The popular annual Spier Light Art ran from 8 December 2019 to 19 January 2020. This year we’ve selected 5 artworks to stay for an extended period especially for visitors to the Stellenbosch Triennale.

These artworks are scattered around the farm and are freely accessible to the public. The best time to visit is at dusk, when you can catch both the beautiful sunset and the switching on of the lights.

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Curatorial Statement

Jay Pather and Vaughn Sadie

Light not only illuminates but shapes how we think, how we feel, how we relate to our environment and to each other. Increasingly, this medium has been used and explored by artists to new heights – evoking exquisite metaphors, playful experiences and emotive symbols. Light art as a form and light art festivals have thus become a powerful addition internationally to our ever-expanding experience of art in the contemporary world. All of this was very evident at last year’s Spier Light Art – the very first exhibition devoted to such work in the country.

The artworks showcased at this year’s exhibition create a unique journey across Spier Wine Farm which is both awe-inspiring and thought provoking. Playful interventions respond with humour and wit to physical attributes of the estate, while other light installations allow for meditative interaction. A range of works reflect on South Africa’s complex and brutal past, and the persistent inequalities that frame our day-to-day reality. Many of these artworks ask for your participation in order for them to come alive – whether through touch, or other physical interaction, using your phone or even simply lying on a couch bathed in light. Watch out for these. We trust that these various experiences of light art and the range of themes, a clear expansion and extension of last year, will continue to intrigue and fascinate you. ~
Jay Pather & Vaughn Sadie



1. Family Tree

Clive van den Berg

Located on the lawns close to Eagle Encounters
The idea of family has undergone considerable change. In childhood, Clive van den Berg loved looking at family tree diagrams, but realised that, in addition to genetic families, there are also families that we choose, particularly if we are ‘misfits’.

For van den Berg, a man who loves men, finding an echo of his desires is an important part of knowing that he exists within a community. This sculpture honours those who are family by choice and by identification.



2. Invisible

Kenneth Shandu

Located on the spine at the Wine Collection point
Kenneth Shandu’s work explores everyday experiences of economically marginalised people in South Africa. Society stereotypes homeless people as criminals, drug addicts and lazy. For Shandu, these stereotypes are harmful, closing opportunities for marginalised people and creating a dehumanising fear of them. The wire sculptures give visibility to what is invisible in society.



3. Split Mirror

Warther Dixon

Located between the Artisan Studio and the Craft Market
Split Mirror speaks to the psychological defense-mechanism of splitting, where an individual polarizes their consciousness or opinion into a good or bad binary. Temporarily, this eases the discomfort of complexity, but ultimately supports a cognitive dogmatism. The viewer sees the situation from only one side. The artists hope that through the beauty of the work, the viewer will be eased into seeing nuance.



4. The Sound of my voice

Tiago Rodrigues

Located at the Slave Bell
The painful history of the Cape cannot be avoided. This installation encourages contemplation of this history.

The phrase of the work is taken from Brett Bailey’s ’21 Gables’, where the character Sannie says “Ring your bell meneer, ring it loud for soon it will be quiet”. The slave bell used to rule slaves - the installation is an attempt at changing that voice; to bring a different presence to an object that once held so much power.



5. Keep the lights on

Qondiswa James & Themba Stewart

Located on the Soccer Field
Keep the lights on brings awareness to socio-economic (in)accessibility in the City of Cape Town. Each roof structure represents a different socio-economic typology.

In ‘low and low-to-medium income communities’ 95% of people are public transport users leaving home before sunrise and getting home after sunset. Public lighting in some of these areas is so bad that it makes it dangerous for residents to move around. - Mary-Anne Gontsana, GroundUp (2019)