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HoLa Festival 2017 / Saturday and Sunday / September 16 and 17, 2017 at Market Square, Knoxville, TN.
Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 7pm-10pm
Sunday, September 17, 2017 from 11am-6pm
Market Square, Downtown Knoxville, TN
at Casa HoLa, Suite 112
The Emporium for the Arts in downtown Knoxville, TN. 37902
I was born in Zimbabwe and moved to Zambia when I was 6 years old. I have had an incredible childhood which has been the root for my passion for art and wild life. My parents are involved in safaris, so my child hood has always been connected to wild animals and the bush. I have had the privilege to go on many safaris with my parents to amazing places around Zambia and Zimbabwe.
I have always loved art and drawing from an early age. I only really discovered my style and at 16 years when doing art at school. I started to realize how effective all the different mediums could be once you really started to let go and play with them. I found that I enjoyed the challenge of water colors and so this became my medium of choice. During my last year of High School, I had to study several new mediums and artists, this is when I discovered tar and my level of understanding for water colors improved. I started to sell my pictures at the age of 16. I am now studying a Visual Communications Degree in Stellenbosch in South Africa but in my free time I paint as much as I can.
Whenever I start a new piece of art I like to relay the mood, emotions which I feel when I am painting. Elephants are some of my favorite animals in Africa which I love to paint, especially as these majestic creatures are under threat due to poaching. For this exhibition, I used both a combinations of water color and tar to do the pictures. Tar has been a particularly harder medium to work with as its harder to control.
When I first stepped out of a plane in Nairobi, the thick smell of dirt overtook me. It’s the first time in my life that I felt at all connected with the phrase: from dust to dust. Somehow, I knew I was home; a return to a place I had never consciously seen but knew well.
There’s a tension in photographing wild animals – elephants in particular. It is the tension of being mutually relevant while in the same space. What is seen through the lens might not be at all what someone else sees because interactions are personal, shifting and variable.
With elephants, the symbiotic moment of capturing art is even more challenging. As one of the smartest creatures in existence, elephants will play with the camera in ways that other mammals fail to understand. Their movement and tension with the observer is palpable. The shot can only happen after a certain relationship of trust arises.
Being charged by a young bull or trampled by a protective matriarch is a real possibility in the bush. While all these pictures are taken on foot there’s much anxiety behind them. My anxiety – the adrenaline of hiding in a hide or standing behind a tree while an elephant stares down at this person with a clicking machine in hand. Taking pictures while asserting a space of mutual respect is a challenge.
Then there’s the lens…I must admit that it’s nothing but interference. I don’t understand much about what the lens does or means – and frankly I don’t care. Therefore, it is only in rare occasions that it happens to capture what I feel. It is only the pictures that affectively remind me of my emotional connection with the subject that ultimately make it to an exposition.
The work grows as I grow. The better I get at feeling my environment the better the pictures. It actually has little to do with my skill as a photographer.
From this standpoint, my relationship with Africa is complicated. Proficiency does not yield what I present but it is the interaction of my emotional state, the environment, the opportunity and the animals that make things come together. And on days that I know I will not capture one of these rare moments, I just put down the camera and watch… there’s no forcing this photographic journey.
Even though, I have participated in many different activities in my life,
without any doubt, the world of art is my place. My love of painting was born with me. I have always been touched by the beauty and colors of nature and this has inspired my love of painting. I often find a way to incorporate art into my daily life. As a statistician, I used to decorate my professional papers with drawings and color.
Painting was, is, and will be my favorite thing to do. I enjoy the miracle
of creating. It is a time when my imagination and my feelings come together. Each work is a part of me. My paintings depict pristine landscapes from South America as well as North America. I love what I am doing and when I paint I find peace in genuine and simple things.
Each work is a delightful adventure. I paint landscapes without environmental problems--unreal environments with real elements from my own surroundings. I do not pretend to reflect reality. The paintings are meant to represent a certain mood or sentiment. The observation of objects, their details, and colors, and the affection with which I imbue them are the fundamental elements of my paintings. I paint with my heart and this is the way I express myself.
to discover everyday elements is my work;
to incorporate them into me is my purpose;
to feel them as a part of myself is my gift.
And once they conquer my heart, to paint them becomes joy
The works of Susana Esrequis are inspired by the landscapes she saw in her childhood in a rural region of the interior of Argentina. The Argentine “pampas” are large plains with fertile land, lots of trees, many birds, and nostalgic memories. She captures the beauty of the countryside with her masterful use of color. Also, she has begun to merge into her inspiration scenery from Tennessee.
An art critic wrote: “The naïf is an unconscious quality with which certain people are born, grow, live, and act. It is a way of being that nobody can voluntarily adopt and that makes the naïf a different being. It is this difference which I love, and that Susana Esrequis has in its most genuine purity. The paintings of Susana Esrequis are captivating -ingenuous, full of light, and original. When I stop to look at any of her paintings, I feel as though I were standing in the middle of the countryside. I feel the serenity. And I sense the growth of the flowers and the trees. She preferentially paints trees with their large branches longingly reaching for the sky. Her sure use of color makes looking at her painting a moving experience.”