paintings are of actual places and I have become accustomed to emotional
responses to my work, as if the viewer believes they have been to that
particular place. For South Africans this can be a particularly nostalgic and
heartfelt response. Land in this country is not a simple issue. My work
attempts to raise our awareness of the South African landscape as a place of
beauty and strife. The possession of land is central in much of our identity
and land is like a canvas on which people can make their mark. The shelters we
make, the barriers we erect, the lines we plough, tell us a lot about our
relationship with the land and about our relationships with each other. As a
white South African woman born into the fraught and sterile world of apartheid
South Africa, my work is my way of understanding my belonging”.
Life in South Africa is
always controversial, ironic and sometimes tragic. Debates rage and yet the
land is always there, regardless of to whom it belongs. Natural elements
reassert themselves through seasons and patterns.
The meditative process of finding order and pattern in this seemingly
chaotic environment forms a large part of Daymond’s work.
These are landscapes in
which my sense of aloneness prevails. I constantly puzzle over the idea of
landscape art, painfully aware of its loaded history. Those burdens of
acquisition and dominance are always with me and so for a moment I sought a
state free of these ideals and agendas. These drawings are an escape, a simple
search for a state intrinsic to everyone. I am always looking for the
Landscape can mean many
things to me, but being immersed in a vast and pristine landscape allows me to
feel alone and aloneness has become a rare and undervalued state. James Howell
wrote in his letters "I am never less alone, than when I am alone".
In these drawings there are no signs of human interference.
provoke different responses in me and once again, there is a distinction
between tropical and arid places. The humid east coast environment is
tumultuous and boisterous-it can afford to take risks.
The Karoo and the
central parts of South Africa have a quiet drama-vast and cautious. The Karoo
is risk averse, a mirror of a more introspective aloneness. I stumbled
upon a narrow band of this feeling while making these drawings. It was a point
in the drawing of these landscapes when I momentarily captured that simple
feeling of being alone. It may be entirely in my imagination, but a couple of
marks either side of this narrow band meant that the feeling was lost to
Each drawing started off
quite specifically as a place I had been to and quickly became a kind of
automatic drawing, as if the drawing was emerging from the paper as the
charcoal passed over. Each plant or hill was like a bump in my consciousness; a
slightly tall upright bush had an entirely different feeling from a round,
dissolving one. Crowded bushes generated a feeling unlike that of a bush
One of the stimuli that
resulted in me bolting for this cocoon was the possibility of frackingin this
environment. The potentially violent intrusion of this stillness made the
drawing process feel like writing a love-letter to someone who was going to war.
As an extension of this, the intrusion on delicate balances within our minds
and bodies, echoed in our broader environment, is a continuous thread in my
The charcoal medium
supports this feeling of fleeting and delicate balance. It is a sensitive
medium and one brush of a finger can change it completely. Also, it is like the
affinity between watercolour paint and painting water. The Karoo landscape has
all the elements of charcoal; woody, dusty, hard and soft bits, caused by the
seasons through which the plant lived.