Final days for the donkeys

Art portfolio- my work

It is the final week to see True Fall, a group exhibition at Gallery Grande Provence.

for those of you who cannot make it to Franschoek, here is an installation view courtesy of the gallery

alternatively please pop in and say hi to “The donkeys grew ears”

Little did I know while I was working on this piece that donkeys will be in the news this months due to the “illegal donkey skin trade” and I quote:

“International organisation The Donkey Sanctuary said donkeys have become the most trafficked animal in the world, with more than two million slaughtered for their skins every year.”

https://www.news24.com/witness/news/kzn/donkeys-named-one-of-the-most-trafficked-animals-in-the-world-20220518

I don’t want to end this post on such a sad note, so I thought I will share some of the lyrics from a song we used to sing when I was little:

O die donkie, ja die donkie
Die donkie is ‘n wonderlike ding
Die donkie is ‘n bielie hy’s ‘n boetie van ‘n muil
Sien die een die ander dan begin hy sommer huil ja die donkie

O die donkie
Die donkie is ‘n wonderlike ding
Hy rol in die sand en hy vreet ‘n koerant o die donkie is ‘n wonderlike ding

song by Chris Blignaut

to translate:

  • Oh the donkey, yes the donkey
  • The donkey is a wonderful thing
  • The donkey is a bitch he is a brother of a mule
  • See each other then he just starts crying yes the donkey
  • Oh the donkey
  • The donkey is a wonderful thing
  • He rolls in the sand and he eats a newspaper oh the donkey is a wonderful thing

So yes, I feel like eating the newspaper report to wipe out the sad news about the donkeys.

Anyway for more details about this work feel free to contact the gallery at Grande Provence

Take care and keep well. xxx

The donkeys grew ears

Art portfolio- my work
The donkeys grew ears, 2022, Photographic print on board, thread and rubber 87 x 122 cm framed

I love doing research on donkeys. Donkeys are so rich in symbolism for eg: In the fables of Aesop where donkeys are generally portrayed as stupid and stubborn, to Christianity where the donkey is a symbol of service, suffering, peace and humility. Shakespeare popularized the word Ass, and in Pinocchio there was a section where the coachman and his henchmen turned boys into donkeys.  In the great myth Midas was given the ears of a donkey.

But today I would like to share the proposed dilemma by the Philosopher Jean Buridan (1300-1358) in which a hypothetical donkey suffering from hunger and thirst finds itself halfway between a bucket of fresh water and enjoyable bales of hay.  This makes the donkey perplexed, as it does not know whether to quench its thirst or appease its hunger later or vice versa.  Its indecisiveness leads to its perish.  This allegory could be taken as the cost of human inaction or as the total lack of free will versus determination in human life.” (A Merrifield (2018. The wisdom of Donkeys.  Finding tranquillity in a chaotic world.)

I feel that the above dilemma is perfect for the times we live in. 

But what does having donkey ears mean?  It means an exceptionally long period of time – the phrase likely originated as rhyming slang ears vs years. But having big ears can also mean to be nosy and to listen to other people’s private conversations.

Also did you know that if a donkey does not feel like you’ve alleviated their discomfort, they may escalate their body language to include rapidly swiveling ears which is usually a sign of high anxiety or alertness.

With that said, this work is currently on view at The Gallery Grande Provence for the “True Fall” group exhibition.  I thought it might be fitting since donkeys have that ‘true fall palette” but it also reminded me of the Fall of man (the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to a state of guilty disobedience.

The end.