Janet Botes

  • Dirt is Good Process-based, time-based soil installation 27 February – 1 March 2015 Created on the first day of THAT ART FAIR, in Salt River, I created this drawing/design by pouring soil from my garden into lines and neatening each line with a paint brush. I invited Fair goers to add drawings and thoughts onto paper, which I then integrated into the drawing. Over the next two days of the Fair the installation changed as people walked over and through it. Passers-by thus collaborated by giving their thoughts as well as changing the soil drawing with their feet. So often we only value art that would last, and even outlast us. But how much more valuable is art and expression that captures our own fleeting nature and the impermanence of everything we experience. It is in the fleeing and present moment that we find real value – not in dwelling in the past, not in worrying about the future. We have been conditioned to believe that dust and dirt is ‘bad’, and kids are now kept from playing the mud in the way that I used to play in the mud. We forget that the most nutritious and healthy foods come from the soil, and not a fridge, lab or factory. I think it’s time to rethink and relook how we feel about the world around us.
  • "Take care:, Molundae cliff, South Korea. Created during the Global Nomadic Art Project, a project by YATOO.
  • Klipkring ii, Mixed media on wood, 405 x 292 mm, 2012. Part of the 'Beach Meditations' series. The pebbles are arranged in a circle as prayer and symbol – a circle symbolizing infinite time, completeness and harmony.
  • "Tread Upon" Sand installation at Gallery @ Grande Provence, Franschhoek, South Africa. Sand installation, using sand and cardboard stencils to create the silhouettes of insects and leaves on the floor of the gallery, as well as using time as element for the creation and destruction. This work is focused on sand as material, medium and inspiration – sand representing the dust of our existence, the kernels resulting from ancient rocks’ erosion, and thus a symbol of time and also place. The installation is a metaphor for the marks we leave behind as we tread upon the landscape, the spoor we leave in the sand. It is inspired by the Karoo 2052 exhibition, seen by the artist during the National Arts Festival in July 2012, as well as earlier work by the artist herself as part of HumanEarth and the SCAPES project. As part of the art installation, I specifically did not put poles and ropes up to keep people away from the artwork – the intention was for people to accidentally walk unto the artwork and destroy the stylized images of insects and foliage, as symbol of the way we destroy insects and plant life in the “real” landscapes, whether intentionally or unintentionally through the choices we make and the products we buy. Fracking in the Karoo is only possible if we as the public and as tax payers keep silent about our opposition against it. Renewable energy is viable as an energy solution for our country, but the government will only invest in it if we demand it. If we do nothing, we are allowing the destruction of our planet through coal mining, nuclear waste and fracking, and we are treading upon the landscape very harshly and mindlessly.
  • "Organism i", Limited edition print on acrylic, 25 x 25cm, 2015. Our blueprint as a species are based on the same ancient origins than all other organisms on the planet. In my work I aim to honour the rhythms inherent in the world, which includes the seasons of our planet, the sing of the insects and the phases of the moon.
  • "Wat steek vas in jou nate?" Acacia thorns stuck into the skin of my left hand, after which audience members were invited to remove them. Created/Performed during OPENLab2016, as part of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD), an initiative of the Vrystaat Arts Festival and University of the Free State.
  • "ORGANISM" Performance
  • Look. Look again. Installation materials: magnifying glass, plumbing components, organic material, sample containers. base: sand, white painted wooden box, glass sheets dimensions variable 2016
  • "Leaves of Change", Wildekrans Country House, Houw Hoek, South Africa. Medium: Found wood, reeds, screws & hemp twine “Step through the wind that rustle the leaves of trees, plants & weeds on the slope of a mountain - fallen, standing, tall the trees that read the memory of the leaves Defined shades and lines cast by the long limbs of the trees Let all the green leaves be yours - the brown, dry and dark left as food for soil, home to the ants and wood lice. Walk along, follow your heart, over river, and pathways Footsteps crushing leaves and bark into the land, into yourself. To feel much more than know. Read these leaves. Re-think what you have been told dismiss whatever insults your soul” Janet Botes, Wildekrans, 2015 - with phrases from Dejan Stojanovic, Munia Khan and Walt Whitman
  • "Weg", documentation of temporary installation-in-process on Myoli beach, Sedgefield, South Africa.

Janet Botes is a visual artist based in South Africa. Her work is inspired by the natural rhythms of the Earth and by taking into consideration how deep ecology, biology, the Gaia theory and our daily lives intertwine. The environmental crisis is an urgent prompt for us to live in harmony with the planet, animals, each other and the land. Janet hopes to inspire a reconnection by learning more about herself and the world, finding new ways of being, and sharing this through her work.

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