Tankwa Artscape is an artist residency in the desert focussing on an artistic relationship with the desolate landscape and creating from there.
Concept of the residency: Imagine a desert floor, undisturbed by human traffic. It’s not the absence of life that is so dramatically visual. It is a few million years old retrospective of ancient seabed and cataclysmic geological events in Earth history, and the footprint of storms and water flow in the riverbeds. Vast pans nudge aside scrub and vlei and gentle hills and land, which drop outside of the quick glance, towards a perimeter of deep-set mountain horizon.
Across some of the expanse of tight scrub and dark flatland there is a bicycle track that may have traversed this space anytime between two weeks and twenty years ago; a rut has embedded itself into spongy soil between the rocks. Weathering has deepened the impression, the impact from which erosion has begun. You could say it defines the beginnings of consciousness, that bicycle track. It represents a challenge that will always be here: to what extent should this kind of impact be acceptable. And where is the compromise? As an artist - how to respond to this landscape in a way that pays respect to the unique desert aesthetic? The original ‘gate-keepers’ of the land here lived light on the ground. Who should be the present and future ‘curators’ of this landscape, and what responsibility comes with that curatorship?
It is the artist who is able to leave another kind of impression, a way of seeing that can affect the conscious gaze of anyone passing or experiencing their work. In the end, if the art is offered with the right intention, the aim of this project has been fulfilled. Considering what is the ‘right intention’ is where the work begins.
The organisers encourage collaboration between artists. Everyone who participates at and contributes to Tankwa Artscape is perceived as a creative – this specifically includes caterers, supportive assistants, photographers and videographers – everyone comes together to create something very special. This “sanctifies” the creative space, ensuring consideration and participation from all as well as appreciation for all contributions. They encourage conversation across all art forms, Tankwa Artscape is a chance for all participants to converse, to ask questions, to discuss concepts, to laugh loudly, to share your experiences and to tell stories.
Stonehenge Private Reserve is a Nature Reserve, therefore locations for artworks are carefully chosen so as to not disturb the unspoiled terrain. The selected sites are attractive and interesting in a variety of ways, and have all experienced prior disturbance or human intervention.
The desert is the studio.
Tented camp in the Tankwa desert.
No electricity, generator available.
The residency takes place in the Tankwa Karoo, a semi-desert in the driest part of South Africa.