artistic collaboration connects Oakhurst and South Africa |
OAK –It’s as unlikely a collaboration as you could find, connecting Oakhurst, South Africa, Alaska and Facebook, with a twist of Israel. The result is a feast for the eyes. And I’m proud to be right in the middle of it.
I am a huge fan of mushing for dogs. I like Iditarod, the Quest for the Yukon and all the small breeds in between. What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Kind of everything. I would never have “met” Barbara dannenhauer without her, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to connect her with the artist from Oakhurst Sheila boyd without this. The quotes are because Barbara and I have only met via Facebook, never in person – yet.
Dog mushing is a difficult event to follow. It’s not on TV, except maybe on CBS Sunday Morning Snippets. You have to travel to extremely cold places to watch it in person. Or you can follow him on Facebook, and that’s how I connected with Barbara Dannenhauer, amazing photographer who lives in Pretoria, South Africa, but travels the world. We share the dog sledding obsession and we both belong to a seat mushing Facebook group. We’ve known each other since 2012. In fact, it had been so long since Barbara thought she had met me in person the year she was in Alaska to cover the Iditarod as a member of the media team. I missed her for a year at Iditarod and at Yukon Quest, I believe. However, we spent long winter days and nights on the computer, each from their own side of the world, with 128 other group members, constantly hitting the refresh button to figure out who’s in the lead, who’s up. striped, who is lost (and why) and who lay down to rest. It is an incredible connection and certainly one that could not exist without the Internet.
Barbara was born and raised in Germany, but moved to South Africa in 1997. She got her first camera in 2014 and hasn’t put it down since. South Africa is the perfect place to practice the art of photographing wildlife and all that goes with it. She says, “As an amateur artist, it was also a great way to inspire people through my art to have a deeper and deeper look at society. If I look through my lens, I feel like I have a deep connection with the spirit of nature and this is what I want to share through my photos and my art…. AND I SEE BEAUTY IN EVERYTHING.
This is what she does. His award-winning work encompasses people, places, flora and fauna. She captures the soul and spirit of everything she sees through the eye of the camera.
I wrote on the Oakhurst airbrush artist Sheila boyd before, here and here. When she sent me a picture of her first airbrushed rendering on quartzite, I was captivated. Like Barbara, Sheila sees inside the souls of animals, and they speak to her.
Unlike Barbara, Sheila (the Oakhurst aspect) and I have a direct connection. We interact frequently, in person, by phone and via the Internet. Fortunately, I can see Sheila’s art in its various forms in her gallery and at exhibitions.
When I saw Sheila’s elephant piece, I thought of Barbara and texted her asking if I could share some of her photos with Sheila. She immediately accepted. They were also in awe of each other’s talents.
Since then, Barbara and Sheila have connected with each other and with another Facebook group that we all belong to – originally based in Israel but with members all over the world – called a beautiful thing.
The first play produced by Sheila based on Barbara’s work is a trotting lioness. The rendering on quartzite is stunning.
Barbara paints with her camera, Sheila with her airbrush. But they both capture the magic of the world around them to share it with the rest of us.
Say what you want about Facebook’s mischief. If it weren’t for this platform, my world – and now yours – would be much smaller.