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Susanna Swart: creating liberation through art

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There is a great sense of freedom and healing when encountering the art of Susanna Swart. InBound SA’s Temo Mpodi spoke to her about the inspiration behind her incredible artworks.

1. What is the inspiration behind your work?

My sculpture is grounded in the African landscape and out of rock, stone, driftwood, tree and plant inspiration they grow and become entities in their own right.  If the viewer can find some form of visual healing in the beauty of the form when they look at my work and a sense of peace, I have fulfilled my calling as an artist.

2. When did you find yourself sinking deep in this craft?

I have expressed myself from a very young age with clay and later on woodcarving, and as time passed, I just knew I wanted to become a sculptor. I studied BA Fine Art at UP and later went overseas to get a technical diploma in bronze casting and exposure to working in many different metals.

3. When you are behind every artwork that you create, does your soul drive the creativity more than your hands?

The soul must at all times drive the spark in the creative process. At some point, the ability to control and understand your medium- in my case bronze and stainless steel- becomes equally as important as the soul, talent and technical know-how.

4. Your pieces speak freedom and liberation when I look at them.

Yes, you are correct. They portray a sense of the transcendental, feelings of metaphysical forms that meet you in your dreams. The soul can go any place and is not bound by this realm. I try to grasp a moment in between breaths and fuse it into a 3D form. 

5. Can you elaborate?

I first model my idea in wax and from there, it goes through a 5-week process to cast it in bronze. Once the bronze piece comes back, I start making stainless steel rods around the bronze by heating it to red hot and hammering and welding it together to fuse with the bronze. From then on, I decide where I need sheet metal to incorporate into the piece and that gets plasma cut and manipulated through heat treatment and hammering to integrate with the piece to get to a final result.

6. Have you ever thought about proposing one of your pieces for Awards collaborations?

I have designed and made many awards over the years. I design mainly for the Creative Arts industry like the ATKV Media Awards and US Woordfees, Net Music Awards. I am willing to collaborate in making awards with different organisations.

7. What does the future look like for your craft?

It is a tough industry and one must have more than just talent to survive. You need to be able to think out of the box and come up with new ideas all the time. The days when only galleries sold art for an artist to survive no longer exist. I mainly do commissioned work for individual clients. IB

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