A GALLERY IN THE WOODS
The Afrikaans Taalmonument, situated on Paarl Rock and visible from the N1 just added a new daily experience that yet again, combines its unprecedented location with the roll of preserving and tutoring about this native language.
An open gallery along the plantations that circles the slopes of the monument has been set to help you devour the beauty of art and nature at the same time. Poetry from the Cape Flats to the Waterberge to Henties Bay curated and shared in the open.
In the run-up to the International Day of Monuments and Sites on 18 April 2019, the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) joined creative forces with the independent journal LitNet to exhibit lesser-known poets’ work at the monument’s Green Gallery. This temporary exhibition places the spotlight on eleven poets whose work appeared in LitNet’s ‘new poems’ in 2018/2019.
According to Michael Jonas, ATM director, the institution is a living monument where there is a continuous interaction between the structure, nature, visitors and language creators. “We like to give lesser-known writers, musicians and poets a chance to expose their work to a larger audience. Most visitors are not only very interested in the history of Afrikaans, but also curious about the language’s development and her latest creative incarnations as it offers new perspectives on the worlds of many Afrikaans-speaking Africans.”
The theme of this year’s International Day of Monuments and Sites was ‘Rural Landscapes’, focused on the importance of rural areas and the impact their welfare has on the rest of a country. “Whilst the urban population rate is growing and has reached a global figure of 54.82% in 2017, the population of rural areas also continues to grow, despite its decline in terms of percentage share,” says the International Council on Monuments and Sites. “This has a twofold effect in rural areas and, while some areas are being abandoned, others are suffering from human pressure. Furthermore, we cannot ignore the ecological footprint that urban areas have on rural zones, and the changes in the rural landscapes that this footprint induces, as well as the consequences for both the environment and communities.”
“The chosen poets live in cities, towns and farms – from the Cape Flats to the Waterberge to Henties Bay, so they represent a wide spectrum of residents, urban and rural, and their poetry is not just about nature but also human nature,” says Jonas. The 11 poets are Alwyn Roux, Anzé Bezuidenhout, Christo Meyer, Daniel Manchest, Elize Koch, Estelle Rubow, Franco Colin, Gideon C du Toit, Margaret Cordier, Marnus Kok and Shaun Warner who embody a wide range of interests, histories and writing styles.
The architect of the monument, Jan van Wijk, felt strongly about nature and therefore he is honoured by this open-air gallery where his ashes are embedded in a boulder, surrounded by indigenous olive trees and granite. Every few months an exhibit of various Afrikaans writers’ works is presented in the gallery’s display cases, made from recycled wood and glass, to focus on the cultural and ecological aspects of the monument. LitNet is a widely-acclaimed multi-lingual interactive journal on -line where writers can publish their stories, thoughts, columns, articles and opinions.
The public can view the exhibition to the end of August 2019 in the Green Gallery. The monument, which is also the starting point of Paarl’s Tree Trail, is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00. Access is R40 for adults, R10 for SA students/pensioners and R5 for children (free for children under 6). Audio guides in various languages as well as free guided tours are available, and the monument also offers a playground for children, hiking trails and a restaurant.
For inquiries about the monument or to find out more about the many popular events, visit www.taalmonument.co.za
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