These artists care – across the board
Wavescape Art Board Project creations to go under the hammer for many good causes
IT’S THAT time of year again, when the Wavescape Art Board Project offers nine signature surfboards for auction – and buyers grapple with whether they might just be way too beautiful to actually go into the water. The project, which is part of the annual Wavescape Festival which runs until December 13, has raised awareness and funds for ocean-related charities since 2005, with the Cape Town leg hosted by various contemporary art galleries, cafes and studio spaces over the year. In September 2012 the project went international in New York.
This year the main beneficiaries include the NSRI, Shark Spotters, Waves For Change, The Little Optimist and Cancer Dojo.
Contributing artists who, together with many other artists have donated time and talent to make the project a success, have included Asha Zero, Jake Aikman, Willie Bester, Conrad Botha, Beezy Bailey, Wim Botha, Guy Tillim, Brett Murray, Conn Bertish, Justin Fiske, Roger Ballen, Peter Eastman, Richard Scott, Gabby Raaff, ND Mazin, Mikhael Subotsky, Richard Hart, Anton Kannemeyer, Peter van Straten, Kim Longhurst, Scott Robertson, Zapiro, Chip Snaddon, Mr Fuzzy Slipperz, Varenka Paschke, and Osnat de Villiers. This years contributors are: ● Andrew Whitehouse, a founding partner and creative director of ad agency FoxP2. His board “depicts a polar bear and her cub on their ever-shrinking world – a melting iceberg. Below them, the submerged ice takes the shape of a skull – the sad truth about their imminent end.”
He says there is no greater threat to life on earth than climate change, and that because “surfing has an obvious but authentic connection with the living sea, it seemed appropriate to use this platform to keep the issue top of mind, especially amongst people who care.”
● Asha Zero, who had held several highprofile exhibitions here, in Los Angeles and in New York. Of his board, he says “the juxtaposition of bits and pieces – a composite of found, hand-painted images – has been combined with traditional technique to leave the surfboard open to interpretation”.
He comments that he likes the idea “of a cross-over between painting and a functional object, such as a surfboard”.
● Well-known local artist Beezy Bailey, contributing to the project for the second time, says his board was inspired by a friend’s successful catch of yellowtail on his boat.
“There is something biblical about a full catch, and the colours of fresh fish retain something of that submarine magic that can be other-worldly.”
His son and his son’s friends are keen surfers, and he’s impressed by the great work done by the NSRI.
● Brett Murray, one of the country’s most renowned artists, who has been called “the dark prince of South African pop art”. His board, he says, expresses his – and that of many South Africans – frustration and anger in the wake of the #PayBackTheMoney campaign.
“As someone who loves the sea, the Wavescape project keeps me vicariously involved with people who surf religiously,” he says.
● Chris Brehem, one of the underground artists in Cape Town’s deep south. He usually paints found objects such as drift wood and various types of flotsam washed up along the beach around Scarborough and Kommetjie, and says his board is a fun and simple wave design.
“A set of waves rolls through the universe and on a cosmic scale, travels through time as well.”
● Conn Bertish, a conceptual artist who has been dubbed an “agent provocateur” by the South African media. His board showcases “how I used surfing to help me survive cancer”.
“I hope my artwork, The Healing Board, will assist and inspire others do the same,” he says, adding that the project is always a great opportunity to communicate the important and growing concerns around ocean conservation, appreciation and awareness.
● Jake Aikman’s latest solo exhibition was presented in Rome last year, after a residency at Trevignano Romano. Of his board, he says: “A bright light punctuates a densely vegetated shoreline – a familiar welcoming settlement, or ominous new encounter? Ideally, the viewer completes and reinterprets the narrative. One could be arriving or leaving a utopian or dystopian landscape, and the position of the viewer (at sea) intends to maintain that ambiguity and instability.”
He says that anyone who spend time in the sea realises the importance of helping the associated organisations.
“I surf, so obviously on a personal level this project is highly relevant. I’ve owned a few surfboards, but have never painted on one, itself an interesting experience.”
● The One Love Studio, Sergio Rinquist and Claire Homewood. They headed to Khayelitsha to work with the Waves for Change Community Drop In Centre at Monwabisi, asking what surfing had brought to individuals and their community.
“We had discussions, sketched ideas, played some soccer, shared some skating tricks, watched the films of our previous Wavescape boards and got messy with paint.
“Surfing is having a massive impact on these Khayelitsha surfers. Their stories were the inspiration for our board. From gangsterism, alcohol drug abuse, and other social ills to surfing,” they say.
● Sanell Aggenbach’s work is represented in public and private collections, including Sasol, Absa, Spier, SABC, Red Bull (Austria) and Anglo Gold.
She says the Wavescape Festival has become a bedrock for Cape Town’s summer culture, and that her board features “a fantastical other-worldly shape suspended and curving across” it.
“To me it is important to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, and that is what I tried to convey.”
● The surfboards are on exhibit at Tiger’s Milk, Sidmouth Road, Muizenberg, until December 1, when the auction takes place at 7pm.
JAKE AIKMAN: ‘A bright light punctuates a densely vegetated shoreline – a familiar welcoming settlement, or ominous new encounter? Ideally, the viewer completes and reinterprets the narrative.
BEEZY BAILEY: ‘I was inspired by a friend’s successful catch of yellowtail on his boat. There is something biblical about a full catch and the colours of fresh fish retain something of that submarine magic that can be other-worldly.’
BRETT MURRAY: ‘The #PayBackTheMoney campaign continues to call on the president to repay hundreds of millions of rands illegally spent on his Nkandla home despite a huge economic crisis, his own corruption charges notwithstanding. The board expresses my and many South Africans’ frustration and anger.’
SANELL AGGENBACH ‘I recently exhibited an exhibition named Atopia, playing with the idea of new botanical hybrids. I extended this theme for the image on my surfboard. The outcome is a fantastical other-worldly shape suspended and curving across the board. To me it is important to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.’
CONN BERTISH: ‘The board showcases how I used surfing to help me survive cancer. I hope my artwork The Healing Board will assist and inspire others do the same.’