Nellien Brewer 2019 Artworks | | Art in South Africa
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Artist Statement: Out in the Open

On a walk one day, I picked up a dead sparrow. Even though it was dead, it was so exquisitely beautiful, that I simply had to immortalise it in some way. I drew its portrait in charcoal. Then I found a dead pigeon, and Mimi van der Merwe brought me a dead robin she had found in her garden. Other people started bringing me little bird corpses as they became aware of my interest. I started working on a series of ‘dead bird’ works in a variety of media. For me, the little corpses became a symbol of the many beautiful and precious things in our country that have been destroyed during the recent years.

Crime, corruption, xenophobic attacks, unscrupulous politicians… our country is going through very difficult times. Our family farms have been lost in an (unjustified) land claim. My brother has moved to the USA and my children are talking about emigrating. The once beautiful ‘plattelandse dorpies’ lie derelict and forlorn.

Sometimes it is difficult to see anything positive in the doom and gloom. But then I was reminded of Job. Job went through such terrible experiences, and yet he never sinned or cursed God, not even when his own wife told him to ‘curse God and die’. In the end everything he had lost was restored to him.

I do believe there is hope.

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Artist Statement: Star Sailors

I clearly remember the moon landing. I was a young girl on a remote farm in the KZN Midlands. I used to be fascinated by the moon - especially the full moon - rising over the mountain behind our farmhouse. Unfortunately, the spooky glow over the farm, inevitably, meant a time of stress for my father, as stock theft would increase during this time.

Times have changed. The farm has been lost in a land claim, and all the buildings and other infrastructure destroyed. The ruins, however, still lie there, and the full moon still rises over the mountain...

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