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Contemporary Ethnic Art
by Alvin Mark Schroeder of AMS Creations
12 February 2011
Alvin Mark Schroeder is a man with a few surprises up his sleeve. Although he is as South African as anyone can be, his humble and peaceful nature conceals a well-travelled person with a most interesting background. His appreciation of the sophistication of Europe to the most earthy of cultural aspects in Africa, give him much depth.
While his artistic view as shown in his work presented at the Country Craft Market, reflects the Africa that was (or is too fast fading into the past), he is also tuned into the contemporary South Africa, and specifically Cape Town, that throbs to a different drum beat - including that of its vibrant and colourful street culture.
But on 12 February, Alvin will be in retrospective mood and will be demonstrating how he uses his artistic skills with charcoal and other drawing implements, to recapture the traditional life of the country's earliest inhabitants, people and animals.
The universal appeal of animals makes them one of Alvin's primary subjects when he puts charcoal to canvas. Drawing animals is one thing, capturing their essence in an African landscape is another. One can imagine from their poses and expressions, the emotions that probably drive African wildlife as they face the hardships of life in the wild.
Alvin chooses to use charcoal as a medium. This is borrowed from his ancestry where the coals from the fire probably produced the first drawing implements. But it also gives back to his ancestry by recording in a most suitable medium, a feeling of antiquity that respectfully acknowledges the hardships past eras, and the customs and wisdom that emerged in this interaction with the wild energy of Africa.
To underline the messages of antiquity that he records in his pictures, Alvin uses canvas dyed in rooibos tea. The resulting parchment appearance gives a background that merges seamlessly into his pictures. The combination of canvas and charcoal gives them that earthy appeal that is much admired by overseas visitors.
Alvin is an artist with loads of ambition backed by heaps of energy and talent. But he does not restrict himself to drawing and painting. His experiences in his Cape Town neighbourhood bring out another side of Alvin and he enjoys expressing in the colourful local vernacular, poetry that describes the lives and activities of those around him. In spite of all other influences, he is a primarily a Capetonian.
In contrast to what his name suggests, Alvin Mark Schroeder carries within his blood, the soul and roots of Africa. On the other hand, the German contribution to his ancestry, inextricably links him to the contrasting cultures of Europe. He has made a number of visits to European shores. meeting his alter ego, but also taking with him images of Africa that now adorn buildings and homes in Germany.
Still, his Koisan heritage remains a secret weapon that allows him to record with complete authenticity, the culture of these early inhabitants of Africa. In so doing, he both acknowledges that part of himself and recognises how he can contribute to the understanding and recognition of the Koisan.
Alvin is equally comfortable with sketches that capture broad scenes, as he is with recording fine details. The austerity of his media gives appeal to his work, leaving the viewer free to fill in the gaps according to his or her own imagination and experience.
Be sure not to miss Alvin at work on 12 February at the next Country Craft Market and see how his pictures come to life, transforming his experiences, knowledge and imagination into authentic and beautiful African images and scenes.
See related demonstration report
Last Updated 02 November 2017 12:14