“Unlike the cool kids of 20 years ago…who were really obnoxious, hard living and in some cases hung out with hookers…the new cool kids live in a peaceful kingdom where imagination, youthful naiveté and impeccable taste reign supreme. They’re not a Brat pack; they’re a play group. Their art is not about sex, money or violence. Its about mood and whimsy; frogs fall out of sky, a Brazilian guitarist in a sailors suit sporadically singing David Bowie songs in Portuguese; unicorns materialize. Their personal lives have a similar gentleness. They’re about warm and eccentric families working with friends; sojourns in Paris, best new bands, 70’s songs that no one ever heard, the perfect shoe.”
This extract from the Vanity Fair Magazine aptly describes many of the wonderful young people who make up Londolozi’s New Generation Management Team. In particular I think of my young friend Simon Max Bannister who I have watched grow up and who is now an emerging contemporary artist with, in my view, a rare talent for provocative deep and meaningful communication through the medium of art created from litter cleaned up off the land.
At Londolozi we believe that we must create a space and a place where individuals can be the best versions of themselves. Simon Max Bannister visits Londolozi annually for a month each years as our ‘artist in residence’. In March 2009, Simon Bannister produced ‘Land Art’ as an expression of Dave Varty’s dream to create an Elephant Corridor as an extension of land under wildlife and remnant parks of South Africa. The project aims to encourage the removal of fences separating the Kruger Park area and the Blyde River Canyon, thus allowing more space for more wildlife, and simultaneously economically empowering and benefiting communities bordering these areas. Simon’s artwork took the form of an Elephant Tusk Gateway and Intention Circle. It was aptly erected upon a crest facing westwards in the direction of the Drakensberg Mountain Range and the proposed Elephant Corridors.
Using old fence wire and cabling as his project material, SImon has emphasized a cross over from man-made materials into organic, thus allowing nature to reclaim materials which were previously used to prohibit it. Simon’s intention is for one to walk through this gateway; without a key, door or lock, into an environment without fences or inhibiting agents. Simon’s choice of materials includes the re-use of existing waste wire with a low impact and aesthetically pleasing result. he has brought two manmade elephant tusks into life, emerged with nature, to evolve as one artwork and one intention.
Simon Max Bannister’s work has, since then, grown in stature as this young man tells the Earth’s story via his thought provoking creations which are fashioned from recycled litter and other waste material. Is it not time that the art world sat up and took note?
Art lovers can join Simon Max next year at Londolozi when he is in residence.
Written by: Dave Varty
Photography: Rich Laburn & Heidi-Lee Stockenstrom
With acknowledgements to Moby – ‘In My Heart’ – 18 – c/o Mute Records UK’