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The artwork for the Sandown station in the rapidly developing West Coast suburbs was inspired by a species of Euphorbiaceae bush, commonly known as Melkbos or milk bush, which is found all along the Cape coast.

Artist Janet Botes says that although the design was originally conceived for Melkbosstrand station “it is still so relevant because you'll find the plant from Blouberg all the way up to the border of the Northern Cape”.

In the Melkbos plant the artist finds not only a connection to the natural heritage surrounding the site, but also to a profound cultural heritage. Integrated into the work are images from Bushman paintings, because the sap of the plant was used by the San as poison on their arrow tips. “What I was inspired by was the west coast and, of course, going up into the north towards the Kalahari and the Northern Cape, where they originally came from. So it is their heritage and our heritage.”

In keeping with these geographical, botanical and cultural references, the work has a feeling of vast space and timelessness.

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About the Artist

Janet Botes is a mixed media artist currently based in Woodstock in Cape Town. In her work she is intensely concerned with environmental issues and how human beings relate to nature.

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Cape Town
17 September 2019