Aloe: ‘Strong’

Title: ‘Strong’
Medium: Mixed media (Ink wash and pen-and-ink on Canson paper; embroidery) on Canvas
Size: 1650 x 1000mm
Year: 2020

Over the years, I have used a variety of Aloe plants in my art making. This large Aloe is a symbol of strength. Aloe plants often grow in harsh climates and in poor soil. Yet, come winter, they light up the veld with their bright, orange flowers – like fire torches. And their leaves are filled with powerful healing sap.

Through my art, I search for parallels between us as humans and the spiritual world. Do we not also have light to shine like torches for the world? Can we not also touch others with the ‘healing sap’ within us? Is this not also what God does to us as humans: restoring our broken pieces and bringing beauty from ashes… 

I used a deconstruction process to create this. First I drew the aloe with pen-and-ink on a 300g Canson water colour paper. I then took the whole drawing apart and reconstructed it on stretched canvas. The pieces are attached to the canvas using embroidery stitches.  The background is painted a very dark navy colour in oil paint with texture markings. The entire work is sealed with an artist’s varnish to protect the paper and embroidery thread. 

Detail of artwork with embroidery stitches:


2019 Group Exhibition