Some people in life are worth tracking down. Robyn Gordon is one of them. I first saw and purchased a totem of Robyn’s from a gallery in Durban in August 2007. I left my business card with the extremely friendly and helpful Zimbabwean security guard, Alistair, and he subsequently sent me Robyn’s details, as the gallery were less than forthcoming. I was, therefore, horrified to later discover he had been fired for this action. I was able to get some money through to him and he quickly found new employment so all ended well. Buy why are galleries so protective? It makes me mad when they think they have a monopoly over an artist and their work. Any gallery worth their salt should have confidence enough in their own business to allow artists to exhibit freely.
Having established contact with Robyn, I had to wait another seven years to meet her. Pietermaritzburg is not automatically first on my trail when I go to South Africa searching for art. And due to the very personal nature of Robyn’s work and the fact that each piece owns a morsel of her soul, I wanted to meet her face-to-face and choose a collection of work together with her.
In March this year, I had a difficult drive in gloomy twilight and lashing torrential rain up from Durban to Nottingham Road, and never was the ever-warm welcome from Brookdale Health Hydro more willingly received. Restored by the inner calm which pervades the atmosphere there – and naturally a small tipple or two with Tony & Wendy Somers-Cox who own it, I finally met Robyn the following day.
As she says of herself; “When I am not creating art, I am thinking about it.” This passion is inherent in Robyn. She is considered; everything has a reason and a meaning, and she sees creativity in every turn she takes. Her studio if full of boxes of ‘finds’ – buttons, nails, shells, beads and locks, and colour swatches, snippets of poetry, and old letters provide her with clues to her next journey. She is an avid blogger and through her artpropelled.blogspot.com site she has followers worldwide.
Robyn had a new collection of work from which I could choose and I had to be strict and limit myself to five. She packed them all beautifully for me, with their stories and heritage attached, and Rohlig-Grindrod ensured they arrived on these shores unharmed. They now hang in a collection against the outer white wall of the gallery as part of our current exhibition, and already three have been lovingly purchased, all by regular buyers, so I know they are going to good homes.
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
Her name is Ntothoviyane,
which in Zulu means ‘the striped grass hopper that springs from bush to bush’.
She is a seeker, always thirsting for knowledge, new experiences and fresh pastures.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We are afraid.” they said.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
He pushed them….
…….and they flew.”
On a personal note, Robyn has an adoring husband Martin who is in awe of her capabilities, and, as a cancer survivor, is extremely grateful to be alive and lives his life thus. They are both a true inspiration. Oh, and they make delicious coffee. I’ll be back.