:: Melkhoutfontein, Stilbaai, Western Cape, South Africa::
:: February & March 2016 - March & April 2017 ::
:: 2016 - 8.8m x 3m (approx) - Emulsion on Side Elevation & Chimney Stack ::
:: Samantha & Family's House, Melkhoutfontein, Western Cape, South Africa ::
This mural turned out very different - in colour, narrative content and visual style - from the original design that it sprang from, in part because the design was quite abstract and in part because of the positive feedback that Samantha gave to direct the course of the mural that was to be painted on her house. I found this very helpful, and the mural took on a completely new life of its own with many extra elements, including the appearance of a mother figure into the narrative which I think particularly delighted Samantha as she saw herself in this image. The design was also set in a drier, desert landscape whereas the hills and river valleys around Melkhoutfontein are much greener, and as such, the mural colours are wholly different to the design.
We see here, then, an eland hunt set in the Goukou River valley close to Melkhoutfontein a few thousand years ago. We begin with one of the hunters donning an eland costume and dancing to celebrate the power of the eland, which both Bushman and Khoekhoen peoples consider to be endowed with great magical potency, variously called !gi or n/um. In the next panel we see the hunt: three hunters chase down two elands directed by a partly-magical female figure on the hillside, who is depicted in more detail on the third panel. On the final panel, the eland falls to its knees exhausted, having been chased for an entire day. But instead of closing in for the kill, the hunters kneel and praise the animal, laying down their weapons before it and caressing it to whisper prayers. This expresses the gratitude the hunters feel for the source of their food. The other eland leaps off in the distance, expressing the promise of meat for another time.