Circle of Knowledge 2000

Willem Boshoff was commissioned by RAU to complete eleven granite 'denkstene' to celebrate the start of the new millennium. Entitled 'Kring van kennis' (Circle of Knowledge), these stones were adapted from the Stone Age to be discussed by the visitors in the new epoch.

Willem Boshoff is well known for this innovative work that has been planned thoroughly. He uses predominantly text and language as an art medium, with other materials to support a selected linguistic game or form of expression.

His work is deeply involved in relationships and social interaction, About this he says: "My work is generally focused on bringing about conversation, especially between social groups that do not communicate with each other easily or often.

The work serves as a type of ice-breaker and becomes a forum of common interest. I work with Braille, for instance, to promote relations between the sighted and the blind, but I also use sculptured forms to strengthen the process. Otherwise I use the verbal tradition of the indigenous groups of South Africa within the structure of a Western writing idiom with the resultant social interaction."

In the last few years, Boshoff has tried particularly to identify where the early history overlaps with Southern African history - the common points of departure.

It appears that the prehistoric times of both Europe and South Africa were dependant on circular symbolism, he says.Natural cyles, such as the seasons, the equinoxes and the repeated waning of the moon are reflected in enduring prehidtoric structures and meeting places. In both prehistoric times, the emphasis was on the spiritual trance as a beacon of social stability. The conspicuous design reflected by this trance existence in rock-engravings in both Southern African and Europe is the circle, filled in with concentric, spiral or radial patterns.

"Just as there were unconsciously strong similarities between Western and African societies in prehistoric times, we are currently experiencing a time of appropriate and conscious similarities. Joint progress is then also the result of such shared interests and skills."