Th­ese artists care – across the board

Wavescape Art Board Project creations to go un­der the ham­mer for many good causes

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - WEEK­END AR­GUS RE­PORTER

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.’

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