ANNE KEATING lives on Khula Dhamma Retreat Centre and Eco Farm in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This farm provides a protected pocket of wild nature for jackals, rooikat, bushbuck, antbears, porcupine, monitor lizards, eagles, owls and smaller beings.
“I have my parents to thank for introducing me to wild nature in the game-parks in southern Africa, as well as on the sprawling farms of friends and relatives in the Cape, Natal and Zimbabwe, where I ran wild with other children, forgetting my whiteness, and becoming just a child in Africa. In these wild settings I learnt to love, but also deeply respect, the Animal life I came in contact with.
Professionally I have been involved in education most of my life. Lately I studied psychosynthesis and eco-psychology which has led me to host “pilgrims” on private retreats. The idea of you as a pilgrim in Africa “meeting” an Animal and hearing its message, is the template for this book and card set. One of my aims in writing Wild Voices is to give the reader a tool to use in challenging times.
When I started connecting to nature and our African Animals I saw that it was an illusion that I, as a human, was separate from nature. I could feel at a gut level that I too was a part of this web of life, that I was being integrated back into nature. This experience led me to start living ‘as if the Earth mattered’. I wrote these cards in the hope that this might happen for you too.
Wild Voices pulls together many threads for me: Mainly my deep wish to ‘give Animals a voice’ and also to speak out about habitat degradation, species loss and the diminishing of the few truly wild spaces left on the earth. My fascination with the work of shamans worldwide, interest in ‘active-dream work’, along with my continuing study of eco-psychology, are the threads I’ve drawn on to create this work.”
DIANE HOLMES / MAMA KA GRACE is the artist of the Wild Voices cards.
She painted them while living in Hogsback, a small rural village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. She calls herself “Mother of Grace” using the traditional Xhosa custom whereby the villagers name a woman after her child
Diane was born in Zambia where she learnt to know the African bush. When Anne asked her to do the artwork for WILD VOICES, it was this connection with wild Africa that gave her the impetus and confidence to work on the cards. Anne invited Diane to work with her on this project knowing her intuitive drawing abilities, along with her connection to this land and its Animals. Diane also shares Anne’s deep interest in our human drive towards conscious psychological growth.
“The illustration of the cards, in a very real sense, is my life’s work as an artist so far.
There was never the sense that this is just artwork as the Animal soul qualities took over and required of me to work with them as well.”
THE ARTWORK FOR THE CARDS
African energy is wild and expansive. Diane's beautiful artwork on the cards is bold and colourful so as to fully embrace this vibrant sense of Africa. Diane only started each card after weeks of preparation which involved research into the Animal’s natural habitat as well as a thorough study of its anatomical details. However, the practical preparation was profoundly enhanced by Diane’s tuning-in to the deeper qualities or nature of each Animal. She would only start on the card after opening to the Animal’s message and making a deep connection with it.
When she speaks about the time she spent creating these cards, she calls it a journey. She says that she went through an ‘initiation of sorts’ with each card. These cards are not merely pictures that she drew; they each hold a vibrational quality particular to that Animal and we hope that the cards invoke in you a similar sense of connection to and reverence for the Animals and their message.
"I started off creating the artwork with traditional ink and paint on paper and then switch over to working on my computer using free, open source program called the GIMP which worked very nicely, but it meant getting used to using the computer mouse as a brush and the monitor as my canvass.
I’ve learnt a lot about our African continent and its beguiling animals while working on Wild Voices. I found it interesting that the qualities of the animals I was illustrating would be felt in my life in a very real way.
So, to be sure, you really DO invoke Africa when you work with this book and card set!"
Diane's art blog URL: dianezone https://dianezone.wordpress.com and email address: diane(at)adev(dot)co(dot)za