june 2018

22jun10:1510:45Hanien Conradie - The Voice of Water: Re-sounding a silenced River10:15 - 10:45 B: Studio 1

Event Details

Raaswater is the Afrikaans name of the smallholding in Worcester, South Africa, where my maternal grandmother farmed grapes for export in the 1940s and 50s. The farm was named after the raging sound of the Hartebees River, which courses through the property. Upon a recent visit to the farm however, I find a silenced river and a location bereft of its endemic plant life. My tale recounts the unique relationship I build with the clay of the Hartebees River, the same clay my mother played with as a child, as I attempt to allow its water to re-sound.  It is a story about landownership, loss of indigenous knowledge and the rights of nature; it is a story which gives voice to the wisdom of water.

My processes are informed by thinking of matter as ‘animate things rather than passive objects’ as described in Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter(2010) and explored by the Gutai Artists of Japan(1950). The talk will focus on one of my ‘paintings’ with river clay where I harness the fluid nature of mud to expose the qualities of the water. The narrative of my paper will include references to other artists who have worked with mud and river clay, such as Kazuo Shiraga’s Challenging Mud (1955), Andy Goldsworthy’s Clay Wall (1988) and Richard Long’s Throwing Muddy Water. As my story unfolds I will be weaving in themes of the Gutai manifesto where we will allow water to ‘expose its characteristics, to tell a story and even to cry out.’




Informed by radical ecological theory, Hanien Conradie explores a sense of place and belonging by spending time in indigenous environments she has particular connections to. Her work is concerned with loss of natural environments, cultural diversity and individual subjectivity and examines the complex interdependent relationships between these ‘ecologies’. Conradie’s undergraduate education includes degrees in both architecture and fine arts. In 2015, she graduated (with distinction) with a Master of Fine Art (2015) from the University of Cape Town. She has since actively participated in various group exhibitions located in South Africa, Europe and the USA.



(Friday) 10:15 - 10:45


B: Studio 1

Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EN