Category Archives: Interventions & Guerilla Art

Becoming a Creative Nomad and Rainmaker

I am busy packing. Nervous and excited. In a few days I will be leaving to South Africa, where I am taking part in the

Global Nomadic Art Project 2016
‘Stories of Rain’

Calling the Rainbird by Imke Rust,  Mixed Media on paper, 62x87cm

Calling the Rainbird by Imke Rust, Mixed Media on paper, 62x87cm

I am so thrilled to be invited to participate alongside so many other wonderful artists from all over the world and South Africa.

This project is especially close to my heart, as it will give me the opportunity to further my creative rainmaking research and projects, share with and learn from very interesting fellow artists and do all this very close to home. I have so many ideas and researched material, which I want to explore further and put to use now.

Typed Rain (on photograph) by Imke Rust

Typed Rain (on photograph) by Imke Rust

As soon as I can, I will share a blog post about my experience for all you lovely people who follow me on here! I also plan to post regular pictures and updates on Instagram (This is like an instant photoalbum and I just love it. Bonus: you do not need to have an account to see my page) and Facebook (for shorter, more regular posts and pictures). You can also see previews of both these pages in the right-hand column >> .

So, if you are curious, you are welcome to follow my adventures there too. We will not have regular internet connection, but when we do, I hope to share impressions and updates.

Here is some more information about the event compiled by the organizers:

Stories of Rain - Map

Stories of Rain – Map

#GNAP2016 #StoriesOfRain #SouthAfrica

Stories of Rain will trace the legacy of the first nomadic peoples, creating temporary nature art in response to the varied landscapes and the World Heritage Rock Art of South Africa.

In this time of palpable climate change, we find ourselves at the cusp of profound natural and cultural transformation. The dual disciplines of creative imagination and mediated thinking practiced by artists will be extremely valuable in this transition. The Global Nomadic Art Project offers local artists the opportunity to influence contemporary cultural attitudes towards nature and to explore possibilities for understanding in an increasingly fractured paradigm.

Site_Specific Land Art Collective will invite 8 International artists to join several custom made Nature Art tours of South Africa as part of the Global Nomadic Art Project initiated by YATOO Nature Art Association of Korea. The visiting artists will travel along different routes in small groups – meeting and staying with local participating artists along the way.

To find out more and also read up on my fellow artists who will be part of this event, please visit the official page:
Webpage: SiteSpecific South Africa GNAP

And/or follow the Facebook Page for this event: Stories of Rain

Stories of Rain - South Africa

Stories of Rain – South Africa

The Rainmakeress (Imke Rust) Acrylic and graphite on paper 105x130cm

The Rainmakeress (Imke Rust)
Acrylic and graphite on paper
105x130cm

Calling the Spirit of Rain and Water

DSC01521In my research about rain making I found several interesting stories of how magic drawings on rocks would attract rain. Some of which suggested that you have to find ways to draw the water spirit’s attention and curiosity. Like this story, which made me smile every time I thought of it.

The antelope, who only arrives after it has rained, is presumed to be linked to the water spirit and its favourite animal. The water spirit likes a good party, and will presumably like to attend with their friend, or… favourite animal. So, if the rainmaker draws images of the antelope and dancing people on the cave walls and pretends that there is a good party happening (for instance through dancing, singing and holding a ceremony) she/he will attract the water spirit’s attention and interest to join. But who likes to go to a party where you do not know anybody? Right, so the water spirit, who can turn itself into rain, would like to have its favourite animal friend there too. But the antelope only comes when there is water, so being a good friend, the water spirit will let it rain.

Like, hey, if I’ll buy you a beer, will you join me at this party?

And voila – the rainmaker has made it rain.

So last Saturday we visited the farm and I decided to hold a small party, well – make some rain…

The more the merrier

I chose a nice visible spot, a straight cliff face on the top of a small koppie (hill) and asked my father, brother and husband to join me in creating a rainmaker. This is a part in my different experiments, which I always wanted to try: working together with more people instead of just creating on my own.

I believe that working together does create a more focussed and stronger energy. I guess that is also why it already says in the bible, if two or more people come together and pray, the prayer will definitely be heard.

(Please click on the images to see the full view, thank you.)

 

I stuck to my typical cloud and rain drawings, because I believe that the rain or water spirit will recognise itself and will become curious. And that

like attracts like…

Each of us drew a raining cloud with chalk on the cliff-face, my brother even drew a puddle of water where the rain collected on the ground. The cloud drawings were nicely visible towards the east, where the water spirit usually resides (where the rain usually comes from.) We all had fun drawing and imagining how we are making rain.

Shortly after we started, I remembered to take a picture of the area and blue sky, and was surprised to already see the very first faint rain clouds on the distant horizon.

If you look closely you see the very first small clouds appearing on the horizon

If you look closely you see the very first small clouds appearing on the horizon

 

Offerings – a sign of your abundance

Lastly, I wanted to implement another ‘new’ aspect into this rainmaker. The idea of making an offering… We sprinkled the rock and rain drawings with actual water. I have always thought that adding water to my rainmaker experiments would be another magnet in the sense of ‘like attracts like’, but I realised that there might be another aspect that I have overlooked.

If we are willing to offer a small bit of what we are asking for as a gift or offering in return, we are signalling that we are part of the natural flow. We will not unnecessarily hoard or obstruct the flow of the goodness which we are inviting to us. We believe that there is more of what we have just given away, we believe in our own abundance and the abundance of the water, instead of fearfully holding on to the feeling of lack and scarceness.

 

While we were busy with this, we definitely already attracted the attention of some baboons who were curious of what kind of party is happening…

Baboons are curious and try to figure out what is happening on our side...

Baboons are curious and try to figure out what is happening on our side…

Gratitude expressed

Just before we left the site, I decided to once again express my gratitude, by writing a thank you note on a piece of bone, leaving it at the foot of the koppie for the rain, once it arrives.

A little thank you note for the rain and water spirits...

A little thank you note for the rain and water spirits…

All done we left and it was amazing to watch how the clouds suddenly appeared from all directions, as if somebody had shouted:

Here is a party and there is free beer for everybody!

Anyway, I was slightly peeved that it did not rain that day, although so many clouds came up so fast…

But I also remembered that we must continue to believe in the manifestation for it to become real, no matter what. I have to give thanks again and again, and acknowledge my faith that our prayers will be heard.

I do not know if it is from pure stubbornness or something else, I have long ago started to tell myself if a wish is not immediately granted, it is just because the universe is busy preparing something bigger, better and more awesome than I could even wish for… after all, something that grand takes a bit more time.

And so it was.

Two days later, on our departure to Germany, we received the excited news from the farm that it was raining. The rivers were flowing and everybody was excited that suddenly there was so much rain after such a long drought. And in the coming days Facebook (the modern bush drum) was filled with images and videos of the massive rain received all over the country.

I am grateful and happy.

Rain on the farm and flowing rivers on 18 January 2016 – Photos kindly supplied by Amanda Koekemoer ©

Film Revue: An Infinite Scream

Source: Film Revue: An Infinite Scream

(Sorry to all English subscribers, today I reblog an Afrikaans review about our film which will be screened tomorrow, 14th January, at the Goethe Institut in Windhoek @ 19h15)

En nou vir die van julle wat Afrikaans praat, ‘n Film Revue in Afrikaans van die wonderlike Daniël Bezuidenhout a.k.a Thulana wat met haar woorde en taal kan toor.

Lees gerus ook ‘n bietjie van haar ander blog posts, so mooi geskryf met ‘n wonderlike sin vir humor en interessante stories oor haar lewe in Ghana.

Dankie Daniël!

“Elkeen van ons wat soos ‘n volstruis met sy kop in die sand staan, en vertrou die regering sal na al jou belange omsien, moet ‘n slag staan en wonder hoe goed dit uitgewerk het vir die Boesmans.

 

In ‘n aangrypende artistiese dokumentêr, “An Infinite Scream”, kry die Imke Rust jou kop uit die sand. …lees meer hier

Finally! A new year, a new blog post and an important event to announce!

Firstly I wish you all a very happy, adventurous, creative, healthy and awesome 2016!

I hope this will be the year where you make your dreams come true, create the reality that you want to see and find joy and gratitude in your everyday life. That is my motto, not only for the New Year, but for every new day. And added to that, I want to push myself every day to creatively and fearlessly express who I am. How about you? What are your visions and desires for 2016?

I have been quiet on the blog for some time… I am spending time at home in Namibia, with my family, meeting friends, relaxing and creating. Basically replenishing my soul and soaking up the sunshine, warmth and familiarity of home.

Clarissa, my cat, inspecting the last painting I have done in 2015 - an impression of a wild mongoose who visits us daily.

Clarissa, my cat, inspecting the last painting I have done in 2015 – an impression of a wild mongoose who visits us daily.

Home. Returning to Namibia after almost two years of absence has stirred my mind and body in interesting ways. I realise that finally our house in Germany feels more like a home to me, while Namibia and my family home here, where I have spend so many years of my life, has moved into an uneasy place of feeling powerfully familiar and at the same time somewhat distanced. Things have changed, things have stayed the same. I have changed and grown. I am curious to see how my life and I will evolve in the future.

You can view some of my everyday impressions from Namibia on my instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/imkerust/

And as promised an event announcement:

Finally we will be presenting ‘An Infinite Scream’ – my husband, Steffen Holzkamp’s documentary film about my land art project – in Namibia! On home turf so to say.

It took some time before Namibians can finally see the film and obviously I am curious and nervous as to how it will be received. So I (and Steffen) hope that if you are in Windhoek on the 14th of January you will join us at 19h15 at the Goethe Institut. (it is FREE!!!)

By the way, Namibia only had a Goethe Centre up till now, but since 2016 everybody is very excited to have it turned into a Goethe Institut. We feel very honoured that one of the first official events in the new Institut will the Namibian Premiere of our film.

Why would you see the film? Well, if you are interested in nature, environment, the desert, Namibia and/or the arts, or if you simply like me or what I am doing, then this film offers you a unique and thought-provoking view. Some serious and some fun.

It is more than a documentary.

It is an artist portrait and a project portrait. It is a reflection on what individuals can do to make the world a slightly better place. It is a beautiful mix of art, nature, society and action…

Most people only ever see the final exhibition and have no idea how it came about. If you have ever wondered how artists think, why and how they create and all the things that happen behind the scene, before you get to sip your wine at the exhibition opening, this film will give you a lot of insight into my personal way of creating.

I know I might be biased in more than one way, but I do think there is a certain magic happening when you have a very talented filmmaker and musician, who happens to know you well enough to perfectly reflect your ideas and works through his film.

This film was not planned to be a film. When I started out with my work, I simply thought it would be awesome to have the making of the individual pieces documented and fortunately Steffen was happy to do that for me. Only later, when the exhibition finally happened, after the original venue had suddenly rejected it, Steffen had the idea to turn all his filmed material into a documentary… and spend about a year on this labour of love. Thank you so much, Steffen, for all your hard work and dedication, for your beautiful pictures, music and your vision to pull this all together.

So if you are curious, we warmly invite you to come and see it.

It is not only free of charge, but you also get the chance to meet up with us and ask us questions afterwards 🙂

We are looking forward to meeting you there.

Please also feel free to share this information and invite your friends along. After all, the more the merrier.

Namibia Premiere: An Infinite Scream (Poster)

Namibia Premiere: An Infinite Scream (Poster)

Concerned about the ever-increasing uranium mining in Namibia a local artist sets out to give the Namib Desert a voice: An Infinite Scream

The Goethe Institut proudly presents the Namibian Premiere of a documentary film about Imke Rust’s land art by Steffen Holzkamp.

Date: 14th of January 2016
Time: 19h15 (Duration: 45min)
Venue: Goethe Institut, 1-5 Fidel Castro Street
Free Entry
Artist and filmmaker are present.

Trailer and more info at: https://aninfinitescream.wordpress.com/

 

Interview about my Environmental Art

Some time ago I was approached to have some of my artworks published in a book, entitled ‘Temperatures Rising – Climate Change in Africa – a Journey in Pictures’. The book will be produced for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to be presented to the delegates and guests of the COP21 conference next week.

The consultant responsible for the book, Ms Asieh L Nassehi Javan of Concept2art in Torino, Italy, asked me to submit several suitable artworks of mine and has interviewed me about my art. One artwork was selected for illustration of the book, while it will also be printed as a poster to be presented in the African Pavillion. I am so honoured and excited!

I thought you might enjoy reading the interview and get to know more about my ideas behind my art, so I am sharing it with you here:

ANJ: What is the role of an artist? As an educator? As someone who makes people aware of issues? A critique? An agent of change?

IR: All of these. I believe different artists have different and often several roles, which together shape our (human) identity and future.

Personally I see my role in offering an alternative perspective on the world and our perceived reality, and offer possible creative solutions to problems affecting us. Part visionary and part agent of change. A little bit like the shaman or rainmakers in old cultures, who through their ritual and creative expression raise awareness and envision and enact a new, better reality.

ANJ: How do you define your art? 

IR: I work in a wide range of media, dependent of the concept or vision for the artwork. My work cannot be defined by putting it into a box. Roughly I would say it is a mix between creative, visual expression, alchemy, magic and spirituality, often with a sprinkle of playfulness.

It is a flowing process between all these layers, always conscious about trying to make a positive impact and slightly changing our perceived reality.

ANJ: What inspires you to create works that address hurting the Environment/Climate change? 

IR: My works usually starts when I notice something, which stirs me emotionally. Often these are situations which I find frustrating or problematic, so I start to wonder what could be changed and how.

Namibia is a dry country with two large deserts. We are extremely dependent on rain for survival, but also on managing our natural resources well. I try to find different ways to feel less helpless when it either does not rain or when I see great damage being done to our environment. I love researching and experimenting with really alternative ideas, because I believe often the mainstream ideas are what brought us the problems in the first place.

As an artist, my purpose is to use my art to make the world a better place. Others have different purposes. Like my father, who is a farmer and an engineer, so he tries to find agricultural ways to positively impact the environment, for instance through Holistic Resource Management. I learned much from him, but was also frustrated, that still we are dependent on the rain and that rainfall cannot be controlled. So I ask myself is this true? Why does almost every ancient culture across the world a belief in a rainmaker or a rain dance? And how could I combine my art, my knowledge and research and my spiritual beliefs to at least consider the possibility of having an impact on the rainfall?

ANJ: Is there an experience, instance or event that led you to create works about the environment?

IR: As an art student I had no money for art materials and usually in Namibia traditional art materials were either not available or extremely expensive. So I started to look around to find alternative materials to use, which I could gather for free.

So early on I noticed the abundance and usefulness of the environment for my art. Through that, and the fact that I grew up on a farm, it was a natural next step to pay closer attention to the environment and realize our connection to it more deeply.

My artworks from the series ‘…and I sensed an infinite scream passing through the Namib’ started from seeing the increased damage of more and more uranium mines and connected industries on the environment. Other people were demonstrating to stop the mines and I asked myself how I could personally contribute, since demonstrating was not my thing. I looked for ways in which I could address the problem and create solutions in my own way.

ANJ: Can you elaborate on the art works you are submitting? What are the messages they aim to send and to whom are the messages directed?

IR:  Rainmaker:

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

All over the world the old cultures had shamans who were known to be able to create rain, either through dance, music or rock-paintings. From my research I construed that the creative act combined with a focused intention can create a different energy or vibe and thus change the perceived reality.

Since then I have experimented with different methods of using my art to hopefully ‘make rain’. This specific work creates a vision of the reality we intend to see, in a similar way that the old inhabitants of Namibia would have used to attract animals for a good hunt. I have made several different artworks or experiments researching different approaches.

The message is two-fold: it tries to remind people to focus on the rain and not the drought, and secondly open people up to the idea, that there may possibly be alternative ways to see the world and to impact the reality around us. I cannot say for sure this way does work, but by trying it out, I hope it encourages other people to also try out alternative ideas, even though they might appear silly or ridicules. Through actively taking charge, and playfully experimenting with different things, we might find new solutions. (Find out more about my rainmaker experiments by clicking here.)

 

Earth Woman:

Desertification and erosion in Namibia is becoming an increasing threat, which is to a large extend a result of us not taking proper care of the environment. I found these deep erosion cracks and I wanted to use the human, female body and the naked skin to highlight this problem and to make us aware that the soil of the earth is like our skin and equally vulnerable and in need of care and attention.

We are intimately connected to the soil and our destiny is so closely linked to that of our environment. These works allure to this and the birth, life and death cycle, which starts and ends with the earth. ( For more work from this series, click here. )

Works like the Tokoloshe Trap acts in my usual multi-layered way. It tries to use the spiritual intention and activated energy, the shapes and material to protect the land in a spiritual way, but it also lets people see a familiar environment in a different and unexpected way. I hope this will let them pause and become more aware, start wondering and asking questions. I also hope it works via a physical experience: any Namibian knows from personal experience how painful it is to step into one of those thorns. Seeing so many of them arranged as a kind of trap, usually lets us cringe, while we imagine stepping into it. (More about this artwork: click here)

An Infinite Scream

In this documented performance-like action I asked passers-by to re-enact the famous painting ‘The Scream’ from Edvard Munch, on the Swakopmund jetty. Munch claimed that he sensed the angst and scream of nature, which led to this painting. Be re-enacting this scream, the people give an expression to the fears about the destruction of our environment. The resulting images and video raise awareness in a fun way. (More about this intervention: click here. and to see a super fun short video about it: click here)

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

Dorob (NOT) 4Sale

This anonymous intervention used a tongue-in-cheek way to get people’s awareness about the sale-off of our natural resources. Fake estate agent for-sale signs were placed at prominent places along the main roads leading through the Namib desert, with messages that our desert and ocean are (NOT) for sale. The provided telephone number and Web address lead to further information and links to environmental initiatives. (More about this intervention: click here. )

 

Hand-painted Photographs of the Namib Desert

While I was in Berlin, I heard about the plans to build a large chemical plant in the Namib Desert. I imagined what the desert around that plant would look like, if the waste is not properly managed, like so often before or if something unforeseen happens. I painted these scenarios onto photographs of the desert. Later, when I returned to Namibia I used the ideas from the photos for temporary land-art installations.

Toxic Rocks & Poisonous Water

The neon paints might initially give the landscape a funky and modern look, which is quite pleasing, until we notice that this is not natural and healthy. I hope to make people understand that we have to take a second look and consider the different realities behind a situation. Yes, a chemical plant might bring job opportunities, but also illnesses and destruction to the environment. Only when we consider all aspects, can we make a good choice. What looks pretty at first, might turn out to be nasty in the long-run. (More about this artwork: click here and here.)

 

AJ: Could your art, even though its related to Africa, reflect the global narrative?

IR: Definitely! When I started off with my career, I thought I am working on personal issues which are directly connected to myself and my home-country. I very soon realized, that once you scratch under the surface, we are all human and have the same hopes and fears. Situations and patterns are so similar all over the world, but we are often too distracted to notice, because we focus on the thin superficial differences.

Not all countries are desert countries, but still we all are exposed to and dependent on our environment. A country with plenty of water also needs to manage their resources. They might not need a rainmaker, but through my artwork they could feel inspired to play with alternative ways of interacting with and caring for their environment, and minimize the danger of floods for example.

ANJ: Do you have any comments you would like to add? 

IR: Thank you so much for your interest in my work and this opportunity to make it visible to more people worldwide.

Imke Rust busy installing 'Poisonous Water'

Imke Rust busy installing ‘Poisonous Water’

Thank you Ms Nassehi Javan for letting me share our interview here! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you and working with you.

How did the dog get onto the beach?

I painted it there…

There is a dog on the beach... (Hotel Deco Busting by Imke Rust)

There is a dog on the beach… (Hotel Deco Busting by Imke Rust)

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 18)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen. (Teil 18)

Since 2010 I have secretly been slightly altering tasteless or boring hotel or holiday apartment art whenever I had the chance to.

This is another intervention from our seaside holiday’s in August this year. The holiday flat we stayed in had numerous wall decorations all in the form of calendar images framed in cheap frames. So I just had to give them all a face-lift and add some originality and life. Now the flat has 6 original art intervention works by me. It must be a really worthwhile holiday art experience 😉 …

Once again I forgot to take a proper ‘before’ photo, so you will see I have already started on this one:

There is a dog on the beach... Before(almost) and After pic (Hotel Deco Busting by Imke Rust)

There is a dog on the beach… Before(almost) and After pic (Hotel Deco Busting by Imke Rust)

And here two more pics:

If you enjoyed this, you can view more Hotel Deco Busting Interventions Hotel Deco Busting Interventions by Imke Rust.

Selfie Life – Hotel Deco Busting

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 17)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen. (Teil 17)

Since 2010 I have secretly been slightly altering tasteless or boring hotel or holiday apartment art whenever I had the chance to.

I still have not shown you all the Hotel Deco Busting projects I did during our holiday in August… So here, without further ado another one, called Selfie Life.

While walking on the beach with a beautiful sunset, we noticed how every second person was frantically at work to get the perfect sunset picture with their phones. And obviously there were several with those weird selfie sticks, making sure they were in the sunset picture too.

Somehow it felt as if we were the only ones who were present in the ‘here and now’ and actually could fully enjoy the sunset, feel grateful for our beautiful holiday, take a deep breath of the salty sea breeze, smile and just be content… I wondered if the other people, taking photogrpahs actually noticed or felt any of what we did? I hope inbetween taking photos they did.

So this was the inspiration for this hotel deco busting intervention… Our holiday bungalow had a wide variety of wall decorations. All old pages from calendars, all in cheap frames, and this particular one was not even covered with glass… so easy work for me.

Selfie Life (After) I have added the imaginary experience and perspective of a woman taking selfies of her beach holiday to share on her social media.

Selfie Life (After) I have added the imaginary experience and perspective of a woman taking selfies of her beach holiday to share on her social media.

(please click on the images below to see the full picture.)

If you enjoyed this, you can view more Hotel Deco Busting Interventions Hotel Deco Busting Interventions by Imke Rust.