The collection is inspired by the rapidly disappearing natural and cultural heritage mainly in south eastern Botswana where her guides were the sons of the founding Director of Botswana’s National Museum and Art Gallery and founder of the Botswana Society, the late Alec Campbell, traditional doctors Colin and Niall (Blurb)
BY THATO CHUMA
Linnaeus Gallery will open its doors to South African visual artist Hanien Conradie’s current work titled “Ntlhantlhe: In the Direction of Beauty.” The exhibition, which opens February 24 at Linnaeus, Sanitas Tea Garden in Gaborone, is a special tribute and communion of some of Botswana’s mystical places and landscapes, explains Conradie.
“Ntlhantle: In the Direction of Beauty” is a series of landscape paintings which continues my work with ‘sense of place’. The paintings originate from visits to south eastern Botswana which were guided by two locally trained traditional healers, Colin and Niall Campbell. “My encounters were infused by traditional stories and nostalgic memories shared by my guides about each place and their sadness around the rapidly disappearing natural and cultural heritage of Botswana,” Conradie says”
With a focus on the landscapes and their usage as sites of worship, rainmaking and offering, Conradie explores the heritage entrenched in these places. “And so we communed with the sacred hill at Mannyelanong in Otse, the rainmaking Modipe Hill and the birthplace of humans at Matsieng both in Kgatleng,: she explains. “We watched the moon rise as the setting sun stretched our shadows at Mogonye. We visited Fikeng, Kolobeng and we encountered the beautiful place of Ntlhantlhe during an unfolding dusk. This work is a tribute to these special places of Botswana.”
Conradie is renowned for interweaving individual, cultural and natural environments through working with threatened indigenous flowers rooted in the Western Cape where she was born in 1972. Her undergraduate education includes degrees in both architecture and the fine arts. Between 2012 and 2015, she was in a three-year period of post-graduate studies at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, and graduated with distinction with a Master of Fine Art (2015) degree.
Conradie’s MFA solo exhibition, Spore, was presented at Michaelis Galleries in 2014. In 2015 Conradie curated On Entropy and Becoming, a group show focusing on global ecological concerns (AVA Gallery,Cape Town). Conradie has participated in various key environmental art exhibitions in South Africa and delivered a paper at the Global Nomadic Art Project (2016). She has exhibited in numerous group shows in the USA, UK, Europe and in South Africa. Conradie was represented yearly at the Cape Town Art Fair from 2015-17.
“In my practice, I am concerned with loss of natural environments, cultural diversity and individual subjectivity. Rather than focusing solely on the natural world, I like to examine the complex interdependent relationships between these three spheres. I do this through exploring ‘sense of place’ through spending time in indigenous environments that I have particular connections/relations to,” states the artist.
The exhibition will run until March 10th.