DU TOIT SCHABORT
“I paint with rocks and gems, because I can bring my travels right into the paintings, literally. “
Du Toit is a 37-year-old artist living in Cape Town. He is a naturalist and biochemist by training. Du Toit spent holidays hiking and mountain biking with his wife, and taking pictures and mental images of South Africa and Namibia. Geology (the science of rocks and minerals) and palaeontology (the study of dinosaur fossils) are fascinating to him, and he produces artworks from the landscapes he visits.
"Naturally, since I paint using soil and rocks ground to the suitable consistency (with a suitable amount of violence!) and mixed with a long-lasting transparent modern glue, and because the Afrikaans name for soil is 'grond', 'ground' sounds about right. It also refers to the want to return to a ground state or the roots of art, by using the natural elements of nature, without alterations or additives. Southern Africa is rich in ancient culture and is in fact believed to be the cradle of mankind, where some of the first humans walked the earth, painting with charcoal and ochre. It is also rich in minerals and gemstones."
Du Toit Schabort
Medium: Rocks and gemstones – no artificial paints. It uses only six basic elements (yellow and red ochre, mica, malachite, sodalite and limestone), most of which originate from this arid landscape - the Northern Cape. Iron-containing ochres make up the majority of the painting. Apart from charcoal, ochre is likely the oldest form of paint used by primitive tribes ranging from American Indians to Aborigines, and of course, the Khoisan or Bushmen of Southern Africa, which is the setting for the painting. Shimmering mica, a mirror-like rock is used in the rendering of low bush growth ('Karoo bossies' in Afrikaans). Rare copper-containing malachite is used as touches of green to indicate life still persisting, even in the dry season of the semi-desert. The rains are finally coming, rendered in white calcium-rich soil from the Western Cape in vertically applied impasto to give the peaceful feel that rains bring with it. In the far distance, hills are visible. The purple-blue sodalite rock is used to give the sense of distance and depth. The simplicity of the raw materials, unmixed and unaltered is the focus here. It invites the viewer to appreciate things as simple as rocks, mud and water and to be aware of abundance and scarcity. While abundance means an easy life, it is scarcity that attracts value.