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

South African Country Life - - Travel - IM­AGES COURTESY A LIBERATORY VI­SION, SAN­LAM ART COL­LEC­TION AND STEL­LEN­BOSCH UNIVER­SITY, AND STRAUSS & CO

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.

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