November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Land Art Project/S. Africa

The garden at Soekershof


Jody Joyner’s Land Art & The Amazing

Botanical Gardens of South Africa


With Yvonne de Wit & Herman van Bon

In the narrow meaning of the word, a nest is the spot in which birds lay their egg(s) and hatch. In the Germanic languages it is also used as a name for a sleeping spot or a place where two lovers please each other. In the more natural sense of the word, ‘nest’ means ‘house’. And at home you feel yourselves at home in your own protected surroundings or shelter. People nowadays have simply attached themselves to comfort which modern technology offers us and that actually detaches them from the natural surroundings.

Why then not a nest made of natural material from its own surroundings? Simply to attach to the vicissitudes of nature and to repair your own ecobalans?

This idea is the basis with which Land Art artist Jody Joyner from Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A., has been playing from the end of December at Soekershof; Private Mazes & Botanical Gardens in South Africa, also named Green Cathedral of South Africa.

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Jody Joyner

Joyner recently completed work on a giant nest (woven of hibiscus twigs) at Soekershof, in Robertson, Western Cape. She was inspired by the numerous weaver bird nests in the old stretch of the Klaas Voogds River, which runs through the gardens.

A studio art major from Tucson, Ariz., she was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellowship for her project, “The Art of Place: Where We Are.” She is traveling to the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Japan, and Canada to study how artists visually convey their perceptions of, and connections to, the natural world, how their artwork reflects knowledge of local geographies, and whether art cultivates a sense of place.

Before beginning work at Soekershof in December 2010, she was involved in Landartgenerator in Dubai and a project in the Louvre in Paris. From South Africa she will fly first to Australia to be involved in a project with aboriginals, and from there she will create an object with Inuit in the North of Canada. Her assignment in South Africa was part of Land Art project in South Africa, an initiative of Soekershof,  a private initiative without governmental grants and/or subsidies.

View larger photos from the gallery please enter the FS button.



About the gardeners: Yvonne de Wit & Herman van Bon

Who we (me and my wife Yvonne) are?  Well, best is to google ‘soekershof’ or ‘green cathedral of south africa’. Be aMAZed and feel Welcome. We don’t pretend to be scientists (we just make use of those in a mutual beneficial way) and we are considered as ‘weird’ by some of our neighbours.
OK, visiting Soekershof is a bit of a whimsical experience, but also the proof that a garden does not have to be “boring”. It’s entertaining with a very serious undertone.
And what more: there is an outdoor collection of over 2500 different, registered, species/subspecies/cultivars/etc. of succulent plants from all over the world and we are very proud of that.
It also explains why representives of the SANBI gardens (Kirstenbosch, Karoo, etc.) in South Africa do not want to know about us, but we play nicely with some university gardens, nurseries and collectors around the globe.
You are Welcome!

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