A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

miscellaneous news
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE AFRICAN BONSAI COLLECTION (article first published : 2001-12-24)

Occasionally a reviewer gets given a book that is not only a delight to read and enjoy but also a pure pleasure to write about and unreservedly urge its purchase. Hilarious and cleverly-written, The African Bonsai Collection features a wondrous array of bonsai “trees”, each individually titled and accompanied by its own Latin “botanical” name. It’s a must from a literary, craft or visual arts viewpoint and has a wide general appeal.

From an early age, author Jann Bader was interested in the process of creating clever images. Despite failing matric – as he says, “with a spectacular lack of achievement in English” - he went on to work with leading advertising companies, become an award-winning creative director, build a game lodge in Kruger Park and then quit advertising to run it. He is the founder of e’location Art, a company dedicated to the promotion of primarily African creative ideas such as The African Bonsai Collection. He has dedicated his book to “all South Africans and, indeed, all citizens of earth who regard a sense of humour as one of life’s most precious assets.”

Tongue firmly locked into cheek, Jann Bader affirms that Africa bonsai trees require no additional feeding, absolutely no watering and just a simple annual spraying with an anti-rust agent. This offers the reader a clue of what’s in store with this utterly delightful and enjoyable send-up of bonsai tree culture, a collection of skilfully created wire crafted trees that has taken him two years to produce.

Jann Bader takes the mickey out of every conceivable subject from money-grabbing politicians The Money Tree (debtus solvii), drunk drivers in The Chameleon Tree (nowyousee it nowyoudontus) or wild life photographers The Silhouette Tree (sunsetus kodakii) to a popular cordial The African Lime Tree (coralus rossus).

There’s a tribute to Nelson Mandela The Madiba Tree (mandelas maximus) which is hung with wisdom pearls, a nod at sexual temptation with The Original Sin Tree (dangerosa lewinskii) and the delightful The Babybab Tree (giantus smalli). There’s also The Rainbow Tree (dreamii tutu), The House Tree (shackus domesticus) or The Township Tree (shopritus splendida).

The most brilliant creation is The Main Oke Tree (mucho macho) which pays tribute to the Harley Davidson motorbike and the most beautiful – despite its rather garish pot – is the delicate The Fresh Fish Tree (sushi maximus). A very clever one is The Port Elizabeth Shade Tree (windis spectaculosa) which alludes to the strong winds in this area which sees most of the trees on the coastal area bend at right angles.

The photographs were taken by well-known Johannesburg-based commercial photographer Bev Anthony. The trees have been exhibited at Hyde Park Corner Shopping Centre and in Pretoria at Brooklyn Mall. They will be on show at Norscott Manor in Johannesburg from January 8 to 24.

If a reprint is required – and I’m sure it will be – it would be advisable to incorporate stronger stitching. After only three readers in my own experience, the pages are beginning to come adrift. This is a problem because the book is the kind one should keep on hand to occasionally quote from and dip into from time to time. Published by Spearhead, the book retails at R143 – a bargain at the price. – Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart