It’s been a year since I lost my mother and 4 since I lost my little furry buddy, Champers, and to be honest, the loss still weighs heavy upon me. Time, they say, heals all but heal is probably not the right word. I think it is more that one learns to deal with the loss. You suck it up and carry on because that is what life does, it continues. You get dragged along regardless. What is really bothering me at the moment is the suffering my mother endured, especially in the last years of her life. I am so sad for her. Those final months at her side, watching her die, really haunt me.



Above: my mom (on far left) with her brother and his wife. 17, I think?

Now you should know that I am a firm believer in the idea that to live is to suffer. God does not want you to be happy, He/She wants you to be strong! Through adversity we grow and become stronger and better for that suffering. That is if we can find meaning in the suffering. Nietzsche said, “he who has a WHY to live can bear almost any HOW”. And I guess in a way this relates to my last post and the “So what?” question. You are alive, so what? Make it count, do something with it that is meaningful. For my mom that was her children, her family and her animals. For me it is about making a difference: animal rights and feminist rights, and of course, making art that makes a difference also. In this way you find meaning in life. Unfortunately our societies have become very much about consumerism and being consumers. Got to have the new iPhone, got to live in the right neighbourhood, go to the right school. Squeeze out more children; spoil them so that they can also become consumers. Buy huge, petrol-guzzling vehicles and tell yourself it is for safety reasons and never mind what we are doing to the environment. Connect on social media and present yourself as a commodity there too, and bitch and whine but do nothing really. For too many people that is their meaning of life and the world as it is today is the result of that. For too many the idea of being a good provider (consumer) is the meaning of life. No! Go do something meaningful! Make a difference!

Below: My Champers.



So I guess I like Viktor Frankl’s notion of meaningful grief through the contemplation of one’s beloved. Frankl was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War where his entire family (apart from one sister) including his wife, were killed. This was how he survived he says; contemplation of one’s beloved. Suffering somehow allows for transcendence when it finds meaning. Existence or experience moves beyond the normal or physical level. Think Mandela or Mother Teresa or even Marina Abramovic. Similarly contemplation of your lost loved ones as well as imagined conversation can lift you up to a spiritual level and help you make sense of the loss. Inside you they will endure. I like that thought. In my contemplative state my mother remains that youthful, exuberant, warm nurturer who loved to have a house full of children, her own and the entire neighbourhood’s. In my contemplation Champers dozes, pressed up alongside me as I read, purring contentedly.

Below: Me lighting candles in preparation of my 40RTY (2016) performance.


My Fourth Year Gallery Exhibition: Final Stage – Installation and Opening

Press Release:

ArtSPACE Durban is pleased to present Proof of Life, an exhibition of new work by Andrew Swanepoel, known as the artist, swany. Please join us on Tuesday 19th November at 6pm for the exhibition opening and to meet the artist. The exhibition will be opened by Dr Mpako, Chair of the Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology.

In the exhibition, swany presents a commentary on contemporary existential angst. He addresses, in particular, his dislocation as a middle-aged white male within contemporary South African society. This includes a sense of alienation and loss of identity as a result of the displacement of white masculinity in the social hierarchy. While utilising the self-portrait to identify and locate himself, he simultaneously subverts and deconstructs the medium. By commenting on himself he critiques the society within which he finds himself located and often at odds with.

Swany is a Durban-based artist who works across disciplines while always retaining an element of performance art in his pieces. He has exhibited at the KZNSA Gallery, artSPACE Durban and the Collective. He most recently exhibited his performance and installation piece, Gaze (2012), at artSPACE Durban, and took part in a group exhibition, More Than Words (2013), at the Collective.

The exhibition runs from 19 November until 30 November 2013.

Installation (3 full days: 17-19 November)


Proof of Life: This Is Me (2013)



Proof of Life: This is What I Do (2013)