Johannesburg

Daniel Naudé - Bovine Prophecy

Thursday Apr 8 - Saturday May 1       6 Jellicoe Ave, Rosebank
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Throughout the last decade photographer Daniel Naudé has focused his lens on capturing the peace and stillness of rural life on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, highlighting the relationship between domesticated animals, such as the majestic Ankole cattle, and the people who farm them. For his latest series Bovine Prophecy, he focuses on the indigenous cattle that live on the beaches.

Recording portraits of cattle requires incredible patience. Waiting for a particular animal to be in just the right place at the right time, and for the weather and the surrounding landscape to also play its role. The magic of these portraits is Naudé's ability to capture the exact moment of recognition between the subject and photographer. The animals look expressively and directly into the lens.

Naudé explains it is precisely these moments where you can sense the animals range of expressions that he is most interested in, "some may be tender and dreamy, while others will confront you with a direct stare that is challenging and aggressive".
 
Xhosa heifer sitting on the shore, Mpande Eastern Cape.
From Bovine Prophecy by Daniel Naudé
In creating the atmosphere, the dramatic Eastern Cape landscape also plays an important role. "The landscape serves as a means to ground my work in a specific place, while it also serves as a reminder of the enigmatic nature of the cattle. One starts reading the cattle as that which emanates from the landscape, while they also seem to be moving landscapes in themselves". 

​​​​​​Cattle and their role in society have left an indelible mark on the history of the Eastern Cape. After Dutch settlers brought Friesland cattle to the area (which subsequently spread bovine lung disease), the prophetess Nongqawuse spoke to her Xhosa ancestors in 1856. According to her visions from the ancestors, the Xhosa people should slaughter all their cattle and destroy their crops. As the legends told the dead of the Xhosa nation would then rise from the sea, bringing with them new, uncontaminated cattle. After the destruction, the prophecy did not come to pass and an estimated 40 000 people from the Xhosa nation died of starvation.
 
Mpuzi Cliffs, Eastern Cape
From Bovine Prophecy by Daniel Naudé

In these images the landscape also serves as a reminder of the enigmatic and emotional nature of the cattle, and their position within our human stories.

As Naude explains; "Animals do not pose, they merely exist. We attach meaning to animals, we read them as the carriers of our stories. And yet our own existence depends on them and we cannot live without them... That, I would argue, is exactly the tie that binds us to history and makes the story of Nongqawuse so relevant to the contemporary moment. Never has our relationship with the natural world been in so much need of critical intervention". 

Artist walkabout and book signings

Thu Apr 8 at 17:00 and Fri Apr 9 at 11:00. Email gallery@everard.co.za to attend the walkabouts, note space on the walkabouts is limited. 

Date

Venue

Apr 8 2021 - May 1 2021
Everard Read Gallery
6 Jellicoe Ave, Rosebank
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