“Then at thy nod the phantoms pass away; no traces left of all the busy scene, but remembrance says- the things have been.” -Samuel Boyse. The Deity, circa 18th C.
By projecting written history, archival material and illustrations from the 16th-21st century into and onto real, specific sites, I contrast colonialist’s experience as adventurers / explorers with my own experience of today.
Through my art I imagine the City of Cape Town filled with live, wild animals- combining a vision of the past with my presently-observed surroundings.
The imaginary and the real become intermingled; the present and memory from print fuse into one when ideas from the past are made visible through the transient light of the projector. My interventions are translated into photographs to leave proof of the performance/happening. Therefore the work functions within the site and in printed form.
CAPE LION. Company Gardens entrance. Wale Street, Cape Town CBD. 2007

“During the forenoon the Commander, walking the gardens, saw tracks of wild beasts everywhere, and shortly afterwards a bold lion jumped up just outside the gardens not more than forty or fifty paces from him, and leisurely made off towards Table Mountain.”
-JVR. 16 June 1656. Journal of Jan Van Riebeeck. Vol. 2 1656-1658
NOORKAPPERSNOT. (local jellyfish). Marine Drive, Milnerton. (Gas Tanks). 2007

In modern Afrikaans the word ( Northern Right whale) is spelt Noordkapper, and at one time Western Province fishermen referred to whalebone as ‘noordkapperbaard’. ‘Noordkapperolie’ was whale-oil and jellyfishes were called ‘noordkappersnot’, a name said to be heard mostly in the Riversdale district of the southern cape. -C.J Skead. 1982. Historical mammal incidence in the Cape Province. V.1
HIPPOS. Church Square, Cape Town CBD. 2007

“Hippos were killed in 1652 in the marsh where church square, Cape Town, now is.”
-Theal- South African historian. The fauna of South Africa. Vol.2

 “Last night the men on shore caught a large hippopotamus, the weight of two ordinary fat oxen, having a most horrible monstrous head and several sharp protruding teeth… It was most violent and fierce and they had their hands full to subdue it spite of its having been hit behind the ears by a few bullets which penetrated the head, its skin being a good inch thick ( 25, 4mm) and so hard that at some places no musket-ball could penetrate it. It had therefore to be shot through the head from the front, when the milk ran from the udder. The men ate the flesh as it tasted good.”  -JVR . 24 April 1652. Journal of Jan Van Riebeeck. Vol.1 1651-1655
WHALES. Civic centre, Hertzog Boulevard ( near Roggebaai, now reclaimed land). 2007

“There are many whales in Table Bay from which there was good hope at first of getting train-oil, but it has been found by experience that they are too lean, and that no profit can be made from them.”

-Johan Nieuhof. 1654. The first fifty years of Dutch colonization as seen by callers
PORCUPINE. The Castle/ Fort, Sir Lowry Road/Strand Street, Cape Town CBD. 2007

 “In the evening a dead lion was found on the beach at the dunes near the fort. It had just died and was still warm. A porcupine quill was found sticking in its chest quite two hands deep. On being skinned it was found to have been so badly wounded by the porcupine quills that it had obviously been killed by that little animal.” -J.VR. 19 August 1656. Journal of Jan Van Riebeeck. Vol. 2 1656-1658
CAMELEOPARDALUS. Canterbury Street, Zonnebloem/ District 6, Cape Town. 2007

‘Request to send with one of the returning ships (t’ Zeepaard)  to Mr Allamand, professor of philosophy in Leiden, to be given to him in favour the Cabinet of Natural Curiosities of His Highness the Stadholder, the skin and skeleton of a Caeleopardalus, in 2 cases measuring 6 by 3 ½ feet, and 8 by 3 feet.’

-Robert Jacob Gordon, discussing giraffe remains transported from the lower course of the Orange River to Cape Town and then to Holland. 1780. –The Zoological exploration of Southern Africa 1650-1790.
TEXT PIECE. Old Mutual Building. (View of the foreshore) Cape Town. 2007
‘These are bred in India and Afric, and bought up and down Europe to be seen for money:”
-Edward Topsel. 1658. History of four-footed beasts. 
BOKKIES. Queen Victoria Street, demolition site next to the centre for the book, Cape Town. 2007

 “… found everywhere the finest flat meadows in the world, most suitable for planting and cultivating, full of game, harts, hinds,  roes, steenbok, eland…”
- JVR .18 September 1652. Journal of Jan van Riebeeck. Vol 1. 1651-1655
RHINOCEROS. Arches of Parliamentary buildings, Wale Street, Cape Town CBD. 2007

“Wilde beasts are often captured in this region and brought to the Dutch Castle so that at this time one can see all sorts of such animals namely lions, tigers, rhinoceroses, snakes, and wolves, but all dead and stuffed.”
-Elias Hesse.1681. Africana Notes and News, Vol. 17
TEXT PIECE. Signal Hill Picnic spot/ Parking lot. Table Mountain Reserve, Cape Town. 2007

“In the Cape Colony I had the privilege of seeing in my early youth a blaauwbok. It must have been one of the last half dozen and was one of the most beautiful animals that ever walked the earth.”
-Sir Percy FitzPatrick. early 1900’s. Historical mammal incidence in the Cape Province. V.1
GIRAFFES. Table Mountain Reserve, with view over Cape Town CBD. 2007

“… four giraffes, the largest about 12 feet (3,7m) high. One about 8 or 9 feet (2.4 to2.7m) lame of one leg…” 
-John Herschel. 1830.Herschel at the Cape. Diaries and correspondence of Sir John Herschel, 1834-1838.
KUDU AND PEACH TREE. U.C.T sports field with Woolsack Residence situated behind. Cape Town/ Rondebosch. 2007
“But our most interesting visitor was a bull-kudu of some eighteen hands. He would jump the seven-foot fence round our little peach orchard, hook a loaded branch in the great rings of his horns , rend it off with a jerk, eat the peaches, leaving the stones, and lift himself over the wires, like a cloud, up the flank of Table Mountain. 
Once, coming home after dinner, we met him at the foot of the garden, gigantic in the moonlight and fetched a compass round him, walking delicately, the ward red dust in our shoes: because we knew that a few days before the keepers had given him a small shot in his stern for chasing somebody’s cook.”

-Rudyard Kipling 1937. Something of myself. 
EUROPEAN RABBIT (and European Squirrel). Entrance of Company Gardens, Cape Town, CBD. 2007

A letter dated 13 May 1652 to the headquarters in Amsterdam advocated the introduction of“… some rabbits to breed from in the downs so suitable for them.” 
-Jan Van Riebeeck in Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope. Letters and documents received, 1652-62 
ELEPHANT. Woodbridge island, Start of Rietvlei nature reserve, Milnerton. 2007

In July, Jourdain went ashore at Rietvlei just to the north of Milnerton on the road to Blaauwbergstrand, across Table Bay from Cape Town. He wrote: “It is to be understood that this river is a mile (say 1.6 km) from the place where the ships doe water; that beinge very fresh and good, proceedings from divers springs which cometh from the mountaynes. In this journey up the river we saw many estreges and footings of elephants, much fish and fowle, etc….”

-John Jourdain.1608. Before van Riebeeck. Caller at South Africa from 1488 to 1652
HYENA. Dolphin Beach, Bloubergstrand, Milnerton. 2007

“In spite of all refreshments and diligence for their comfort, a few more died, and although we buried their bodies deep enough in the earth we saw in the morning that the corpses had been dragged from the graves and torn apart here and there in the open, and half-eaten by wild Bush-dogs, Jackals, Lions, Tigers and other wild beasts of which at that time there were many there…”

-Nicolaus de Graaf. 1640.Before van Riebeeck.
TURTLES. Admiralty private beach and reserve, Simon’s Town. 2007

“My navy Captain introduced me to the Naval society of Simon’s Town where the South-Easter blows five days a week, and the Admiral of the Cape Station lived in splendour, with at least a brace of live turtles harnessed to the end of a little wooden jetty, swimming about till due to be taken up for turtle soup.”

-Rudyard Kipling 1937.Something of myself.
Back to Top