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The Horn of Plenty – Chris Mann and Julia Skeen-Mann

This is a series of painting-poems that celebrate fruits, vegetables and cereals such as pawpaws, aubergines and rice (and weeds!). The handwritten poems are incorporated in the original images. The event would include at least one walk-about and reading by Julia (the artist) and me (writer of the poems).

Chris Mann’s poems have focused on people (South Africans), places (Heartlands), science (Seeing the Cosmos in a Grain of Sand), plants (The Horn of Plenty), animals (Lifelines), adolescence (Take your Time), faith (Epiphanies) and love (Rudiments of Grace). An isiZulu-speaker, he worked in rural development in KZN during the struggle period. The recipient of the English Academy gold medal for 2019, he’s emeritus professor of poetry at Rhodes, the founder of Wordfest South Africa and currently artist-in-residence at the cathedral in Grahamstown-Makhanda. He is currently working on a book of poems that link the myths of classical Greek and Roman poetry with contemporary South African patterns of belief.

Julia Skeen-Mann, pictured above, in her studio and during a walkabout of an exhibition of her work during the National Arts Festival, is also an experienced meditation leader. She works with ordinands at the Anglican College of the Transfiguration, parishioners at the cathedral in Grahamstown-Makhanda cathedral, where she is Honorary Artist-in-Residence, and those who attend her exhibitions in numerous cities in South Africa. You can see more examples of her wide-ranging art on her website: www.juliaskeen.co.za
Julia sees her studio processes as unfolding journeys, which reflect her spiritual quest, described by her as a broad-based Christian mysticism. Her meditative life and her art are inextricably linked. She attributes the choice of nature as a starting point in her work to her childhood on a remote farm in Zimbabwe. There are. however, always other layers of meaning in her art.

Venue: The Little Way Chapel at Temenos


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