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UJ Arts & Culture responds to the COVID-19 crisis with care and creativity

Strijdom van der Merwe

Song selection: 17 Past Life Melodies
Title of the artwork: Paths of Listening

WATCH land artist Strijdom van der Merwe’s interpretation of Past Life Melodies

UJ Arts & Culture’s featured artist for The Pandemic project, is land artist Strijdom van der Merwe. His site-specific artwork Paths of Listening focuses on an organic minimalist approach enticing the viewer to enter into a state of deep listening. 
     ‘Through the repetitive imagery of water drops, the viewer is transported by Aboriginal song-lines and the music from European antiquity to the roof of the world, where the monks are chanting. The small drops of water are building up to a pandemic of unforeseen proportion, within the living, reflecting heartbeat.
     ‘The suggestion is that water can hold a “memory”, affected by the influence of sound and human intention,’ says Van der Merwe.
     The artistic intervention of drawing water lines as a carrier for paths of knowledge and understanding may be able to bring about healing. As we listen, we develop threads of connection to the world.  
     Sarah Hopkins is a unique Australian composer-performer, highly acclaimed for her visionary music and inspiring performances for cello, harmonic overtone singing and choir.
     Past Life Melodies is ‘a profound musical work which blends European antiquity with Aboriginal songlines and then transports one to Nepal, the roof of the world, where the monks are chanting.’ (Stuart Phillpot). This iconic piece embraces several vocal techniques not traditionally used in Western choral music, namely open-throated chant singing, Aboriginal inspired chant and harmonic overtone singing.
     Have a look at Strijdom van der Merwe Paths of Listening and listen to the UJ Choir sing Past Life Melodies by Sarah Hopkins (1958).

WATCH each artist’s visual interpretation of When the Earth Stands Still on the next page and keep an eye out for new additions every day!

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