Rubber jumbos talk of arts fest

2013-06-29 00:00

AMONG the many attractions at this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown is an installation of three elephants made by Durban-based sculptor Andries Botha.

Made from recycled rubber, weighing in at 1,3 tons and with a height of 3,7 metres, this small herd of life-size pachyderms, including a matriarch, titled Nomkhubulwane, is turning heads on the Village Green.

Among those spotted at the sculptures was 11-year-old Andrew Barnes, from Port Elizabeth, who said “They are really nice … and it’s a much better way to use a tyre than to burn it.”

The sculptures are part of a series of works made by the internationally renowned artist to raise awareness of the work of the Human Elephant Foundation and the Magqubu Ntombela Foundation, founded by Dr Ian Player in memory of his friend and mentor.

“I created these life-size elephants out of recycled materials. They represent the world of nature from which we have removed ourselves and for which we increasingly yearn,” the artist said.

Botha, who was locked in a dispute with the eThekwini council for months over three elephant sculptures he created at Warwick Triangle in Durban, has encountered no such opposition to his project here.

In the festival programme, the National Arts Festival says: “As hosts of Nomkhubulwane’s visit to Grahams­town, we are encouraged that she will create momentum and interest and expand education about issues of ecology and sustainability.”

Botha will also be joining City Press journalist Charl Blignaut on the festival’s ThinkFest to discuss the issue of arts censorship in South Africa and the various guises that such censorship takes.

The talk takes place at Eden Grove in Grahamstown at 5.30 pm today. Inquiries:

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