Tokoloshe Trap 2012

Tokoloshe Trap(March 2012)

Tokoloshe Trap - Dawn(Available as digital print. Printed on premium photography paper or AluDibond

Tokoloshe Trap – Dawn
(Available as digital print. Printed on premium photography paper or AluDibond)

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.

More pictures:

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.

5 thoughts on “Tokoloshe Trap 2012

  1. Madikgosi Antonett

    I need help it’s been 10 years tokoloshe suffering me…no one helped me bcos tokoloshe is fighting…even sangomas don’t know how to help me bcos of tokoloshe…nou this tokoloshe tight my womb nd I need to have a kids

  2. Pingback: Tokoloshe Trap (or How to Catch Creatures of the Night) | Imke Rust

  3. Jen Lacoste

    Love your work, Imke. Was it by accident, I wonder, that your Tokoloshe Traps were set amongst dollar bushes? Bait? (Smile) Thank you for making your work so accessible to those far away.

    1. Imke Rust Post author

      Thank you Jen! I like your idea and observation with the dollar bushes! No, it was not a rational decision on my part – I work mostly intuitively, trusting that the right things will happen. And usually only realizing afterwards how many things seem to have ‘fallen in place’ without me thinking about it. With this specific one, I was searching forever for a suitable place, because what I had in mind originally was not possible – but then it worked out perfectly.
      If you are interested to find out more about how the idea for this work started, you can see it here: – it was quite an interesting and weird story 😉


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