Hanien Conradie

In THE MAKING PRACTICE, Hanien Conradie reveals her ongoing practice concerning place and belonging through making.

 Our visual journey starts with Stille Waters(2014) at an ancestral place called Raaswater where Conradie collected some river clay from the (now dry and silent) Hartebees river, to explore questions of indigeneity, indigenous devastation, responsibility and loss. Conradie pours a mixture of red ochre and oil onto a layer or river clay, her ancestral soil, as a ritualised prayer for guidance.

(Stille Waters: 117x80cm: river clay, ochre and linseed oil on board)

 We move on to Aswater(2016) a portrait in ash of the healthy flowing Hartebees river painted from a photograph taken in 1950. Here Conradie uses transparent oil resin to paint the image followed by sifting ash over the sticky marks. Once it dries the surface is brushed to remove any loose ash particles that didn’t adhere to the canvas. This process is repeated several times until this watery memory comes to life.

(As Water: 70x45cm: ash, ochre and oil resin on canvas)

 In 2017, Conradie created a series of paintings titled Of Water and Invoking. Here Conradie explores indigeneity further by mixing European culture and African soil. Claude Monet’s series of lily paintings become the images she tries to copy in a similar way as described above but this time with ochre from places in Southern Africa she has visited. The image and soil tussles until some resolution is found. The original painted resin image somehow holds the ochre in place. Over time the soil starts to develop a patina which recalls a sense of water.

(Lwamanzi: 90x90cm: River clay, Table Mountain ochre and burnt plant material on canvas)

(Memory of a Place: 40x40cm: River clay, Table Mountain ochre and burnt plant material on canvas)

(Where Lilies once Where: 40x40cm: River clay, Table Mountain ochre and burnt plant material on canvas)

(Water - Remembered: 40x40cm: River clay, Table Mountain ochre and burnt plant material on canvas)

 In 2018, Conradie visited the River Dart, Devon, UK. The opportunity to immerse herself in the dark water of the Dart triggered a renewed need to work with the re-animation of her damaged ancestral river. Thus, was born Donker Stroom, a series of paintings on paper made with a prehistoric river clay originating in Devon. The title of the series is inspired by a poem written by Afrikaans poet, writer and medical doctor, Eugne Marais (1871-1936).

(Donker Stroom: 45x100cm: Black River Clay on Paper)