Maggie Laubser’s Forever Light
NICK VAN DER LEEK’S journey into what drove this great South African artist starts in anxious disquiet but ends filled with tranquillity and hope
Fires are burning in Plettenberg Bay and Paarl. It seems to get hotter and drier the further south I go. I’m eight kilometres on the wrong side of Beaufort West when I pass a sign that says Nagenoeg (Close Enough). Am I? I have a bad feeling about this.
It’s the wrong time of year to be visiting Bloublommetjieskloof near Malmesbury.
The productive wheat farm where Maria Magdalena Laubser was born in 1886, eight years before Irma Stern, is the right place but the wrong time. Now is neither planting or harvesting season. Under the burning South African sun in January, the Swartland
RIGHT: In Boontjieplukkers, which sold in 2016 for R454 720, Laubser depicts harvesters atypically as women. They are the embodiment of both action and introspection.