Our sketching group was privileged to be invited to sketch in William Kentridge's garden last week. The artist himself was away, but the place was abuzz with gardeners and its designer, who gained permission for us to visit - house and studio staff, personal assistants and visiting builders and workmen - really a full-on business in motion. We were allowed a peek into the huge studio where some exciting work-in-progress was displayed on shelves and walls. After an exhausting climb to the top of the garden to see the stunning views, I settled for a section of the garden in which a smaller version of William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx's 11 metre high FireWalker sculpture strides under an old fig tree. (I was struck by the holes in the fig leaves echoeing the holes in the sculpture and spent too long trying to depict that!) From various angles, the sculpture looks like scattered shapes of black and white metal plate, but when you see it directly from the front, they join together to form the figure of a woman, often seen around the streets of Joburg, who cook and sell mielies (corn) and meat over their fire braziers, carried to and from work balanced on their heads.
Ah, me and William K, working and drawing in the same inspiring surroundings...who would have thought!!