The seed of the Scatterlings paintings grew from a conversation with a Zimbabwean man, Leslie. He spoke in vivid detail about his experiences as a migrant worker, and his relationship with home. He has been home annually for ten years, yet the phrase he kept using was “I have a home”.
Leslie’s references to home were concrete and practical. He spoke of drought and exchange rates, school shoes and roads. In 2010, when life on a subsistence farm became unsustainable, he went into the forest and harvested Mukwa trees (known in South Africa as Kiaat) and made bowls from the wood. He travelled to Cape Town to try to sell them, but his passport and the bowls were stolen. To make the paintings, I needed a vehicle for this idea, something that took the concept beyond border posts and identity documents. The flying seeds are about transcending borders, whatever they may be.
Pterocarpus Angolensis, the distinctive tree that produces these entrancing “wing fruit” (from the Latin) is native to Southern Africa. It is under threat because the prized hardwood is durable, easy to polish and resistant to termites. Interestingly, it is used to make the Mbira because it produces a rich, resonant sound.
Scatterlings I has a warm sky, dry seeds and a sliver of distant forest. In Scatterlings II, the seeds are green and there is the promise of rain, a different season and a different feeling but with the same sense of these beings floating in vast space. They move with the wind and are weightless, yet solid. Deliberately, the paintings do not have a single focus because I want the viewer to consider each seed individually, even though in ‘real’ life they are identical.