Poetic reading experience beckons between granite and wild olives

The entrance to the Green Gallery.

Taalmonument and LitNet focus on 11 poets and a Free State flair

In the run-up to International Museum Day on Friday May 18, the Afrikaans Language Museum and Monument (ATM) is joining creative forces with the independent journal, litnet.co.za, to exhibit less famous poets’ work at the monument’s Green Gallery.

This temporary exhibition puts the spotlight on 11 poets whose work appeared on LitNet’s ‘new poems’ page in 2017. By chance most of them have a relationship with the Free State, so the exhibition honours the contribution to creative writing from the middle province (and birthplace of author JRR Tolkien).

According to Michael Jonas, ATM director, the institution is a living monument where there is a continuous interaction between the structure, nature, visitors and language creators. “We would like to give less-known writers, musicians and poets a chance to expose their work to a larger audience.

“Most visitors are not only very interested in the history of Afrikaans, but also curious about the language’s development and her latest creative incarnations as it offers new perspectives on the worlds of many Afrikaans-speaking Africans. We trust that this exhibition will be to their liking.”

Considering that the theme of this year’s Museum Day is “Hyperconnected museums: new approaches, new publics”, it is appropriate that the intertwined cyber space in which LitNet’s audience travels is linked to a physical beacon where another type of interaction between authors and readers takes place.

The 11 poets are André F van der Berg, Charles Marais, Dirk Hattingh, Hanta Henning, Heinrich Matthee, Hé* ène van Wyk, Jemima Meyer, Marthé McLoud, Pieter Verster, Rita Smit and Stanley Cierenberg who represent a wide range of interests, histories and writing styles.

The architect of the monument, Jan van Wijk, felt strongly about nature and therefore he is honoured by this open-air gallery where his ashes are embedded in a rock, surrounded by indigenous olive trees and granite.

Every few months an exhibit of various Afrikaans writers’ works is presented in the gallery’s display cases, made from recycled wood and glass, to focus on the cultural and ecological aspects of the monument. LitNet is a multi-lingual interactive journal on the internet where writers can publish their stories, thoughts, columns, articles and opinions. It also includes the LitNet node for accredited academic writing in Afrikaans.

The exhibition is open until Wednesday October 31 in the Green Gallery. The monument, which is also the starting point of Paarl’s Tree Trail, is open daily from 8am to 5pm. Entry is R30 for adults, R10 for SA students/pensioners and R5 for children and free for children under six years of age.

Audio guides in various languages, as well as free guided tours are available, and the monument also offers a playground for children, hiking trails and a restaurant.

Contact 021 863 4809/0543/2 or email admin@taalmonument.co.za