Alchemist's Journey Millie Wood Swanepoel
Photographs by Marcus Renner - Poems by Chips Sudworth
by Millie Wood Swanepoel
Millie Wood Swanepoel is African, grew up on an isolated farm in Zimbabwe at a time when Africa was all that we imagine it to be. Since that time, the wildlife has diminished in numbers and Africa becomes more and more of a shell of what we envisage.
This is the heart of her work.
This is not a sad tale, rather one of appreciation for the wildlife that has withdrawn, of observation of the boundary between human and animal. The scope of both these themes has become wider and no longer entirely African.
Of animals, appreciation has often become loving humor that pursues the individuality, the character, the essence of animals, who use body language rather than words.
Throughout all this, it is the link between human and animal that is important; this link as a symptom of ourselves. The more diminished this link, the more blind we are to ourselves. Animals provide a context for our own interactions and behavior. They remain a part of our lives though often unseen and not thought of.
My abstract Bag-like work is often mixed media with found objects e.g. horns, teeth, bones, wood, bark, metal is incorporated into the finished objects. The bag-like pieces are a statement about how humans are able to make pouches or containers from a variety of materials including animal skin. There is also the mystery of what a bag could contain. For me it is food for thought.