The Cosmology of the Bow

Im Rahmen der Ausstellung
Sand !Hū Sand

Foto 1: Anja Beutler | Foto 2: Paul Grendon

Bow making workshop & lecture
Saturday, 17  September 2022, 2 pm
With Garth Erasmus & Glen Arendse: The Cosmology of the Bow

We kindly ask for prior registration via
Kunsthaus Hamburg 
Free admission. 

The work of Glen Arendse and Garth Erasmus from Cape Town is exemplary for the attempt to free oneself from colonial burdens and to explore a different relationship of man to the world. Identified as “colored” in the still lingering categories of the South African apartheid regime, they fall outside the grid of dominant representations and find themselves confronted with stereotypes that deny their culture and history. In a gesture of self-conscious rededication of these attributions, they identify themselves as Khoi and thus as descendants of the “first people” – in order to refer to a pre-colonial past beyond “ethnic” or “racial” segregation. This is symbolized by their use of the “musical bow of the Khoisan”, a musical bow strung on one side, which they take out from the museal context and transform into a hypermodern futuristic tool. Originally a hunting weapon and thus also standing in the context of shamanistic animal-human relationships, its musical variant consists of a one-stringed bow with a calabash as a resonating body; it is plucked, struck or bowed, in some variants also blown. For Arendse and Erasmus, the bow is both the instrument of rehabilitation of the “Hottentots” (as the Khoisan were called by the Dutch and Germans in a history of repression and oppression that still continues) and an instrument of universal human creation.

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. 

Glen Arendse is a teacher, trainer, development worker, activist. As a musician and actor, he is involved in a number of theater productions, including the theater project “The House of Falling Bones” (Kampnagel Hamburg, 2018). Arendse explores the dynamic connections between improvisational arts and culture as media in learning and development programs. He has performed in local theater productions such as “Klarabelle gaan Kaaptoe,” “Crossing the waters clearing the air,” “Stonewords,” “Cry Rage,” and “Bittersoet Einde,” and enjoys jamming in the local jazz and alternative music scene. Together with Garth Erasmus and Jethrou Louw he is part of the band Khoi Khonnexion.

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 and helped establish several organizations emerging from the townships that saw art as a weapon of political work. Erasmus co-founded the influential artist group Vakalisa and Greatmore Street Artists Studios. His work has been exhibited internationally. As a musician, he plays in several improvisation and free jazz ensembles and together with Glen Arendse and Jethrou Louw is co-founder of the activist music and poetry group Khoi Khonnexion.


Guided tours
Thursday, 22 September 2022, 6 pm

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)

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von