“A house, in whatever form it may take, is not simply where we rest our head, it’s a personal reflection of who we are.” – Megs and Cholë, Conteu Magazine
Last year October I travelled to beautiful Durban for my Wild Lines solo exhibition at The Commune with Jane Sews. Two lovely young girls Chloë and Megs of Conteu Magazine introduced themselves to me at the exhibition and suggested that we collaborated for one of their quarterly online publications. It is a truly inspiring indie publication celebrating authentic local craft and I was excited to illustrate three pieces for the ABODE issue that launched in July 2016. They asked me one simple question: If people started looking like their homes, what would they look like? I considered that for a while and paid extra attention to my friend’s homes and how each of them unknowingly conveyed their personalities.
Since I moved to Cape Town six years ago to pursue a career in the art industry it has been named the Design Capital of the World, Table Mountain was named the 7th World Wonder and Cape Town was named the number one city to live and work in in the world. If it was overpopulated before, it has recently become even more of a rush of traffic and a struggle to find a decently priced flat. It is also probably the most expensive city to live in in South Africa. So how do we all survive here and create sanctuaries in our homes?
Living in an apartment is the safest option, which means we sacrifice gardens, space and pets. The only option left to us is buying cats and even that gets tricky since only a few apartment blocks allows you to have cats as pets. In the past three years we have all noticed the popularity of crazy cat lady products with local and international brands. Cats are also featured on Instagram daily with an abundance of hashtags floating around the Internet. So who are these crazy cat ladies and what do they do? After taking a good look at my friends, the character of ‘Mau’ slowly started forming in my mind. The name ‘Mau’ is derived from the Middle Egyptian word ‘mjw’ meaning cat. The modern Egyptian Mau is said to have originated in 1952, in Italy, where exiled Russian Princess Natalie Trubetskaya met the cat of the Egyptian Ambassador. This intricate line drawing celebrates strong creative females with an overwhelming love for their feline friends, a great collection of books and possibly enjoys a glass of red wine at home. It was so fitting that my stylist and photographer, Marize Conradie of She is Visual, has a cat named Tilly who visited the set to inspect the coconut shavings that was used to style the lookbook.
The character ‘Fae’ is definitely the one that I relate to the most. I have moved eight times in my twenties, which means that I have always felt most at home when loved ones and nature surround me wherever that may be. I yearn for the peace I find nestled in a cabin in the woods surrounded by mountain ranges far away from city life and technology. It gives my soul a chance to breath. My apartment is elegantly minimalistic with warm wooden tones, lots of natural light and as many plants as I can keep alive. If I could grow a forest in there I honestly would. That would be the only clutter allowed in the house but if I could live like a fairy and have a little dog running around I would be ecstatic. This is how the character ‘Fae’ came to life in one of my drawings. The name ‘Fae’ is derived from the Old French faerie describing enchantment with various folkloristic traditions referring to them euphemistically by names such as good folk, people of peace or fair folk. This intricate line drawing celebrates creative, natural, authentic females bringing tranquility to their homes through plants, pattern, organic textures and exotic teas.
Living in Cape Town gives you an incredible amount of opportunity to lose yourself in nature. We all live right on the slopes of Table Mountain and we can easily drive along the coast if the cramped city starts to overwhelm us. There is something about living in Cape Town that is pure magic. There is always about a dozen amazing things happening and you will rarely find an empty restaurant even in winter on a Monday night. The city is so alive and there is a creative energy that everyone feeds off. For those that weren’t born in Cape Town (and there is a lot of us) it is truly the perfect place to move to if you are looking to build your creative career without sacrificing your lifestyle filled with beautiful nature, culture, art, music, food, markets and artisan everything. But it gets too much. We do often crave the outdoors where things are simpler and quieter. I know this to be true for myself and for the majority of my friends. This is where the character ‘Kale’ started forming in my mind. If you’ve ever visited Cape Town you could not have missed the bearded men with their flannel shirts that look more suited for the outdoors than city life. So who are these beautiful people with the incredible ability to grow such thick beards? ‘Kale’ refers to an exceptionally adventurous, curious and strong male. He feels most at home escaping a busy city life and heading for the mountains entrenched by nature and relying on his own two hands to hunt and gather. This intricate line drawing celebrates the authentic male with a sincere love for nature in his heart even if his career requires him to live within cities from time to time.
My ABODE collection of artworks were published in the July 2016 issue of Conteu Magazine and were exhibited at the breathtaking launch in collaboration with She is Visual at The Modern Heirloom 25 June 2016. The ladies spared no expense to create an incredible evening for everyone who attended. It was a celebration of local creatives coming together to celebrate slow living at its finest. Hey Pioneer had a beautiful tipi installation set up outside and The Hobbyist offered short macramé workshops every couple of minutes. Marvel + Light had their products on display and Legado Coffee Roasters shared their delicious coffee with the guests. The Modern Heirloom in Stellenbosch is one of my absolute favourite venues and created the perfect space for a magical afternoon celebrating local talent.
My lookbook was styled and photographed by the ever talent Marize Conradie of She is Visual. The event was beautifully photographed by Kelly Lubbee, talented ladies of Conteu Magazine and Sarah Le Sueur.
The artworks from the ABODE Collection are now finally for sale on my online atelier www.mariamagdalena.co.za. It is a limited edition print run of 10. Once they are sold it will never be repeated again in order to keep it exclusive. Each fine art print is acid free, archival 210 x 297 mm (A4) and printed on the finest Stephen Innocent White 330gsm 50% recycled paper that supports the JAM Foundation in South Africa to help feed hungry children. Each print is carefully packaged and comes with a concertina leaflet explaining the story a bit further.
To celebrate this beautiful new collection I am giving away 2 prints to you and a friend!
Simply comment with your friends name + your favourite drawing + subscribe to this blog. Winners to be announced Wednesday 6 July 2016 at 12:00. All entries without subscriptions will be disqualified. If you are on your cellphone you can simply click “notify me of new posts by email”. You are welcome to unsubscribe at any point.