African Windows frame the continent
In the small Karoo town of Calvinia there is a rambling house with a garden that sprawls over an entire block. Having lived for so many years in sparsely populated Namibia, Corne and Jorg Genzmer crave space.
Each frame is adorned with fastened or free-hanging beads, cowrie shells, Makalani vegetable ivory, Nguni horns or engraved copper.
Jorg is originally from Germany, but the moment he set foot in Africa, he fell in love with the land, and later with Corne, who also shares his fascination for the continent.
They have both spent a life in the creative arts as illustrators, graphic designers and photographers. They were both involved in advertising agencies in Johannesburg, but now they follow their passion, which is to slowly and carefully craft the most beautiful 'African windows'.
Technically, it would be correct to say these African Windows are frames. But actually they are far more than that – they are works of art, some of them standing as tall as a man.
It takes months of painstaking work to fashion only one. Jorg does the conceptualising and the carving of the designs.
He draws inspiration from tribes, cultures and places all over Africa – Himba, Ndebele, the Maasai, Venda, Dogon and even the patterns favoured by the Nuna tribe of Burkina Faso.
Once he is done, it is ready for the detail work. This is where Corne’s design talents and immense patience come to the fore.
Each frame is adorned with fastened or free-hanging beads, cowrie shells, Makalani vegetable ivory, Nguni horns or engraved copper. Every one is a visual and textural feast.
Day after day, she and Jorg work side by side. In winter they work near the fire, their dogs and cats scattered blissfully about. In the Karoo summer, the fan is indispensable.
Once finished, the African Windows are carefully packaged for the trip overseas. Most of them end up in European homes.
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Category: Arts & Entertainment