So.. the exhibition has come and gone. I have learned so much and feel years wiser. Luckily the feedback was mostly positive.
Any suggestions or feedback are very welcome. If you have inherited something unfortunate, let me know! I would love to add them to the growing unfortunate gang!
Inbox me – firstname.lastname@example.org
or on Instagram!
These works are examples of things you inherit from your family that are sometimes a wee bit unfortunate.
This coat of arms represents the stereotype white person in South Africa. English or Afrikaans.
It is well known that every single white person in this country has a colonial history. We were not originally from Africa. Our ancestors are colonialists who travelled the world in search for new land.
They all also have a tendency for ruling and organising. Trying to make things perfect.
This is why my white crest consists of a mesh of countries, mainly European countries and South Africa. It is laid on a grid of streets to create the feeling of organisation.
Lastly, it’s all done in white to emphasise the colour of their skin.
For an isiXhosa coat of arms I chose to create one for Sindi Mambinja.
We had an interview during which she told me a lot about how their family works and what they deem important. I was amazed. Because traditionally a surname is a western entity, their surnames are very different to ours. Sindi and her core family has the surname Mambinja, but technically they are Mpangele, which means guinea fowl in English. They also consider their Clan, which consists of a much larger scope of people, very important. More so a tribe mentality, something I know nothing about.
One of the most important things within Sindi’s family is their kraal at home in the Transkei. They use the entrance of the kraal as their place to speak to their ancestors. She also stipulated that her grandmother took care of her and her siblings by weaving baskets and selling them on the streets.
With the Mpangele coat of arms I wanted to move away from the traditional.
I decided to incorporate the kraal as the base, because this is where they go to pray and talk to their ancestors. One of the ancestors that Sindi speaks very highly of is her grandmother. She weaved baskets and brooms to make a living for them, so I tried to weave the paper through the kraal to represent her.
In the middle is a general Xhosa pattern, which you will usually see in weaved baskets. This pattern brings in some bright colours and places emphasis on the fact that the Mpangele family consider themselves traditional and are proud of their Xhosa tribe.
The outside consists of two blue guinea fowls that have a swe swe pattern on them. This is literally what Mpanglele means – guinea fowl. And the blue swe swe is well known in traditional Xhosa clothing.
This coat of arms was created for Rob Melvill’s 60th birthday. I was commissioned by his sister Sasha Scholtz.
This traditional family coat of arms is a good example that it can still look modern but timeless without changing it.
I was sceptical about this crest as I was not too sure how the end product will look like. But to my relief I was very happy with the outcome. The layers of paper worked beautifully with the traditional coat of arms style.
Jacques Pienaar was the first guinea pig. His coat of arms is also a representation of the Afrikaans culture.
They have a grandfather who left them a legacy, a legacy that made this Pienaar family as close knit as they are.
Their coat of arms consists of the following:
Back pentagons – The Pienaar family boast about their knowledge in the Sciences, so I decided to make the backbone of their Crest the backbone of any molecule, the Lewis structure.
Kalahari scene – The Kalahari scene is an annual holiday for the Pienaars. They go to a game farm their grandfather bought and there is a tree on it called ‘oupa se boom’, where the Pienaars go and have a picnic to honour their grandfather.
Kleinmond – Also a structure their grandfather bought. A building that was once surrounded by trees is now surrounded by houses and cars. Luckily they still have an amazing view of the mountains in the back.
Gin and Tonic – Jacques’ grandfather was a big fan of gin and tonic. At big events Gin and tonic is the main drink, and fights can get rowdy over how many lemons is just perfect.
All these elements are squashed into the coat of arms, which may make it a very untraditional one but all and all speaks close to Jacques Pienaar’s heart.
“To know your future, you must know your past,
each stepping stone that has been cast.
Remember the good, as well as the bad,
and feel the emotions of happy and sad.”
We are, to a large extent, our past. We are shaped through our distant ancestors as well as our personal experience. It is important to be aware of that heritage.
The vision I have is to create that awareness and to help families express it in an artistic way.
South Africans have such a rich and diverse past. All families have shaped our unique historical landscape. Many of whom make us feel proud, and perhaps not so proud. Often these differences were celebrated, but at times they were used to alienate.
In the end it matters who you are, and what role your family continues to play in South Africa.
The story of your family must be told.
Heraldry is a visual tool which expresses your past. It is an ancient way of giving recognition to a family. It gives a sense of influence, ownership and place.
I want to “revamp” the old fashioned and conservative notion of a family coat of arms.
I believe modern South African families should be displaying their coat of arms or just show a part of where they come from, who they are because of the past, in their homes.
I’m driven to create striking pieces, both unique and informative, but also shrouded in meaning.
Anything from reworking a traditional coat of arms, adding a personal touch to an existing coat of arms or a full blown custom piece: retelling and reliving the exciting lives of real people. A life to remember.
Creating works that show things you have inherited from your family, be they physical or emotional features. Either way, it is something that bonds you with people whom you may love or hate. This is who you are. Wear it with pride!
I decided to exhibit for the first time in my short professional career.
I really wanted to get into some Illustration again and thought this will be the only way to get something done. Setting the daunting deadline.
From this day till the end of June I will be posting my progress as the deadline creeps closer and closer.
My project is called Advancing Backwards (Meaning needs a whole new post). Where I will basically up-cycle family crests with paper.
Wish me luck