Blowing in the wind

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Coloured prayers, Stellenbosch. Art by Jacques Coetzer. Photo Nadia Krige

There is something arrestingly beautiful about the oh-so-domestic scene of clothes hung out to dry. Whether fluttering ever so slightly in the breeze or whipping about madly in the wind, the colourful dance always draws my eye, forcing me to stop for just a moment to appreciate the magical marriage of the mundane and the magnificent.

In fact, I often step back and appreciate the unassuming work of my hands after draping a freshly washed batch of laundry over the clothes horse or pegging it to the line. A silly, self-indulgent little act I’ve always considered to be something of a private pleasure, shared by few… or none.

However, a recent stroll through one of Stellenbosch’s uptown ‘stegies’ proved me wrong.

There above us – somewhere between Kauaii, the entrance to the beauty school and the flower sellers by the Spur – various lines laden with colourful clothing were strung out between the buildings.

In this part of town it was quite obviously NOT a sign of urban domestic sprawl, but in fact, turned out to be a piece of installation art called “Coloured Prayers” by one Jacques Coetzer.

Part of the description on a nearby plaque reads: “Merrily blown about, these strings of brightly-coloured clothing connect people and landscape, and make the ordinary and intimate public. Clothes lines, like prayer flags, can be imagined to send out personal messages on the wind.”

All the clothes forming part of the display were once worn by people of Cloetesville, just outside Stellenbosch.

Check it out, and read more about it here.

Coloured prayers, Stellenbosch. Art by Jacques Coetzer. Photo Nadia Krige

Coloured prayers, Stellenbosch. Art by Jacques Coetzer. Photo Nadia Krige

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