about killing a monkey, like a virgin and like a prayer….

Art portfolio- my work, Studio news/blog

Once upon a time I received a stuffed monkey from my brother in law. The monkey reminded me of a Tori Amos song called “Bliss”

and so: “Father I killed my monkey” (2015 version) was born :

….it was a piece where I experimented with stretching the rubber like a canvas and using oil paint straight onto the rubber as well….

but not feeling totally satisfied, I reworked it, covering the oil paint with thread yet again:

Now in 2019, I am invited to show work at the Hermanus Fine Arts Festival which starts on the 7th of June 2019.

33 South-African artists working with textile/fiber were invited with a brief to come up with work inspired by ‘music’ for the group exhibition titled: Shades and tones.

Not feeling satisfied with “Father I killed my monkey” I decided to ‘kill the monkey’ and rework it again. This time using Madonna as a starting point for this music-themed exhibition, not because I am a fan (I still prefer to listen to Tori)  but because I admire how Madonna has always pushed the boundaries.  I decided to focus on two songs from her early work, and use it as titles for these:

detail Like a Virgin

Like a virgin (2019) 106 x 70 cm Cotton thread and rubber

Like a prayer

Since on the subject of ‘music’….I would like to leave you with this quote from Patti Smith:

“That’s what artists do, that’s what poets do…we all do it.  We start with something, and sometimes we destroy everything that we’ve made in order to get to the core place where we started from.”




Something about Mr. What-if and Dr. Guilt-trip

Studio news/blog


Life is like a glass skull filled with bubblegum -balls

Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, but hunger gnaws you.  You have been loved, but your yearning wanders on new fields.

……and your mind says: have I worked enough?Have I eaten enough? Have I loved enough? All of these of course are the foundation of man’s greatest curse and perhaps greatest glory.

What has my life meant so far, and what can it mean in the time left to me? What am I worth?

I think the above quote comes from john Steinbeck…I wrote it down in my 2003 journal

Yep, this quote above pretty much sums up the space I were in during the last week of October until early November. JHB and the plane ride was not as good to me as I wanted it to be. (with that said…I have had great opportunities this year, but did I make the right choices along the way?)

To top it all…Mr. What-if and his brother Dr. Guilt-trip came to visit me during the above mentioned time.

What if I accepted all the invitations while in JHB and tried harder to have a cup of coffee with Mika or visit Gordon’s studio, ArteEye gallery and friends like Elise while I was there? Yes I did not have transport, but

What if I took a taxi everywhere?

What if I explored the City in the short time I had there?

What if my show was better received than it has been?

What if I didn’t even persue the JHB show which I worked on for more than 8 months?

What if I got my Visa and passport and applied for a grant or join Patreon or Kickstarter or applied for a grant to raise money to attend the opening of my first solo exhibition in Australia and also visit the Textile Biennale in the Netherlands.

I’ve never been outside the borders of South Africa…is it worth it?

But then off course Dr. Guilt-trip says:

What about the mission to organize all the paperwork, and childcare for when you pack up and leave, and what about all the work you still have to do for other group exhibitions?

What about the fact that you can’t say no to opportunities and a show in JHB was just the thing to bring you back down to earth?

What about the awesome time you spent with your cousin in JHB, and the night you spent in a place you otherwise never would have?

What about the other interesting conversations and experiences you had, as well as this feeling of aloneness and sadness- try to understand it, don’t fight. It’s all part of the process…

Could one have too many doubts?

picture of quote : It’s maybe best to keep one’s doubts private. Saying them aloud cheapens them. –Anon

So I didn’t try to think about all these things listed above, or talk about it anywhere on social media, except for a few close friends via email- or face to face. But I must add that social media gave me something…it comforted me with the words of Winston Churchill:

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”.

And Social media reminded me to listen to the commencement speech by Neil Gaiman, again. (link) I’ve listen to it before, but sometimes i need a reminder.

And as usually the case… one thing leads to another and I listen to the TED talk by Amanda Palmer (Link). Which led me to visit her webpage…

My friend Lavender Fishoek told me long time ago to check Amanda out but some things need time for that right-time- right-place magic to happen.

(my friend also told me recently a beautiful anecdote about David Blaine – something I’ll tell you about in my next post),

But before the speeches and TED talks I was still busy with research for an upcoming show titled Spiritual Grunge. I’ve finished the works before I left for JHB already, but was still in the process of listening to the music as well as reading biographies, interviews, blogs etc. about Grunge.

It started with Kurt. I could relate to his depression, angst, and disgust. Via revisiting Kurt, I started to listen to Hole again. I have heard their music before and my favourite track was and still is “Doll Parts”, but I only recently found Courtney Loves “Happy ending story”. Which I listend to constantly for a while.

One could say I got earworms (the germans have an expression for when you can’t get a song out of your head: they say that you have an “ear worm”.)


*Happy Ending Story”

“Doll parts”

*My pop val stukkend

*3rd day of a 7 day binge

I also retreated into my studio. I cleaned, rearranged it. Decided to make the ugliest dolls/effigies/talismans I could think of. To use what i have.  At this stage I don’t care if they don’t want to leave the studio, but I had to make them. To quote Amanda Palmer:

“whatever i’m making, i’m making. i’m very committed to doing what i feel like doing.  to me, that’s the true art….silly or serious. not the product. but the art of doing what you’re drawn to do, regardless of who gives no fuck.”

By making these ‘dolls’ I am learning so much about myself

Rosyntjie and Tant Koba, (mixed media, fabric, found objects, cotton thread and ruber)

doll 2 (mixed media, found objects, cotton thread and rubber) – work in progress

Dolls are very close to us. This is also true in the field of psychotherapy. Dolls are used in play therapy and in sandplay therapy. Thus, it is meaningful to discuss the use of dolls in these therapies. When we think about dolls, what may be a characteristic feature is that people play with dolls. Different from other human-shaped things, an individual plays with dolls. With that characteristic, dolls have duality: they are a part of “I” although they are not “I.” Because dolls have such a gray existence, they have been used as a hitogata on which people place their hopes or sufferings. In the field of psychotherapy, dolls continue to be a gray existence that underlies our thoughts and sufferings.


I am learning things that feels like it is leading to something…I have big dreams…

“The desire to succeed had left Vincent.  He worked because he had to, because it kept him from suffering too much mentally, because it distracted his mind…”.Lust for life – Irving stone


Father, I killed my monkey

Art portfolio- my work
"Father, I killed my monkey" 2015 cotton thread, rubber, oil paint and found object

“Father, I killed my monkey” 2015 cotton thread, rubber, oil paint and found object

Sometimes a work is inspired by a title, sometimes a title is inspired by the work.

In this case the work was inspired by the title, and the title was inspired by lyrics from the song called “Bliss” by Tori Amos:

I always wondered what she means by the words: “Father, I killed my monkey”?

To me the monkey represents curiosity and playfulness, so maybe that’s what I’m killing when I am too serious sometimes.