The Shaping of Water

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Books, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Freedom Fighters, identity, Politics, Power, Reviews, Storytelling, The Shaping of Water2 Comments

Returning to the past to build the future This year I time-travelled back more than 30 years. I returned to the Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka to the place where golden weaver birds build their nests above small sun-worshipping crocodiles. Here, there once was the excellent Zintu craft shop, a regular Zambian ladies lunch, an Independence Day National Art Exhibition and […]

Connections between art, politics, and change in South Africa and Zambia

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Art Process, Colonialism, Creativity, Design, Education, Human rights, identity, Imagination, justice, Mpapa Gallery, Politics, Printmaking, Racism, South Africa, Storytelling, When I Was Bad, Writing, ZambiaLeave a Comment

Andrew Verster, the best teacher I had Andrew Verster died on Sunday 16th February 2020. In 1964, After graduating from Camberwell School of Art and Reading University, he taught me painting at the Michaelis School of Art, University of Cape Town. He was a wonderful teacher – one whom I will never forget because of his kindness and the attention […]

The River’s Story

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Colonialism, illustration, Imagination, Power, Storytelling, The Love and Wisdom Crimes, The Shaping of Water, Truth, Zambia4 Comments

We all own the River. That’s what we believe. The world of nature is ours and we can do what we like with it. The River belongs to us. We can use it – we can waste it – we can worship it. Not one of these ways of looking at the River tells us what it means to be […]

The colonisation of the spirit

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Gods, ZambiaLeave a Comment

Forceful ideas There are occasions when something is said or written that strikes you with real force. A discussion between Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy over African artefacts in European museums did just that for me. It’s a topical subject right now. Emmanuel Macron is talking of the repatriation of African artworks to their homes in Africa. Way back in […]

Tears, fears, longing, belonging and living.

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Family, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, identity, justice, Migration, Poetry, Politics, Power, Race, Racism, Religion, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Why I cried about who I might become “Why do you want to become a French citizen?” I was asked this question at the end of a gruelling two hour naturalisation interview. I burst into tears. “It’s such a difficult and important decision,” I replied, sniffling. “I’ve had to leave too many places I thought of as home. I want […]