Fantastic Finals Celebration!

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.

The Judges from left: Alex Hayn, Moira Odendaal, Haidee Nel, Thomas Joubert and Anton Groenewald by Henk Venter

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.

Image may contain: 3 people, tree, crowd, plant, outdoor and nature
Bubble en Krabble

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.

Cobus and Ruzelda by Henk Venter

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

Season Sun – 2m diameter, recycled steel, wattle, string and jewels.
“Never live a day without the Sun as you stare into its beams.  My sculpture represents the Sun, all life beginning, ending and being.  Enjoy the feel of sunshine throughout all seasons, warm and cold,  while appreciating the beauty of nature surrounding you”.

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.

Season Sun. photo by Henk Venter

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

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Thomas Joubert and ‘his’ Emoji

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!

“Just like the forest speaks to us without words;  EMOTICONS communicate graphically what we often struggle to convey in words.  Which emoticon best suits your feelings today? 
Do you think the forest feels the same? ” photo by Henk Venter

Taegan Martin – Networks

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Networks – 20m diameter, eucalyptus, woodchips and locally indigenous trees.
“As we progress further with technology and become an increasingly network-driven society 
we slowly forget the first network that ever existed – the Forest.
The forest, much like a city, is run by complex networks – each tree, insect and animal working together to maintain it”.

By far the largest artwork with a 20-meter diameter, I’m pretty sure you will be able to see this beauty from space!

Networks by Taegan Martin

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

No photo description available.
Nature’s Eye by Jean Mouton: “When you do your part, nature will do the rest…
Reflecting all the elements needed to embrace creation”.

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.

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Nature’s Eye on the Masbiekers dam

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

b by Allister Windvogel
“Insects and spiders are an important part of the environment. The spiders in this web are protecting the small trees growing in the forest  just like we need to take steps to protect the environment. b 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!

Spider Web by Allister Windvogel

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

Protector of Forest by Lwazi Sangweni
“This sculpture is the protector of the forest.  It will protect the trees in it, like a mother bird protects her young.

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.

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Griffiths and the protector

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.

The Protector by 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!

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Olyfkrans boys

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.

Landia Davies chipping in with Allister Windvogel

And last but not least, the finalists whose artworks make our little valley a very special place indeed.

To one and all THANK YOU!!!

Photo by Henk Venter

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6 comments

  1. This is a phenomenal event connecting creativity, community and nature that would wow all peoples anywhere in the world!
    Please let it be an annual event on the “Creativity Calendar”

  2. This was a lovely post.. It summarizes the spirit, energy and passion of the whole project and so beautifully showcases the results of all who worked with such dedication and care for our forest. Thank you Andrew and Landia.

  3. Wow – this looks like such an incredibly creative, environmental, community event! Landia and Andrew you are amazing and I know how hard you worked on making this a success – and it looks like it was an overwhelming success. The world needs more of this xxx

    1. Thanks, Heik! It’s been amazing to have such positive feedback and great support from people. We’re hoping to do a lot more if we can find the funding and keep the momentum up.

      Watch this space 😉

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