourages one to stop and reflect.
2nd Place: Spider Web by Allister Windvogel
Made up of a whole series of webs created from wattle and string, Allister’s sculpture was invisible until you were right on top of it. It reminded me so much of walking into a REAL spider web!
The concept was great too with the webs surrounding and protecting a nursery of baby trees. The spiders were made out of wattle bark and the whole installation had a special charm all of its own…
1st Place: Protector of Forest by Lwazi Sangweni
Lwazi’s creation is 4 meters across and stands at almost 6 meters tall. Despite its impressive dimensions, the lattice work of wattle poles allows it to blend seamlessly into the surroundings.
The sculpture literally protects the nursery of trees within it and metaphorically talks to the need to protect the environment. Sculptural and ephemeral, the protector finished 1st in a very competitive field!
Well done Lwazi Sangweni.
Big Thank Yous
We have soooo many thanks to give to all those who helped make this special day happen and to those who showed up.
Firstly to the Grootbos Foundation, Whale Coast Conservation, WWF and the Table Mountain Fund for the generous grant. In particular, a big thank you to Lily Upton, our point of contact at Grootbos for her continual encouragement and support!
To the judges, Thomas Joubert, Haidee Nel, Anton Groenewald, Alex Hayn and Moira Odendaal, a terrible terrible thing to have to do, thank you for taking on the burden of judgement.
To Friends of Marloth for putting up the prize money. It is so important that artists are recognised for their effort and hard work, thank you for making this possible.
Swellendam Lions for the chainsaw which was crucial to building ALL of the sculptures. Also for your ongoing support planting trees and doing food on the day.
To the guys who did the hard graft with me, Griffiths Sefuba and Philip Chibuda. Unseen but impossible without you.
Elsie Oosthuizen for organising the performers for the day.
Alex and Bruce from Atelier for all of the fantastic design work and continued support for the project.
Sarel Neetling from Thornlands for the donation of compost for the trees.
Olyfkrans College for your continued support and to the boys who volunteer most Fridays, you guys worked like champions!
Anton Groenewald and Keith Stuurman from the Swellendam Municipality for their ongoing support of the project.
Moira Odendaal (Miss Ruby) for the trees and generous donation.
Michael Norman for continued expertise, time, energy and the use of tools. This man is as selfless as they come. Thank you.
Henk Venter and Cathy Van Eeden for the support and amazing pictures.
Beneke DeWet, Thomas Joubert, Lily Upton, Elsie Oosthuizen, Ross Soller, Meraai and Yvette, John Mulder, Win and Steve Hofmeyr, Marie Jo, Chantal from the Veggie Box, TVM for the klippies (stones).
My beautiful wife.
And last but not least, the finalists whose artworks make our little valley a very special place indeed.
To one and all THANK YOU!!!
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