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First feature documentary about land art from the southern hemisphere to be released early 2022 Article Image

First feature documentary about land art from the southern hemisphere to be released early 2022

Posted on 30 November 2021

Cape Town-based CineSouth Studios revealed the first preview of its upcoming documentary feature film Sculpting This Earth with the release of a one-minute teaser trailer. Shot over a twelve-month period in a striking range of beautifully cinematic natural settings in southern Africa, the film showcases the work of land artist Strijdom van der Merwe.

Land art - involving the making of artworks in nature using mostly natural materials found on the site - has been around since the 1960s. Pioneered mainly in north America and Britain, it is today practised around the world. "To date, worldwide, even though land art has been in existence for more than half a century, only a handful of documentary feature films have been made about it, all of these dealing with the work of artists in the northern hemisphere," said Victor van Aswegen, CineSouth Studios CEO and director of Sculpting This Earth

Strijdom van der Merwe is prolific internationally, having made land art works on invitation in more than twenty countries, as diverse and far apart as Australia, Japan, Lithuania, Switzerland, Finland, Malta, Kenya, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United States. The title of the film references two books of images of his works, Sculpting the Land (published 2005) and Sculpting the Earth (2011). An aspect of the meaning of "this earth" in the film title is this southern African earth, as Strijdom makes land art internationally but the film shows him at work in the part of the world where he lives, where he is rooted, to which he has particular personal, emotional and artistic connections - and which also happens to be a land rich in ancient markings in the landscape left by its early human inhabitants.

The film shows Strijdom at work over four consecutive seasons, making land art works in remote and unspoilt settings in the vast open spaces of the southern African interior, using sticks, stones, leaves, rocks, grass, feathers, bamboo, water, and at times nothing more than the soil, sand and small stones on the ground - the earth itself.

"What we are offering viewers, with a film set entirely outdoors and far away from the built environment, is a sense of reconnection to nature and the natural world at a time when many people globally feel cut off from nature, and there is a widespread and growing realisation that the natural world is under threat and in many places in rapid and terminal decline. And the art, made of materials known to people everywhere from their daily lives and surroundings, speaks a deeply universal human language, transcending all boundaries of country and culture, moving people with meaning and emotion, regardless of where they are on the planet," added Van Aswegen.

Shooting on Sculpting This Earth will complete in December 2021, and the film is scheduled for international release in early 2022. For more information, visit the Sculpting This Earth official site.

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