Some things change and others stay the same……………..
I was recently asked to go judge Images, at the photographic Society in my hometown of Worcester in the Western Cape South Africa.
While driving I was reminiscing about my journey and photography and would have never thought I would have come this far, let alone come back to my hometown where it all begun to judge the exact thing that ignites my soul.
I have often thought about the Hugo Naude Art School I attended, and all the fond memories there. While Driving I thought I wonder what it would be like to go back there. I decided to give them a call. The receptionist was very friendly and inviting and told me I am more than welcome to come have a walk around if I wanted. I must admit I was quite nervous, I have often found that some memories are best remembered the way they are. I also don’t like change.
I pulled up in front of the Art school, this being 19 years later, thinking about walking from our High School about 250m away to the Art School along the sidewalk under the “Lucky bean trees” (Coral Trees, Erythrina).
One thing that changed for sure was the security gate and permission to enter, where we had complete freedom. I stood outside for a while before entering. I stood outside for a while just remembering moments when a thought came to mind about what a great acknowledgement it would be to do a blog about what role this school played in my journey.
I remember the day I was told in St.8 that I was no longer able to keep Art as a subject as it did not fall in my choices along with my other subjects I was devastated. I remember people telling me that Art would anyway not bring in money and probably for the best.
In hindsight this is true in some way, I may not be financially free, but I have a sense of peace and self-satisfaction. I spent my time in the corporate world, in Human Resource and Finance, and completed my studies in both fields, before embarking on the route, of expression and self-discovery.
I spoke to the secretary for a while who I vaguely remember too, she then called the Photographic teacher that started the year I left, and he took me upstairs to what was the most touching and eye-opening moment in a long time.
We chatted he introduced me to his students, and then took me into the Darkroom!!! Omw the memories… I decided to capture my journey through the Art Centre. He then led me to my original classroom… and then, my heart sank, was not sure I even wanted to look. Thinking about how times changes and how the quality of equipment has changed and all have been exchanged for plastic etc… BUT guess what, it was all the same….
The same tables, the same chairs, the same décor, even the same pencil sharpener!! The tables were layered with paint from all the years of use, and that really gripped me! Years and Years of memories, all on one canvas without anyone even noticing. The journey through the ages, a platform for many to start their artistic journey’s or even finding their unique abilities to express themselves through the medium they choose….
I spoke to Mr Ellmann who has been with the Art School for as long as I can remember and had the privilege to work with, in 2017 during an old school pupil’s exhibition I was part of, in Cape Town. I took more images and was just so pleased that nothing changed at all, except that I was no longer the student but looking in from the outside. He asked me if I remember much and I did. I often refer or tell the story when I am presenting about my 1st Image a Pinhole image taken in a Ricoffy Tin, and developed in the school’s darkroom, I even remember it was of one of the trees in the courtyard. I remember bringing a white shirt and dripping wax all over it, and dying it and ironing out the wax to make patterns in it. I remember walking downtown to go and draw the Cape Dutch houses and architecture that forms part of the towns rich history, among so other activities.
Never once did I think this would be the foundation of my journey and that I would be standing here 19 years later looking back on all of this, with these fond memories. I was not only thankful, for the encouragement. development and memories but also to the school for keeping everything the same, sometimes it’s not necessary to change or break what is not broken.
I would like to encourage past students to embark on this same journey by visiting the Hugo Naude Art School, it really does delft into the past in a very humble way, and even support the new art shop, I bought a roll of film from them. The School itself rich with history carries a piece of each student that ever attended the school and that has been beautifully preserved for generations to come.