Anna van der Ploeg

  • 'Becoming all direction I', 2015, 3 colour lithograph on Fabriano Rosaspina, 100 x 71cm
  • 'Dependence II', 2015, 3 colour lithograph and oil painting on Fabriano Rosaspina, 100 x 71cm
  • 'Standing while others sit II', 2015, 3 colour lithograph on Fabriano Rosaspina, 100 x 71cm
  • 'Noise brings the promise of reinforcements II', 2015, 2 colour lithograph on Fabriano Rosaspina, 100 x 71cm
  • 'Inward and tranquil packs I', 2015, 3 colour lithograph on Fabriano Rosaspina, 100 x 71cm
  • 'Smoke, secrecy II', 2015, 3 colour lithograph on Fabriano Rosaspina, 100 x 71cm
  • the way, 2016, Monotype and oil on Fabriano Rosaspina, 110 x 78cm, Edition of 1
  • in holding, 2016, Monotype and oil on Fabriano Rosaspina, 110 x 78cm, Edition of 1
  • between, 2016, Oil paint on Fabriano Rosaspina, 110 x 78cm

Anna van der Ploeg was born in Cape Town in 1992 and completed her BAFA at the University of Cape Town in 2015. Trained as a printmaker, she works largely in lithography, monotype, and other printmedia as well as wooden sculpture, drawing and painting. Using laborious, process-based techniques,

Anna’s work evokes a feeling of spontaneity and effortlessness. Her vivid, honey-toned palette and use of natural materials speak closely to her experience as a beekeeper. Her latest exhibition ‘Arc and Toll’ builds upon previous work documenting Anna’s passage to becoming a beekeeper and delves deeper into the metaphors and meaning that she understands of the role. With the presence of certain symbols – a figure, bells, an arch, a veil and light – she hopes to weave a narrative of enquiry to create a space that somehow speaks to the ineffable, or responds to the movements and embodied knowledge that is drawn upon in the practice of beekeeping. The process becomes a ritual, seeking to observe and hold. The exhibition consists primarily of monotypes, chalk pastel and charcoal drawings and oil paintings on paper, as well as wood and metal sculptural objects.
Artist statement
Initially, the beekeeper and the bees drew my attention for their relationship, their interaction, their exchange. Where does one end and the other begin as they react, respond and imprint on one another? The keeper can guide the bees, but only as she is guided by the bees herself. They dance, their bodies converse. She must lose herself to find them and yet keep enough distance that the tension of their proximity becomes constructive, a communion, allowing the keeper to read them and respond to them without imposing herself on them. Keeping the practice in movement, merging one motion with the next. She moves from what her body knows so that she becomes a receptacle through which all can pass.
With the bees, her movements become slow, articulated with gentle purpose. A single sting acted like an admonishment humbling the keeper to the sensitivity their proximity demanded. There comes the pain, venom moving with her blood, moving to the toll of her heart. With the bees, the keeper comes to rest within the arch. It is a place of devotion, of reverence, of listening - two pillars built up individually until they come to meet and bear each other’s weight. They lean into one another, harmonic, transcendent, encompassing. It is a shape and a place that speaks to infinity, and to listening.
Here, the voice is held. The bell tolls and reverberates, an instrument of speaking. But the bell without its voice, with its clapper removed? Instead of speaking, it is made to listen. Its echo chamber becomes a receptacle, longing to listen, longing to hear, longing to be filled. It waits, devoted.
Through the arch and the bell moves the beekeeper. They guide her to her own devotion, to the space of listening and reverence within that allows her to move with the bees and guide them in turn. In finding that space, she honours the arch, pays homage to the bell. She comes to know them and carry them as she internalises them. She takes the arch and the bell beyond herself and offers them to the world, building a space of communion and inviting a community to grow. Reverential, devoted and listening, we come to find peace and sincerity within the arch and
the bell with no voice of its own. We come to find ourselves.