Tag Archives: environmental art

‘Urban Nature Art’ GNAP Germany 2017

Once again nature artists are coming together as part of the Global Nomadic Art Project 2017. This time in Germany, where we will be working in Darmstadt and surrounding area. The theme for this event is ‘Urban Nature Art’.

After participating in last year’s GNAP project in South Africa (Stories of Rain), I am really looking forward to this continuation.

If you are anywhere close, you might want to join us for some of the public events.

Mittwochsform – on the 23rd and the 30th of August respectively. Different artists will present their work. I will be do my presentation on the 23rd of August.
Time: 20h00
Where: Internationales Waldkunstzentrum, 64285 Darmstadt, Ludwigshöhstraße 137

 Yatoo trifft Dreieich Exhibition at the Städtische Galerie Dreireich
Opening: 31. August 2017, 19h00

“Urban Nature Art” Exhibition at the Internationalen Waldkunstzentrum
Opening: 2. September 2017, 15h00

Please find more information about these events and the GNAP Project in the following flyer or by following the links.

Find more information about the project, participating artists and experts, sponsors and organisers at Global Nomadic Art Project Germany 2017 – Urban Nature Art

I am looking forward to meeting you at any of these public events.

Wuppertal, Munich and Travelling Back in Time

Do you also have the feeling that your life has become so busy, that you have no time for all the stuff you want to do? Or to read all the blogs you are subscribed to?

The first quarter of the year is almost passed and somehow I have neglected my blog. Well, many things are happening and keeping me busy – which is mostly good news. Another reason is that with so many things, which are happening on all fronts (personal, family, political, career etc), I am left with so many impressions, thoughts, ideas, questions… It feels as if I have so much to say and to share, and yet I do not know where to start. It feels as if I would need another lifetime to sort all ideas and find the right way to share them. Or a personal assistant… Or a way to magically write down all that is in my mind within a few hours.

So I am trying to navigate these times, which feel chaotic and alive, terrifying and promising at the same time, as best and honestly as I can. To live each moment more consciously and deliberately waiting to find clarity, allowing life to unfold its plan at its own pace. I am considering writing shorter, but more frequent blogs… let’s see if that is a better way to deal with my and your busy life and still stay in touch.

A quick update:

My exhibition in Munich has just finished. It was very well visited and the highlight was, that a friend has organised for me to fly to Munich and talk about my art to interested guests in a guided tour of my exhibition. I really enjoy that direct contact with the people who are interested my art. Most of my art is filled with layers of meaning and thoughts, and people have commented how enriching they find to look at the art, and then additionally hear me talk about it.

Here are a few impressions from the exhibition and the guided tour (Click on the images for a larger view and description):

The event has been organized by Carola von Maltzahn from http://www.vonmaltzahn.net/ and Christian Bräuer from Art Dine & Table – Die Kunstpatrouille (www.christian-braeuer.de) Photos: Carola von Maltzahn.

I had another exhibition opening in March, at the Museum auf der Hardt, Wuppertal.

The exhibition and screening of the documentary film about my land art project ‘An Infinite Scream’ was part of a Symposium organized by the Vereinte Evangelische Mission.

Here are some images from the exhibition, opening and film screening. Photos by Ramona Hedtmann, VEM and myself.

Only shortly before the event, I realised that I have a much deeper connection to this museum and place than I could have imagined. My Great-Great-Grandfather Eduard Dannert and Great-Grandfather August Kuhlmann were both missionaries in Namibia and were sent by this very same institution to Africa. Needless to say, the museum and archives have lots of information, documentation and objects from these ancestors of mine, like for instance the sewing machine of my Great-Grandmother… and this sewing machine, together with a letter which August Kuhlmann wrote to General von Trotha trying to convince him to treat the Herero people more humanly were exhibited in the same space, next to my political works. What an honour and humbling experience.

If you happen to be in Wuppertal, you are welcome to view the exhibition. It is still on till the 4th of April. More information, directions and opening times: http://www.vemission.org/museumarchive.html

I am so excited that spring seems to have finally arrived! After so much political art and talk, I felt like painting something light and colourful, to welcome spring.

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

Namibian Video Art in Korea

Still image of 'Toxic Water' video artwork by Imke Rust

Still image of ‘Toxic Water’ video artwork by Imke Rust

How awesome is that? My video work has been selected for the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale 2016 (Video exhibition)!

I am so excited that ‘Toxic Water’ is currently shown in the Republik of Korea till the end of November 2016. If you happen to be around that part of the world, go and have a look!

You can find more information on the webpage of the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale 2016 .

My apologies for the having been pretty quiet in the past few months and now sending you some updates in a shorter time. I have planned another über-exciting one for Monday, so please bear with me. Things have been hectic and difficult on many fronts, but much has also led up to all the exciting prospects happening in my career at the moment.

I am so grateful for your continued interest and support and did not want you to miss out on this news. 🙂

Geumgang Nature Art Biennale - Invitation

Geumgang Nature Art Biennale – Invitation

Here are some behind-the-scenes images from the making of the video art work. Please click on the images to see a larger version:

Invitation to Maastricht Exhibition Opening

Greetings from Holland!

I have been invited to participate in the International Land Art Maastricht 2016 Symposium along with 13 other artists from the Euregio.

For one week we are creating land art works in the park of the Chateau Jerusalem in Maastricht and we are having a lot of fun.

On Saturday (14th of May, 16:00) everybody is invited to view the results of this symposium at the official opening of the exhibition. If you are nearby I would love to see you and show you the works that have been created. More information in the flyer below. (Click on image to see a larger version).

Invitation ILAM 2016

Invitation ILAM 2016

And here you can see some images of the symposium and work in progress: (Please click on the images to see a larger view and descriptions)

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 ©

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.