Entrenched Power Structures

Designing and eventually completing the construction of the castle brought about tremendous creativity and inner growth. One of the greatest unfolding treasures was moving away from a conventional Christian perception during a struggle process of questioning, contemplation and release, documented by means of several sculptures and artefacts.

 

From the start, and passionately, several Christian symbols were incorporated into the architecture of the building. Every entrance was embellished with a miniature cross, each suite had at least one painting or object denoting Christianity. A precious collection of antique panels of the Way of the Cross was imported from Belgium and exhibited in a space especially added onto the building, adjacent to the chapel. All over were antique paintings and prints of Jesus. At the main pedestrian entrance to the front garden a plaque was imbedded into the paved area with the words: ”Unless the Lord builds a house the work of the builders is useless” Psalm 127:7. An open Bible (on Isaiah 41) was buried immediately inside the parking entrance gate. A leader of a large denomination came to bless the building.

FOLLOW ME

1,800 X 1,200 X 2,400 mm

 

Acrylic resin and paint, artists’ oil paint, hand painted eyes

 

The main Christian symbol in the castle is a life size, realistic sculpture of a smiling Jesus with arms wide open depicting a joyous invitation: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my load is light.”

The Jesus sculpture and Lamb of God (see below) eventually became the centre of turmoil when friction erupted with the Christian whose life cast hands I used for the sculpture. A legal battle that ensued once resulted into the Sheriff of the Court arriving at the front gate with a list of my possessions that were to be sold on auction to cover the other person’s legal costs. The Jesus sculpture and Lamb of God were on the list. I valuated the Jesus sculpture at R250 thousand, but in the Sheriff’s list it was worth R5 000!  Some years later the value of this sculpture decreased to a mere R1 500 when the same Christian launched yet another attempt.

 

The most significant comment about the Jesus sculpture once came from a nine year old boy. They had just come from the famous God’s Window, about 5 kilometres from the castle … and he and his mom arrived for a guided tour. He spoke in an abrupt, low voice and maybe he also had a disability. After walking along the antique collection of panels depicting the Way of the Cross they eventually arrived in the chapel. With wide eyes he stared at the Jesus sculpture, gasped for his breath and said: ”This is more beautiful than God’s Window!” He saw the real God’s Window!!

LAMB OF GOD

520 X 360 X 400 mm

 

Polyester resin, artists’ oil paint, gold leaf, crystal jewels, taxidermy eyes, small water pump

 

Besides the life size sculpture of Jesus, a gentle sculpture was placed in the entrance to the chapel. It consists of a Lamb (denoting the Lamb of God), an elaborate gilt crown embellished with various crystal jewels (Jesus the lamb but also king) and a little stream emanating from underneath this crown, running past the Lamb (”He will lead them to springs of life-giving water” Rev.17:17; Jer.2:13; John 4:10).

To celebrate Passover at the castle an event was advertised in the local newspaper. It would include a walk along the isle of the Way of the Cross, followed by communion in the entrance to the chapel and then a short presentation inside the chapel consisting of playing  a brilliant Czech rendition of the Our Father while the English translation was projected onto a large movie screen next to the Jesus sculpture. The Thursday before the Friday a priest (from Sabie) of a large denomination phoned and asked from whom I got permission to offer communion upon, and without hesitation I answered: ”Jesus gave me permission”. The priest uttered ”but we are the body of Christ”, upon which I remarked ”but I am also the body of Christ”. The ensuing discussion ended with him hearing that from then onwards he had been banned from the castle as persona non grata.

 

Soon afterwards an email arrived. The provincial religious leader in Gauteng (same person who conducted the blessing of the castle) reprimanded me for causing trouble between himself and the religious leader (same denomination) of Mpumalanga because of my altercation with the priest in Sabie (who must have reported the incident to his superior). He expressed concern that as a result, his chances of conducting similar events/ceremonies in Mpumalanga could in future be refused by the religious leader of Mpumalanga. My question was: ”Whose kingdom is at stake here … yours or the leader in Mpumalanga .. or the kingdom of Jesus?”. Needless to say this interaction also ended not well.

 

And then some years later the same leader sent a Whatsapp message, saying that he was in Mpumalanga for a retreat and that he and his wife would like to visit … upon which I reminded him of the previous discussion and that amongst others, as a result of that discussion, I was moving away from the Christian religion. He apologised for contributing to this and said that he would pray for me, upon which I answered that his prayers were not needed.  Some years earlier I attended a religious course under his leadership. His response to my declining his offer to pray for me was surprise, because he said he would have expected that the benefits of that course would still be prevailing in me … His closing remark was that he noticed huge anger in me … and I expressed surprise at his lacking ”insight” into my emotional state.

 

I recall a similar incident when I was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church … the local leader behaved as if he had a divine right to command his presence and attention. All the time my reaction has been to answer with fire … the method they are accustomed to.

 

Then a very dear relative invited me to her wedding … and her father notified me that the attendance to this wedding could not be with a partner at the time because of us being gay. I promptly sent her a message to convey to her father that I forgive him in the name of Jesus … a language that he was supposed to understand. I did not attend the ceremony. A few years later this beautiful young woman suddenly died of an anorism and I did not attend her funeral because of the persistent prejudice of her father. For example, he sent me a letter explaining his insight under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that being gay is against the Word of God.

 

This infamous rhetoric of threats and brimstone future for gays have been ringing in my mind since childhood. I vividly remember the deep, clear, sombre voice of the reverent, echoing through the gracious building of the Dutch Reformed Church in Kimberly …” I look upon the mountains … where shall my help come from … my help is from God the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth” …. The same message of solace often intermingled with clear warnings of hell-fire to gays and other sexually ”deviant” people.

SADLY THE bride OF CHRIST … AND HER UNLAWFUL LOVER

Using the metaphor of the Armour of God this hateful rejection and condemnation of others was addressed through the sculpture group named “The bride of Christ and her unlawful lover” … with the aim of giving a wake-up call to fundamentalist Christians, especially the leaders who are respected and trusted by their followers but who lure them into a web of hatred. A significant group amongst these leaders call themselves Theologians … “Theo” derived from the word ”god”, and ”logos” from the word ”study”. They even become professors of Theology, each with their own kingdoms of intellectual noise, claiming a superior knowledge of God. The word Theologian represents a ridiculous heresy … Creator, God, the Universe, Light … can never be grasped, can never be limited by means of human concepts and theories.

 

This sculpture group was created as a frank diagnosis of, but also a plea to a very large group of Christians who attempt to push Jesus away.

 

SELFMADE god: THE bride OF CHRIST

270 X 170 X 420 mm

 

Polyester resin, artists’ oil paint, steel, white marble pebbles

 

The first sculpture representing “The bride of Christ ”is a stout “Voortrekker” (Settler) Aunty standing on a white washed grave, her feet sunken into the netherworld. Words from an old Voortrekker hymn are carved into the gravestone:” Uit dieptes gans verlore” (“From the depths of being completely lost”).

On closer inspection it is obvious she has no eyes (no life) … her chin is slightly tilted up and her mouth corners have a definite down curve … snobism.

 

She is suffocating the Bible under her right armpit while holding firmly onto the tail of a snake.

… that, deeper down, inside the grave, is entangled with the reality of the Aunty’s non-being: a skeleton of old dry, lifeless bones.

 

I used Paul’s metaphor of the ARMOUR OF GOD, to convey an urgent plea

Return to your first Love. Sack your self-created ruler of darkness who changes your HELMET OF SALVATION into a phallic bonnet which masquerades your spiritual blindness . Obsession with the “sinfulness” of “dykes” and “fairies” makes you rebuff God for wanting to redeem all people, everywhere.

Gird yourself with the TRUTH OF CHRIST. Cast off your malevolent belt of darkness with which you perpetually lash “that way”, the belt with which you strangle the Bible to institute a programme of disinformation about … “three letter men” and “fruitcakes” as subhuman spoils, unworthy of God’s kingdom.

The BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS does not suit your bloated bosom of dogmatic indecency against “letties” and “butt pirates”. You try to make them feel unworthy. They too are capable soldiers confidently wearing the worthiness of Jesus. They too enter the battle in what Jesus had done for al.l

Hiding your feet under grave stones of blatant political, social and emotional war against ”queers“ and “she-dogs” makes you morally stagnant. Rather shod those feet with the GOSPEL OF PEACE, the bequest of Jesus to all who trust in Him.

Instead of holding the SHIELD OF FAITH, you clench a self-constructed, poisonous tail of victimization,  intimidation and domination of the “bent”, the “tickle your fancies” and “carpet munchers” … suffocating yourself into a lifeless skeleton unable to ward off the slithering, fiery arrows of ego-inspired, foul tactics and strategies.

Your bloodstained dagger of verbal attacks: “faggots”, “brownies” and “arse bandits”, “fudge packers”, “pansies”, “pillow biters” and “queens” … exchange it with the SWORD OF THE TRUTH.  Rather speak the words of Jesus.

Impaling your orifice with a pole of megalomania to stiffen your body into hubris (arrogance against God), sneaking onto a place that is not yours (the bench of judgement), you exclaim: “I am God”.

 

Leave this place of whitewashed stones that cover the skeleton of your shame. Abandon your charade of being alive, follow Jesus as he invited 2 000 years ago. LOVE THE CREATOR with all your heart, soul and mind, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR as yourself.

UGLIFIED god: INVERSE ANUSISM

550 X 200 X 520mm

 

Polyester Resin, astists’ oil paint, steel, handpainted eyes, original teeth of a stumpnose fish, steelwool

 

This is what a very large component of institutional Christianity does to Jesus … their prejudice changes him into a beast who is the unlawful lover of the Bride.

Although this horrible being is wearing a coat patterned with all the abused, so-called anti-gay verses in the Bible, he is oblivious to the fact that his shirt collar is strangling him with a truth about his own, warped perceptions. For example: “Bonking is bakgat (good-/cool) as long as it is straight”.

Because of lacking moral-personal hygiene, his skin is swamped with black heads. Here and there a dark brown tick is relishing his beastly blood. A few penis warts started to grow on his head

His teeth were salvaged from the carcass of a stumped nose fish.

He is crowned with a halo of razor wire

… and a life cast anus lures inside his mouth.

INVERSE ANUSISM:

Second hand hermeneutic (the art of interpretation) banalities and fixations

with mistranslations of Bible verses,

not on camp homo sapiens (but on temple prostitution)…

in tandem with arrogant, razor blade devoutness

and suspect moral stoutness …

changes the natural functioning of the digestive tract

into a condition of inverse anusism:

The anus digests the body until only itself remains.

SEX OBSESSED god

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO STATE THAT THERE CERTAINLY ARE (IF NOT THE MAJORITY) MEMBERS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH WHO ARE, REAL, LOVING AND NON-JUDGEMENTAL. THIS SCULPTURE IS NOT DEDICATED TO THEM, BUT SPECIFICALLY TO A GROUP OF LEADERS AND ACADEMICS. ONE OF MY BIOLOGICAL FAMILY MEMBERS IS THE EPITOME OF LOVE, TOLERANCE AND HOLINESS AND OFTEN REMINDS ME OF WHO JESUS IS. The level of crudeness and obscenity as depicted in and through this sculpture matches the obscenity, crudeness, moral arrogance and evil in some sectors of Christian religion.

They are worthy of being referred to as “cunts”… a profane, extremely degrading term for the vagina … vulgar slang and the most offensive word in the English language … an example of one of the most hateful and powerful examples of verbal abuse.

I dislike this obnoxious, contemptible group of leaders, theologians and individuals because they worm themselves into the intimacy of the biological family and cancer perceptions about sexuality, amongst others, that being gay is a sin. They manage to break up the family, splitting it into those who go to heaven and those who go to hell.

Instead of preaching and practicing LOVE, they cause tremendous, permanent suffering in intimate family relationships between brother and brother, sister and brother and parents and children … all for the sake of control over people’s minds and money … and to persistently write their own ego stories of unfulfillment.

I did not plan to ever publish pictures of this “creation” because of the possibility that it will shock and antagonize. However, after our family had to say good bye to my Mom, old scars linked to prejudices conditioned by the denomination of which I previously was a member, almost started bleeding again. Children who have not seen one another as a result of moral-religious condemnation of my being gay … this brought strain to primary relationships that can never be repaired. This sculpture is dedicated to the institution that brought havoc into a family. I am not angry anymore, but I want to say this in conclusion, to those who persistently uphold this denomination and who stubbornly cling to their intention to kill: you are what you can see in this sculpture.

This sculpture was exhibited in the art gallery of the castle, but always covered with a velvet cloth, in case it antagonizes someone. It was only on request that the cloth was removed. All who then saw it burst out laughing. Some naïve gay men expressed surprise at the various hair styles and they had to be told that the sculptures were merely decorated with wig parts and did not represent reality! Two guests from the United States even recognized a previous president in this sculpture! However, once a large group of affluent people visited. One of them had removed the cloth (laughing about the sculpture) and forgot to put it back. Another guest then saw it and insisted towards a member of staff to stop what he was busy with (running around serving people) so that he could listen to the guest expressing his disgust. Another member of this group said that, had he known about this sculpture, he would never have visited. At the time my daughter asked him to stand in my shoes and see what I had to go through to have gone so far and publish such a sculpture. But he was adamant and left without a smile

god OF PREJUDICE: SCROTUM TOTEM

600 X 600 X 600 mm

 

Acrylic resin, artist oil paint, silver leaf, paint brush hair, taxidermy eyes

 

A totem is a revered emblem or symbol which is a reminder of the existence of something else like ancestry. Scrotum Totem represents prejudice … a preconceived judgement or opinion, an irrational attitude of hostility that connotes a feeling rooted in suspicion, fear, or intolerance … the dangerous trait of humanity that causes much pain and suffering.

The idea for creating this sculpture was sparked by the scrotum-lookalike air sack hanging under a ground hornbill’s large beak, in front of the neck …

and to exacerbate this image several life cast copies from human beings’ scrotums were added onto its shoulders and elbows …adding severity by replacing its armpits with life cast anuses

… and adding another penis behind its back.

Utimate malevolence, also subliminal sexual connotation, is depicted by the puffadder wound around its waist.

 

To complete the image of repulsion some polyester resin faeces were placed around the sitting figure.

 

In contrast to the above, the figure is sitting in a lotus position as if in a meditative, spiritually aloof, devout, saint-like position … denoting hypocrisy.

 

SCROTUM TOTEM

Emblem of kinship

in

obscenities

vulgarities

smut and vile

impurities,

indecencies

filth and foul …

easy to expose

in

others

scary to concede

in

self

CANNIBAL god

1100 X 800 X 2000 mm

 

Acrylic resin, artists’ oil paint, silicon rubber, silicon rubber paint, glass diamond, Christmas decorations

 

This sculpture group is a fragment ….  one perspective. I accept that people who fit this description can in other aspects of their lives be worthy, for example, being a good, loving mother or father, or helping the poor. Or in a couple of years they may change their outlook and see life in a more tolerant, loving way.

 

There are millions of Christians, if not the great majority, who are gentle, honest, passionate, compassionate followers of Jesus. They knowingly or unknowingly submit to the authority of villains who perpetually attempt to control their souls, minds and lives to feed their own egos. These villains arm themselves with titles, degrees, they even become professors of Theology. They become specialists in knowledge about God!!! And yet the smallest, simplest of children who live a life of love, is closer to God. If Jesus was on earth today in human form, he certainly would have great trouble to keep showing the way to a recalcitrant group of self-appointed advisors who collude to overrule him when his ways are against theirs. Jesus does not figure prominently in their CV’s and their ego stories because he is not enough to feed their self-seeking souls.

 

The life size, realistic sculpture of a smiling Jesus with arms wide open depicts a joyous invitation. However, self-righteous humans then made Jesus a mere religion instead of following him on a journey towards union with God. This brought about a religion where the fruitless search is for God through feeding an unfulfilled, insecure self with excessive accumulation of things, power, control, arrogance, envy, bigotry, murder and sex obsession.

This religion is embodied as follows:

A human body invaded from within, by a praying mantis … forcing its head through the human’s neck area … one leg pushing through on the right hip, causing blooded wounds that eventually terminate life. The common name is Praying Mantis, but the scientific name, mantis religiose, is apt in the case of this sculpture. Mantis derives from the Greek word which literally means diviner or prophet. A praying mantis is a formidable predator, a large green insect that feeds on other insects and clasps its prey in the forelimbs as if in prayer. This insect lies in ambush or patiently stalks its quarry. It uses the front legs to snare its prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye.

 

Sometimes, after copulation, the female kills and eats the male … a phenomenon called sexual cannibalism. In the case of ”Cannibal god” the praying mantis is changed into a Preying Mantis … a religious prophet preying on others in the guise of praying … a matter of religious cannibalism … praying (saying “please”, “hoping for something” or “speaking to express love, admiration or thanks”) …  then changes to preying.

 

From the accounts of members of other faiths it appears that “CANNIBAL god” is running wild allover … and that it is not linked to the Creator God, but rather a universal human egoic illness.

One hand stretched out, offering a diamond. The other hand hidden behind its back, clinching a knife. A diamond is a symbol of Jesus … of light. The ”prophet” offers light, ostensibly benevolently. As soon as the prey accepts the light in good faith, the ”prophet” goes for the killing.

Gigantic genitals. A symbol of obsession with sex, persecuting those with differing life styles and viewpoints, but at the same time also sexual envy that masquerades own unfulfilled sexual needs and sexuality. A symbol of obsession with power, to control other’s perceptions, way of living, emotional life, feeding on the lives of their followers. They build religious empires around themselves to feed their hungry egos, to entrench the unfulfilled search for self, creating suffering for themselves and others.

 

Following is a Youtube link to a parody ”music video” using the Jesus and Cannibal god sculptures as inspiration … A parody in memory of all who perished under the horror of religious persecution.

(Click here to watch a short parody: Cantus Mantis)

JOKER god OF SEX

360 X 330 X 590 mm

 

Polyfoam, hand painted eyes, artists’ oil paint, paint brush hair, Christmas decorations

 

Having ventilated stale air towards institutional Christianity does not imply that the object of their prejudice (gay men) is an innocent, gentle lamb. In fact, they too struggle with a self-created joker god of sex obsession. Furthermore, it appears that this is a phenomenon linked to men in general … and also to females (all sexual preferences) … it is a common human condition, irrespective of faith. This god is another facet of a universal egoic illness which eventually leads to destruction.

 

 

JOKER god

 

Many a gay man’s

self-proclaimed

valid aim

of lustful living:

Only one’s own happiness and pleasure

through

unbridled, uncontrolled,

excessive  interest

in sexual desire …

MONEY god

420X 340 X 690 mm

 

Acrylic resin, artists’ oil paint, crocodile taxidermy eyes, money coins, glass bottle, steel cable snares, tin shackles and iron chains, dog’s skull, antelope’s horns

 

CANNIBAL god is but a mere relative of MONEY god. This MONEY monster merely aborts another hissing creature and vice versa. Check the printed and electronic media to “see” the god of MONEY’s perpetual blurting out this song of greed:

Allow me,

the mighty

god of money,

to

curse

with inflaming,

insatiable hunger…

to

devour

God’s beauty

and splendour.

For my sake

I’ll burden

with

ravenous crave,

a selfishness

to

pollute

and destroy.

I pray this

in

the name of

the fake,

the savage

and

the holy profit.

AH MONEY

The idea of creating this sculpture came when I stumbled across the remains of a small antelope (duiker). Hooves, intestines, some bones and the skin were in a plastic bag and someone dumped it in the veld … obviously the sickening fruit of snaring. The womb still contained a complete fetus of a minute male.

 

I made a mould of this fetus and created a monster grabbing, killing the fetus : the vulnerability of new life. This monster epitomizes the sad plight of Nature at large … a most beautiful, biodiverse ecosystem that is dying a slow death because of the greedy pursuit of riches as manifested in illegal snaring, removal of indigenous plants, perpetual scorching of the total natural veld all around commercial forests, to protect investments  … and arson, mainly due to the god of ALCOHOL ABUSE.

In line with a callous attitude, the “crown” is a Staffie’s skull. Someone dumped the carcass on the banks of the Braamfontein Spruit, Johannesburg … sad plight for a once loyal dog and friend. A friend gave me the Reedbuck horns. I added it (in reverse) to give the sculpture an inkling of poisonous tentacles. The necklace consists of numerous snares used to kill numerous animals, including domestic dogs that are neglected and as a result, trying to survive by hunting wild animals and then falling prey to snares … a horrible, painful death awaiting.

This monster binges after money that is of no use at all, spiritually speaking … epitomized by the useless coins all over this sculpture.

The obsessive devotion towards money has a serious comeback. Egoic minds bowing before money eventually kneel down to venerate other self-created gods: drugs and alcohol. It becomes a self- destructive quest. (reference: the bottle of liquor in one of the claws).

The hand painted crocodile eyes add to the theme of a silent reptilian killer. The face of this monster resembles that of a South African president, an icon of mammonism, together with likeminded cohorts of democratized State Capture. Note the self-inflicting chains and shackles.

DIVINE SPARK

 

1000 X 700 X 100mm

 

Acrylic resin, artists’ oil paint, wood base

 

The last sculpture in this group was created first, but only many years later the realization dawned that it represents the completion of a journey recorded in the preceding sculptures. It opened a portal allowing an awareness that there is indeed freedom from transient things … thoughts, possessions and situations. Criticizing/judging people’s relationship with religion, money, sex and power represents prejudice in itself … it represents a partial and temporary truth which in itself is prejudicial … emotional noise which does not bring lasting peace.

 

Unique Creation (a human nipple magnified 14 times) depicts a celestial body, somewhere in the macro cosmos of humanity, it celebrates the wonderful, special, holy uniqueness of each human being.

An inimitable, complex system of foothills, craters and valleys surround the main peak. A closer look at the foothills reveal endless cascades of more foothills and more valleys with vast detail of inter-functional micro-topography: an overwhelming majestic landscape, frightfully wonderful, designed and created with the same completeness and detailed thoroughness as the gigantic galaxies of stars. Not only has each human being distinctive fingerprints … each miniscule part of the body is the only one of its kind.

A myriad of similar uniqueness is visible all around the nipple planet … they represent the cosmos of humanity since the beginning of time.

 

Through wealth, political power, social status, racial identity, academic and intellectual achievements people are often tempted to confuse their wonderful, special and holy uniqueness with selfist eminence, notability, importance and influence. It is sobering to realize that, compared to the rest of creation a human being is but an insignificant particle of a speck. About 80% of a human being consists of water and 20% of, amongst others, calcium, phosphate, natrium, zinc, copper, cobalt, selenium and vanadium. In a human being weighing 70 kilograms the above-mentioned proportion will be 56 (140 litres or 7 X 20 litre water buckets) and 14 (7 clay bricks) kilogram. To compare, for example, the 140 litres with the volume of the sea (100 thousand million billion litres: 100 000 000 000 000) goes beyond human comprehension, it is like comparing the volume of a miniscule splinter grain of sand with the volume of the Drakensberg range mountains.

 

Although in human terms the earth is massive, it will take 1 387 earths to fill the volume of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. However, compared to the sun, Jupiter’s volume is humbled: 952 of them will fit into the sun. But then the sun is only a medium sized star. 11 942 275 suns fit into the giant star called Antares.

 

Through an ordinary telescope the M16 or Eagle Nebula (a cosmic womb where new stars are born) in the constellation of Serpens looks like a feint bunch of stars. Through the Hubble telescope massive dust and gas pillars are visible, some up to 4 730 000 000 000 kilometers in length. A string of 14 471 Antares stars will fit into this length. Imagine the earth as a grain of sand with a diameter of 2mm and a string of these grains stretching over a distance of 70km (eg. From Johannesburg to Pretoria and about 20 km beyond towards Warmbaths/BelaBela).

 

Furthermore, the sun is one of 300 000 million stars which form the galaxy named Milky Way. There are billions and billions of galaxies, each with thousands of millions of stars and thousands of millions of planets.

 

In the light of the above, how “on earth” can one, through human achievements, justify and explain the eminence of a unique, special, wonderful human being who is but a short-lived flower, a breath, a passing shadow?