Books at Artvark Gallery Shop

Craft Art in South Africa by Elbé Coetsee
“In these pages I embrace our nation’s creative diversity and share some of the pieces that delight me. Craft Art in South Africa: Creative Intersections endeavours to inspire, encourage and bring joy.” - Elbé Coetsee

The Keiskamma Art Project - Restoring Hope and Livelihoods by Brenda Schmahmann.
Meticulously researched, author Brenda Schmahmann engages the reader as the history and motivation behind the extraordinary Keiskamma Art Project is revealed in the book.
THE KEISKAMMA ART PROJECT, begun by Carol Hofmeyr in 2000, provides opportunities to over a hundred people in the tiny Eastern Cape settlement of Hamburg, South Africa, to support themselves and their families. Members of this remarkable project collaborate to produce compelling and exquisite artworks, several of which have been exhibited and celebrated internationally.

Cape Town an illustrated poem by Julia Grey 
Cape Town, an illustrated poem is a full colour art journal; part travelogue and part personal manifesto involving collage, illustrations and poetry. It is a work of self-discovery; documenting the impressions, visuals, questions and growing pains of a young person coming of age during the South African transition.

Slow Fires by Dan Wylie and Roxandra Dardagan Britz 
In recent decades, writers, environmentalists and activists of every stripe have sought to remind us that we can no longer think of humans as separate from the natural environment, that an ethical life is one that considers the rights of humans and animals together. In this series of 24 poems and etchings, Dan Wylie and Roxandra Dardagan Britz marry gritty politics with voices of animal consciousness in a dark but compassionate meditation on our fragilities in a world predominantly predatory, toxic or indifferent. The poems and images in this book celebrate and mourn, remind us of the ephemeral and the substantial in our lives, and imagine a space in which animals speak with wisdom, sadness and humour.

Heaven new and selected poems by Douglas Reid Skinner  
“A life’s work comes together here, brick slotted to brick, all cohering. From early to late this is poetry that has the courage, artistic as well as moral, to see things exactly as they are.” – J M Coetzee

 

Uithoeke/Outcorners
Fotogedigte deur Hans Pienaar/ Photopoems by Hans Pienaar
Praise for Uithoeke: Hans Pienaar’s “intra-collaboration” – between two parts of his creative soul – is by far one of the most interesting manifestations of this kind. It changes the way photography would normally act as well as the way poetry acts. Under pressure of one another, the two modes change the nature of their “will”, so to speak. This is a bold experiment. But what it contains above all is a soothing beauty. As well as perpendicular exhiliration. – Charl-Pierre Naudé

 

Rock Shelter: Some cave and cliff structures in Lesotho and South Africa by Pieter Jolly.

Pieter Jolly is Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town. His professional interests include the symbolism and conservation of San rock art as well as the history of interaction between the south-eastern San and southern Nguni and Sotho communities. In the course of his archaeological work in Lesotho and adjacent areas he came across, became interested in, and documented the cave and cliff structures as well as the decorated Sotho buildings that feature, respectively, in Rock Shelter and Ditema.

 

Ditema: Some decorated Sotho buildings by Pieter Jolly. 

This title records a variety of Sotho decorated huts and other structures. Decorative patterns of paint, pebbles inset into mud plaster, and incised plaster constitute the Ditema mural art tradition of the Basotho, which is similar to, but differs in many respects from, the Ndebele mural art tradition. Many of the interesting and often complex Ditema patterns made on the walls of huts appear to have been rich in symbolism relating to the culture of the Basotho, though these meanings, and the tradition itself, is fast disappearing.

 

My China by Hans Pienaar. (Also available in Afrikaans)

Iggy Jansen’s brain does not function so well anymore. His memory is shot, he battles with the many gadgets in his house and there are all these pointers to things Chinese in his life, like the satellite that threatens to fall on South Africa. He has these dreams about a woman on a billboard in a parking lot with whom he may or may not have had sex. But this makes him a prime recruit for a sinister unit run by the armed forces which needs people with skills in deniability. When at last he finds a way to escape from its clutches, he is faced with an impossible task: he has to prove in court that he had murdered someone. But who? He can’t trust anybody around him enough to know for sure which of the various possibilities are true. The state itself is confused. What must it do with all the special unit skills developed over decades? Privatisation is one answer for the new ANC government. There is a lot of interest out there in buying a third force, especially when it does not exist..

 

Not Goodbye by Akwe Amosu  
In this, her first collection, Amosu meditates on a rich range of experiences in Africa and elsewhere, and on the joys and sorrows of attachment. She reflects on the landscapes of chosen exile, on political commitment and on the burdens of loss. All is transfigured in language that alternates between sharp analysis, lyrical precision and lamentation.

Slow Motion: Stories About Walking by Andie Miller  
A collection of essays and interviews about walking in an increasingly autocentric society, this documentary project charts South African street life through the eyes of its pedestrians. The arrangement of the book is such that each piece can be read and enjoyed on its own, but the stories are also linked which creates a novelistic effect. While the interviewees relish the sights and sounds of the city, some also discuss the negative aspects of being a pedestrian, such as being viewed as a second-class citizen for not owning a car and the increased exposure to crime and dangerous automobile traffic. Although the focus is primarily on Johannesburg, several of the stories take place in Cape Town and international cities such as Los Angeles, Paris, London, and Mumbai.

To the Islands by Anne Schuster with Erica Coetzee
To the Islands is a practical guide for writers – beginners and seasoned explorers alike.

 

Discover five imaginary islands that lie waiting for you in the sea of creativity, each with an itinerary specially devised to lead you on writing adventures. Sail to the Island of Wu-Wei, where writing is effortless. Follow your creative intuition around the Island of Wuzhi and write spontaneously on the Island of Ziran. Visit the Island of Xin to write from the body and explore creative tension on the Island of Yin-Yang.

 

There are many approaches to 'learning' creative writing. The approach that underpins this workbook is inspired by practice. It is founded on the idea that what writers need most is to write. Writers find their feet by writing. They tune their voices by writing. To write frequently and with abandon allows you to explore the palettes and scenery of your creative universe. It is through writing that you discover your own islands.Using poetry and prose, the 25 excursions in this workbook will encourage you to experiment and cultivate a writing habit, even if you only have half an hour a day to spare.

 

Based on a course designed by acclaimed writing facilitator Anne Schuster, To The Islands is an invaluable sourcebook for individuals, for writing groups and for facilitators of creative learning processes.

Flat/White: The strange case of a new immigrant in an old building and things going badly by Ted Botha
When Pretoria boy Ted Botha moved to New York City, he was not so much an immigrant as someone on the make – a travelling South African looking to broaden his horizons. In no time he’d lied his way into a job in the New York magazine industry. Then he stumbled upon a small old dilapidated building in Harlem and moved in. Several blocks away, flats were selling for $1 million and more, yet he’d found one he could afford.What seemed like a fantastic opportunity, however, quickly descended into a world of chaos, lies, conspiracies, suspicion, drug dealing, police raids and death threats. Behind much of it slithered that terrible beast Botha thought he had left behind in South Africa, race. And the worse things got in the New World, the more Botha thought of the world he had left behind, Africa. Could he ever reconcile the two and survive the anarchy rampant in his old building?In equal parts memoir, comedy and tragedy – not to mention a travelogue/travelog (with some detours into American spelling along the way) – Flat/White brings to life a cast of characters that you won’t soon forget, in a story you won’t actually believe is true. But it is.

The Expat Confessions by Ted Botha & Jenni Baxter
The expatriate -- or expat, for short -- is a relatively unknown breed. Young, old, male, female, financier, artist, they all have chosen to leave the countries they were born in to find a home somewhere else. Ted Botha and Jenni Baxter, who live on opposite sides of the world (New York and the Gold Coast, Australia) tracked down 500 expats from their own country, South Africa, to find out where they had chosen to go and why. How easy was the change? What did each of them think of their new home, whether it was Taipei or Cyprus, Christchurch or Los Angeles, Paris or Rio? Did they miss the old country, and how hard was it fitting into the new country? How weird was the experience? Could they buy the products they were used to? How did the language change? The expats in this book share their deepest horrors and fears and joys. They might have started out from the same country, South Africa, but they tell the story of the common expat experience, which can be grateful, sad, nostalgic, funny, and often inspiring. The Expat Confessions is a fascinating and fun read.

The Moon as Shoe: Drawings of the San by Miklós Szalay
The San people have lived for thousands of years on the harsh plains of Kalahari in southern Africa and are the oldest indigenous people of the region. At the end of the nineteenth century, anthropologists Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd traveled to southern Africa to document the San’s language and culture through their drawings. Now assembled for the first time in The Moon as Shoe, the drawings of the San come together in a striking visual essay of San history and culture. The diverse array of colorful watercolors and sketches were primarily created by six San men interviewed by Bleek and Lloyd. Augmenting the brilliant image reproductions are expert essays by distinguished contributors such as Elias Canetti and Megan Biesele. The volume also features additional contemporary works by Ivory Coast artist Frédéric Bruly Bouabre and South African artist Keith Dietrich. A wholly original and compelling collection of indigenous art, The Moon as Shoe is essential for all collectors and scholars of African art.

Mend: A personal exploration of healing. Gina Niederhumer Artists Book
As the title suggests, this dissertation text deals with repair, and while 'mending' also refers to sewing, here I use it in conjunction with healing and the transformation of an inner conflict. Coming from a family of embroiderers in Austria I use needle and thread as my tools and physical objects as triggers in search of what has been forgotten or repressed. The work centers largely around a shared history between my mother and myself, which though marked by many separations, the love for needlework connects us again and provides a meeting place that bridges the divide caused by absences in the past and in the present. Divided into two columns, 'academic' and 'personal', in subtitled paragraphs elaborate and reflect on 'memory', 'family narrative', 'trauma', 'needlework' and 'art-making as a way of personal transformation' in an attempt to understand the story of my life and how it fits into the larger family narrative. The catalog section of the text lists the art works that resulted from this engagement with my personal story, while the accompanying artists book offers an in-death view into the process.

Holding Back by Gus Ferguson  
Gus Ferguson has published eight collections of poems, two books of cartoons and two popular books for children. He edits the poetry journal, Carapace. (Artvark has copies of Carapace in stock)

 

Sew many days by Gina Niederhumer  
Gina Niederhumer an artist and traveller started a project on the first of January 2016,  documenting each day on material, a journey via needle and thread. "A stitched ritual of being present, of pinning down the highs and the lows of what happened in the world around me every single day", Gina says.

Free from any prescribed needlework technique, she gave herself permission to doodle in stitches hoping to stay focused for an entire year. " My little portable workbox accompanied me where ever I went on all my journeys, geographical ones and the silent ones in my head", she says.

"I stitched in Barrydale by the river, in airports while waiting for flights, on backseats of cars, trains while visiting family and friends in Europe and most often in Cape Town, while watching a late night movie. This resulted in a collection of 366 title images, which became my journal of my year.''

Gina is originally from Austria, has a Masters degree in Fine Arts, and can be found in her studio in Muizenberg, Cape Town. 

 

And many more titles in store

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