Nindya Buktowar:

beauty in everything

beauty in everything

I am currently on a 3 months Artist residency, awarded and funded by SAFFCA. I have spent 6 weeks at Witklipfontein, in Vredefort Dome, FreeState and about to embark on another 6 weeks to Entabeni Lodge, Knysna.

My life back home is busy, since I am also an entrepreneur, and the year started with the need to fit 6 months of work into 3 months, so I could free myself for the residency.

At the end of summer 2024, I set out to Witklipfontein, with no plans, very little in my bags and with little knowledge of the place. I met Heidi Fourie in Johannesburg and drove to Vredefort Dome together. I was so happy to be embarking in this journey with Heidi, I love her work, her sense of humour and it is exciting to be experiencing her process of art making.
On the way to the residency, after lengthy scenery of flat grassland of Gauteng & Free-state, we were suddenly confronted with folds of green lush hills and contrasting overturned rocks, feeding our excitement and impatience to get to our new home.

When we arrived at Witklipfontein, the landscape, the animals, the people and the architecture welcomed us with exceptional generosity and warmth. It was beautiful to be able to call this landscape home for the coming weeks.

As an artist, I have a constant need to seek beauty in everything I encounter & experience, and Witklipfontein was incredibly fertile for this aspect of my artistic practice.

It took a few days, to slow our pace and mind, so we could truly listen and feel the landscape. I experienced the landscape in various ways, through my runs, walks, hikes, under the trees, on top of the rocky hills, sunsets, sunrises, through the dense vegetation and the grass fields and through the eyes and experiences of the wonderful Witklipfontein team.

The studio itself, is magnificent. Large volumes, beautiful terracotta textured walls, large openings, blurring the lines of the indoor & outdoor, inviting the landscape on all sides of the artist studio. The space is very comfortable and effectively laid out, promoting conversation, food making, rest, daydreaming and stillness. I enjoyed my room a lot, I loved spending long mornings, with indulgent self-care routines and afternoon naps. I often felt homesick, missed my dogs and my partner, but the landscape comforted and grounded me. It was truly a gift to be experiencing the generosity and beauty of Witklipfontein.

The landscape inspired me in many ways. As the weeks went by, my mind got clearer, I felt strongly connected to the source. As if time had stopped and there was space to watch insects at work, to observe birds build their nests, to hear the trees and leaves rustle, to watch clouds move and to feel the vastness of land. We hiked all the hills, we drew on top of the rocks, at sunset and sunrise. We watch winter settling in slowly, with the hues of greens slowly turning into gold.

I made a few bodies of work, two ink form series; SpaceForm, a construction of the landscape using fragments and LightForm, light tracing the sun/shadows through the trees. I also created a land art piece, taking inspiration from the whitebrowed sparrow weavers nests and the available material from the land.

Life on the farm was physical, with the daily hikes, farm routines and the construction of the nest up the hill. The nest was make using clay/mud from the landscape. I worked with the incredible Witklipfontein team, Martin, Grasham, Wisdom and Dumi to build the nest, with a tight project timeline of two weeks. I am so proud of what we achieved at the residency.
Pierre was incredibly encouraging and thoughtful when we spoke throughout the residency.

Xavier is one of the most gentle and calm person I’ve encountered in life. He was very supportive and facilitated the making of the nest. I learnt so much from his knowledge of natural building techniques and approach to space making.

They have both inspired me and supported me in making my first Landart project and I’m eternally grateful for the generosity and opportunity I have been gifted.
Gratitude to Micheal, Nadia, Sharon, Martin, Grasham, Wisdom, Dumi and Emma, who are now my forever family of Vredorfort Dome.

When I was awarded my current artist residency by SAFFCA, I had no idea how important the residency would mean to my artistic journey.

Witklipfontein landscape has transformed the way I see forms, patterns & colours, my role in the world, enriched my creative centre and I have been exposed to a state of mind and soul that I want to maintain/cultivate from here onwards.

Areas: South Africa

Venues: Entabeni Urban Farm and Witklipfontein Eco Lodge