Lisl Barry, fine artist based in Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo, Western Cape - South Africa Lisl Barry, artist and author based in Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo, Western Cape - South Africa
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Shades in the Shadows

I began observing shadows more closely.

Within dappled shadows there are subtle

layers, and shades of light and dark.

They dance a delicate dance that almost

makes them seem alive.










In ancient mythology a Shade refers to the spirit or

ghost of a deceased person who resides in the

Underworld where the dead live in shadow.


For the purposes of the Shade in the Shadow

works I altered this meaning to refer to the wild

animals that were once naturally abundant in this

region but are no longer.


Apart from a few exceptions, all that remains of these

animals are their names bestowed upon farms, rivers

or other geological landmarks.


The animal Shades are juxtaposed with the shadows

of the present, or subtle whispers within them.










This exhibition pays my respects to the wildlife of the

Karoo (where I live in South Africa) and homage to those

who work with tireless dedication to conserve our natural

heritage and to those who have done something towards

making a difference.


My hope is that it shall ignite the thought that all of

us in our daily lives, continue to impact upon our

natural environment. Often far beyond where we live.

And we too can do something about it.




To follow I share my thoughts behind some of the pieces ...








Free Spirits (oil on canvas, 1100x700mm)




"Children climb and swing upon tree boughs in Karoo

towns where leopards once took their refuge.

Due to its stealth and adaptability the Cape Leopard has

thankfully been able to survive in the mountain refuges

of the Klein Karoo. Through awareness raising by

dedicated conservationists, farming methods have been

adapted to further conserve them."










It’s a Sign (oil on canvas, 1100x700mm)



"Olifantsrivier - (Afrikaans) Elephant River

Buffelsdrift - (Afrikaans) Buffalo Drift

Gamka+berg - (Khoisan) Lion + (Afrikaans) Mountain

Displaced by herds of people."










Shades of the Olifants (oil on canvas, 1100x700mm)



"For generations locals have washed their clothes with

water from the Olifantsrivier (Elephant River). Now one

is dependant on a chance direction of the breeze for us

to spot the elephants’ shapes and shades upon our

washing lines in the valley."









Ass-pirations (oil on canvas, 1100x700mm)



After living for over two decades on a nature reserve that

was created for the preservation of Cape Mountain Zebra

populations, it's likely no wonder that the next few pieces

contain one of my favourite subject matter (although this one it

is only alluded to) : the zebra. If you read the title of this

piece my thoughts should be self explanatory!












Zebra Crossing (oil on canvas, 1100x1400mm)



"In South Africa pedestrian crossings are, for obvious

reasons called zebra crossings. In the light of conservation

efforts I loved the pun (visual and otherwise).

It should be noted however that, although one is

supposed to, not all motorists stop at zebra crossings

for pedestrians here. And nor do pedestrians only cross

at these safe road crossings."










Running Wild (oil on canvas, 1100x1400mm)




"In this piece, like the previous one there is again a visual

play on the 'zebra crossing' theme. The zebra this time

are a metaphor for nature in its entirety. Of which we are

of course a part.


Are we running with them or over them?"







Up Against the Wall (oil on canvas, 1100x1400mm)



"Black Rhino were once upon a time also naturally present

in the Karoo. Presently, it seems, that no matter how these

creatures are protected, rhino and elephant will continue to

be poached while there is a demand for their horn and tusks.


As ordinary consumers our boycotting of products that

have an impact on the environment would force corporations

to alter their approach and their products’ contents.


Pesticides. Palm oil. Single-use plastic.


The list goes on when you begin to scratch the surface.

Being mindful of our lifestyle and what we purchase, and

getting your objections heard will make us part of a

meaningful change. It is in our consumer power."