TRANSCENDENCE Amy Ayanda, by Dan Charles
L&S Cover Story
Photography - Sven Kristian
“ I don’t leave the house too often these days. I suppose that most of us who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home and comfortably shelter-in-place until the Covid-19 storm has passed are in the same monotonous boat. Of course, I’m aware that I do have the safe and legal option of taking a socially-responsible stroll through the thoroughly-ventilated pastures of a nearby hiking trail. However, the pressure of the global pandemic has a way of pressing down on my anxiety’s accelerator pedal and launching it into a speed that I’m not too comfortable travelling at.
SO, ALTHOUGH A MOMENTARY MEANDER in the great outdoors would be beneficial to my mental health, I find it easier to simply park myself indoors and observe the outside world through the frames of my windows and the screens that I surround myself with. And, when I grow weary of peering into that world, I shift my focus to the world framed within a painting by Cape Town-based multi-disciplinary artist, Amy Ayanda, that I have hanging on my wall.
Be it the image of a field of flowers, a mountain, or the body of a mother - Amy’s paintings are an enrapturing window into a world of vivid imagination and tender reflection. Using her canvases as an exercise in reflecting upon her personal and historical ties to the land that surrounds her, Amy’s work is a vibrant embodiment of the intimacies of one’s own environment and upbringing. From ruminations of her great-grandmother’s flower farm in Constantia (from which the family was forcibly removed in the 1960s under the Group Areas Act) to the sites of the proteas, fynbos and mountainous terrain familiar to those who have traversed through the Cape - there is a wonder and beauty in the world that Amy projects through her paintings.
These themes and ideas are further explored in Amy’s work as a recording artist. Shifting from brush strokes to earthy and electronic instrumentation, the succinct discography of Amy Ayanda’s music presents a very nuanced brand of alternative pop. Incorporating hauntingly emotive melodies to detail reflections on topics of motherhood and death (as heard on her debut EP “Ab Avo”), Amy’s voice carries as much colour and texture as her paintings do.
The solace that art brings in times like these is priceless. But, make no mistake, it’s still a business, and so prices need to be attached at some point. Over the past few years, Amy has built her cascades of acrylic-coloured creations into a thriving independent enterprise. From online sales of her original works and prints to venturing into converting her works into lines of apparel - the setbacks of lockdown restrictions have not slowed Amy’s prowess as an artist/entrepreneur one bit. Having just moved into a new art studio and putting the finishing touches on a new album, the future of Amy Ayanda is looking brighter than ever despite the dim of the looming pandemic.
For small businesses like Amy’s across the country, the announcement of the national lockdown thudded like a guillotine. With little to no warning, businesses had to quickly adapt to operating within the new world’s framework or risk evaporating. But even when things feel most uncertain, art will still be made, and art will remind us that there is still much to enjoy in life. That’s what I get when I look over at my Amy Ayanda original. Maybe that’s why I should go for a walk today.
Spotify: Amy Ayanda
- Happy and Exhausted / A3
- Arum Lily / A3
- Mother’s Milk / A3