22 February 2015
My art is three-dimensional and I want the person looking at my work to move around it – to move into it.
The Steyn City Project
Charles Gotthard was commissioned two years ago to oversee the creation of environmental sculptures on Steyn City, north of Johannesburg. Steyn City is the brainchild of business magnate Douw Steyn and lies over 2 000 acres of land between Fourways, Lanseria, Broadacres and Midrand . An 18-hole state-of-the-art golf course along the banks of the Jukskei River is surrounded by various residential developments and an equestrian estate. This is interlinked with a 40 km walkway surrounded with 1,2 million indigenous trees. It is along this walkway that Charles was given a free hand to beautify with his unique three-dimensional, larger than life ceramic art, artistic landscape benches and mosaic murals, all that double up as multi-functional art pieces.
“The unique aspect of this project is that while I create these art works I am also teaching. I have ten students from the neighbouring Diepsloot and Cosmo City who will eventually be able to create an income from their art. They will qualify in two years’ time and then they will get ten more students each to teach. Art can be a very lonely lifestyle, but if you can teach while you create, it makes it that much more rewarding.
“The developers of Steyn City has requested that we use rocks salvaged from the site so as to combine local materials, local talent and a local theme. The challenge comes in taking what is around us and inviting it back into pieces we create so that they fit architecturally and environmentally into Steyn City’s natural landscape. We are fortunate in that these rocks have slivers that we can peel off and then replaster for the final surface, making our rock creations look as if they have been there for centuries, seemingly as ancient as the roads built by the Inca Empire.”
“The ultimate swan-song, one that any artist can only dream of,” is how Charles describes his Steyn City Project. When asked if the statue of the giant arising from one of the grassy hills is a self-image, he just smiles behind his unruly beard. “No,” shaking his head. Then, looking back at the massive figure, he concedes, “Maybe the nose.” Article Courtesy of Get It Hartbeespoort