Tokoloshe Trap(March 2012)
Temporary installation of 1521 white thorn pairs from the Acacia Karroo tree arranged into 39 circles in a side tributary of the Swakop river bed, Namib Desert.
22° 38’ 10” S – 14° 43’ 40” E, April 2012
Original dimensions: 5 x 600 x 250 cm
Medium: Acacia thorns
About the artwork:
A tokosloshe is an evil spirit which causes trouble and harm and can become invisible by swallowing a pebble. In this work the Tokoloshe stands metaphorically for all the invisible harm that we might be unsuspectingly exposed to. This work is a symbolical trap, set up to protect the desert from possible harmful energies and dangers, for instance possibly coming from the mining industry. Individuals, companies and mines have left a trail of destruction and exploitation in their search for material gain or short-lived entertainment. Uranium mines in the area are believed to have significantly contributed to an unacceptably high radiation in this area, but this has not been proven beyond doubt.
Background to the project “…and I sensed an infinite scream passing through the Namib”:
During 2012-13 Imke Rust worked on an environmental art project, which addresses the current debates and happenings concerning the plans for increased (uranium) mining and industrial activities in the coastal area. In her work she uses a variety of media and approaches to highlight the concerns of the general public and to search for alternative solutions in the environmental conflict.
Imke Rust has produced a powerful body of work, exploring and openly questioning social and political controversial issues. Central to the project are temporary land art works that the artist has installed in the Namib Desert. These installations and interventions are presented through photographic and video documentation. She evocatively combines natural and man-made materials such as thorns, salt, dung, rubbish bags, barbed wire and videos in her captivating artworks. She even got complete strangers involved in a documented art action for the environment on the jetty.
While she is painting a gloomy picture of possible disastrous long-term effects of the current developments, she also reminds people of their responsibility to look after their land and that they have the power to make changes towards a better future.