Sand Stories

In the context of the exhibition
Sand !Hū Sand

Rosa Namises, photo: Marianne Pletscher/21journal | photos: Sisters of the Soil (Oppieyaart)

Sand Stories 
Saturday, 10 September 2022, 3 pm

What sand has to say with Garth Erasmus, Ruth May, Xhoes, Peter Thiessen
With Sisters of the Soil (Oppieyaart), Community Gardening Project from Cape Town, South Africa &
Aio Da Go (We are grateful), Community Gardening Project from Ovitoto, Namibia

The event takes place on Zoom. Registration here.

At this event Garth Erasmus, Ruth May, Xhoes and Peter Thiessen get together with two community gardening projects that the artists met on their research journey to Namibia and South Africa. In conversation, Sisters of the Soil (Oppieyaart) from South Africa and Aio Da Go (We are grateful) from Namibia will talk about their relationship to the soil they live on and with, about resettlement and land division in countries strongly marked by their colonial histories, and about the reappropriation of indigenous knowledge to garden in the concrete use of sandy soil.

The event takes place in the context of the exhibition Sand !Hū Sand, which can be visited at Kunsthaus Hamburg until October 2, 2022. In this exhibition, visual artists and musicians in international collaboration deal with the material sand and examine its relationship to the traces of colonial history and revolve around their different approaches to the world. The artistic works, for the most part created for the exhibition, consist of ephemeral materials such as fabric and sand, the sounds of dry ice and conversations on journeys. Performances, workshops, talks and concerts will be held within the setting of this expansive installation, but during the exhibition this is also the setting where rehearsals, productions or improvisations take place.

The gardening project Aio Da Go (we are grateful) founded by Visolela Rosalinda “Rosa” Namises dedicates itself to reestablish indigenous knowledge about cultivation and establish sustainable self-subsidence. Namises is a Namibian politician and human rights activist. She is a prominent voice on gender issues, human rights violations, and violence against women and children in Namibia. She is both the director of Woman Solidarity Namibia and the director of Dolam Residential Child Care Centre, a day care center for vulnerable children. Namises is a former Member of Parliament, founding member and former Secretary General of the Namibian opposition party Congress of Democrats (CoD).

Sisters of the Soil is part of the Community Farmer’s Radio Show on Bush Radio, South Africa’s oldest community radio station that Lucelle Campbell and Melissa Britz are part of the initial team of. Oppieyaart is a community garden project that cultivates a growing, teaching and learning space about soil, food and medicine. The Oppieyaart team consists predominantly of women from Elsies River in Cape Town, South Africa and was founded by Campbell and Britz. The interest of growing and planting lies in Elsies River as well as in other communities on the Cape Flats. Oppieyaart creates a safe space on the Cape Flats that should inspire people to learn and exchange about soil, food, health and community. The project wants to encourage a simple and interconnected way of life that includes neighbourhood, children and animals as equal environment. The continuing idea on supporting small community based businesses benefits local products or self-made markets. In cooperation with other organisations a space of co-learning is generated to exchange knowledge on planting own food, saving and trading seeds with other participants or produce own medicine. Therefor the community garden provides the neighbourhood with healing remedies or immune booster, herbal tea and holy smokes. The cultivated plants and herbs are mostly indigenous, for Oppieyaart wants to bring an awareness of sustainable living for sustainable communities.

Garth Erasmus is a visual artist, musician, audio artist, activist, community worker and instrument maker. He studied visual arts at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. In the 1980s, he was part of the artistic anti-apartheid movement. Erasmus creates his works against the backdrop of the present and history of South Africa’s indigenous population, the KhoiSan, to which he belongs. He challenges the hegemonic constructions of the “coloured identity”, which are based on exclusion and continue to impact society, even after the end of apartheid. As a musician, he plays in several improvisation and free jazz ensembles and is co-founder of the activist music and poetry group Khoi Khonnexion. His work has been exhibited internationally and is part of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, USA, as well as the Artscape Theater and the Robben Island Museum, Cape Town.

Ruth May’s works translate materiality both into the surface of the painting and back into space. May is a visual artist, in addition to her purely artistic work, she designs costumes, stages and record covers for various bands and performance groups and is active as a musician. She studied fine arts at the HFBK Hamburg and was a founding member of the Akademie Isotrop. In her artistic practice she works, among other things, with fabric and deals with both the texture and semantics of textile materials. As a musician (violin) she is part of various productions.

Nesindano Xhoes Namise works, among other things, as a voice artist and explores with experimental sounds, as well as on “aural narratives” as a historical discipline. In her spoken word performances she deals with cultural memory processes, questions of restitution of the intangible and genderqueer issues. Namise is a poet. She combines her poems with Afro-folk-funk, neo-soul, vocals and acoustic guitar. Since 2010, she has co-organized Spoken World Namibia, a growing platform for performance poetry in Namibia.

At the centre of Peter Thiessen’s work is the relationship of sound and music to language. With the lyrics, he explores various states of the “in-between”, the ghostly, the spectral and the zombified. For Sand !Hū Sand he has developed a series of musical pieces dealing with the largest known pile of sand: the planet Mars. Using the materials occurring on Mars – sand, metal, dry ice and water – he has composed a speculative soundtrack in which the agency of inanimate matter becomes audible. Thiessen is the singer, songwriter and guitarist of the Hamburg band Kante and was the bassist of the band Blumfeld from 1997 to 2002


Guided tours
Thursday, 22 September 2022, 6 pm

Music & Talk
Monday, 12 September 2022, 6 pm
Garth Erasmus (Khoi Khonnexion), Stefan Schneider (Mapstation), Peter Thiessen (Kante)

Mineral Performances
Thursday, 15 September 2022, 6 pm
Tsarab mâs (Dust’s Standing) by Xhoes
Null (Mars & Moon) Dry ice-Performance by Peter Thiessen, with Glen Arendse, Garth Erasmus, Ruth May
Digging Deeper by Nik Duric

The Cosmology of the Bow
Saturday, 17 September 2022, 2 pm
Bow-making workshop (Garth Erasmus)
Lecture: Musical bow of the Khoisan (Glen Arendse)
Bow Ensemble Improvisation

Sand Concert
Saturday, 24 September 2022, 8 pm
Khoi Khonnexion (Kapstadt)
Kuru (Windhoek/Berlin/Hamburg) – Special Guest: Renu Hossain
Kreidler (Düsseldorf/Berlin)
Songs aus The House of Falling Bones (with members of Khoi Khonnexion & Kante, Nik Duric, Ruth May, Xhoes)

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