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Creativity Takes Root


From a woman who’s made a career out of merging food, art and design, we expect nothing less than conceptually brilliant creations. And that’s precisely what the multi-talented Caro de Waal has delivered in the form of her new exhibition, ROOTS.

On at [spasie]’s equally new and innovative gallery and cocktail lounge UPSTAIRS, the cross-disciplinary show resounds with innovation and speaks of a very clear and clever vision. At the heart of the display is an exploration of the concept of roots, and this theme is astutely woven through every artwork, photograph, installation and illustration in the exhibition.

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Aside from the fact that the word ‘root’ is rich with possibilities for interpretation, its meanings around origin and foundation also had particular relevance to Caro considering the unrest that South Africa has seen lately.

‘I am a third-generation South African with skin that burns like paper in the African sun. I was born here; she fed me, nurtured and watered me. I grew here; Africa is my root. With all the recent turmoil in our beautiful land, I questioned my roots for the first time. Here I express myself in the way I know best, through food, flavour, art and design,’ explains Caro, whose who’s journey into the subject actually started with a simple examination of edible roots, bulbs and rhizomes.

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The works themselves have been created by not just Caro, but a range of other artists and creatives that she teamed up with for the project, including Stefan Snyman, Jan Ras, Hein van Tonder, Xandri Redelinghuys and others.

You can expect everything from sketches, X-rays and photographs to video content and an iPhonography series, all accompanied by fascinating explanations about how the final product relates to the concept of roots for the artist – in some cases, the connection is obvious; in other cases, it’s much more abstract.

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On the opening night of the exhibition (6 April), the experience was also enhanced with a menu of food and cocktails comprising various roots, like fennel, beetroot, radishes and lemon buchu. The total offering made it an especially sensory experience, something Caro is famous for creating.

ROOTS will be showing for the month of April, and although the food won’t be a permanent feature, from 5pm onwards on Wednesdays to Saturdays, the [spasie] UPSTAIRS gallery will turn into a cocktail bar, so you can sip while you browse.

Otherwise, the gallery is open as an exhibition space solely from Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 4pm.