Author: Linda Fletcher
The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) spans over 3 187 893 hectares from Montagu in the West to Willowmore in the East, and Prince Albert in the North to Still Bay in the South. Within this vast and diverse territory are breathtaking landscapes of mountains, rivers, estuaries and shoreline.
With the convergence of three global biodiversity hotspots, the Fynbos, Succulent Karoo, and Maputoland-Tongoland-Albany hotspots, this Biosphere Reserve is truly a unique space. Of the approximately 5,000 plant species present, 670 are endemic to the area; which means that they are found nowhere else on earth!
Deriving inspiration from nature
With such an abundance of natural beauty, it is not surprising that the region is home to a multitude of incredible artists and creatives, many of whom derive inspiration from their surroundings. Inspired by Nature is a GCBR initiative that aims to showcase local talent that celebrates the natural world, and draws attention to the environment through their creative expressions.
The GCBR’s vision of “people and nature living in harmony” will be the theme of our inaugural Art Exhibition that will be hosted at our office in Riversdale on the 12th of November 2022. This theme serves as an important reminder that neither man nor the environment exist on their own, that we are very much intertwined. The theme reaffirms the objective to create healthy eco-systems where man and nature thrives together. The full details of the event and the participating artists will be announced soon.
Nature offers something for everyone
The initiative also aims to encourage the exploration of all the amazing places within our domain; and we really do have some gems! Whether you would prefer traversing the Langeberg and Swartberg mountain trails on foot or bike, gazing at the Indian Ocean from our pristine beaches, observing the vast night sky of the Klein Karoo, or enjoying a fynbos safari; Nature is really special here and offers something for everyone to be inspired by.
Since the start of this initiative, it has been encouraging to learn how many artists have a deep appreciation and respect for nature. When interviewing Machdel Basson from Still Bay, she described the influence that growing up in the countryside had on her, and the way it cultivated her lifelong love for the environment with such reverence and passion. When Machdel told us that “nature is nothing outside of us; it is something that is very much a part of us and that we are all a part of”, we knew that she was exactly the kind of artist we wanted to showcase in our initiative.
While engaging with local artist, Nadine Hansen, her affinity to the natural world and desire to conserve it was clearly evident and very authentic. This affinity is again evident as she explains her self-portrait titled: Paradisia.
“By incorporating birds, plants and other wildlife into my self-portraits, I communicate that we as humans are a part of the environment and not standing alone or above it. My work tends to represent the ideal ideology, the human in the artwork provides the birds with a place to nest, instead of holding the mirror up and showing the degradation and destruction of natural habitat. The art that I make is very close to nature, without being overly sentimental.”Nadine Hansen
Over the coming months we invite you to keep an eye on our social media platforms as we will be sharing more stories like these. You can expect to see artwork from fine artists, potters, sculptors and other creatives from our region who are inspired by nature. You are cordially invited to get outside and to let nature in.