Artist-in-Residence : Gordon Froud

December & January 2012/13 • Plettenberg Bay

Travelling Artcar, Wattle Sphere & HI Virus

compiled by Kim Trollip

As would be expected during an extended visit to a small community like Plettenberg Bay, Gordon Froud was embraced by the locals and made to feel at home while in residency. His three major pieces, produced while there, have been “adopted” by the friendly people of the Jewel of the Garden Route.

During his month-long stay at Ebenezer Estate, Froud, who is an artist and University of Johannesburg lecturer, produced: a life-size Toyota Corolla, made of 3 500 multi-coloured plastic coat hangers held together by 5 000 cable ties; a huge Wattle Sphere, based on a Leonardo da Vinci design and emphasising the impact of ever-present invasive species; and a 1,8 metre-high, pine and jacaranda wood Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The works travelled around the town during peak tourism season during December 2012 and January 2013.


The Hanger Artcar is a tribute to an iconic local “Art Car” created by Angus Greig from a 1980s Toyota Corolla, which was painted up by various artists.

“The people really enjoyed the works, took time to engage with them, wrote about them, asked questions, had their photos taken with the Hanger Artcar or Wattle Sphere and hooted encouragement whenever the works were moved on the back of the truck. I feel that Plett took ownership of these works and this bodes really well for the residency and Site_Specific event later this year and in the future,” says Froud.

The art works, which Froud produced with the assistance of Honest Ngwenya, made appearances at some of the most iconic venues around town such as Lookout and Central Beaches, The Heath, Old Nick, Kurland, Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and Bramon – where the large Wattle Sphere is now permanently housed. They also made appearances at Melville Shopping Centre, the Traffic Department, and joined other scheduled art exhibitions in the area.


The geodesic, HI virus sculpture was designed to tight parameters, requiring no wood glue or screws. It is held together entirely by wooden connectors and pins. The imposing sphere attracted a lot of attention, particularly when constructed on site with observers becoming willing participants in its construction.

“I participated in exhibitions at Emily Moon River Lodge (thanks to Muffin Bekker for including me) and The Red Barn on Sweetwater farm (thanks Tertius Van Huyssteen for this) and I gave a talk (attended by more than 20 enthusiastic supporters), on the huge South African sculpture exhibition recently shown in The Hague (Thanks to Charles and Carol Levin),”adds Froud.

“The folks at Ebenezer Estate made fabulous contributions to my stay. They made me feel at home as a resident, but also as part of the Ebenezer clan. I have come away enriched and feel that I have an adopted family.”

Ebenezer’s Angus Greig, who is the new owner of the Hanger Artcar, and his family and friends assisted with anything from technical assistance, to transporting the works around and even to jumpstarting flat batteries.

Anja Weihl project-managed the residency and assisted wherever she could. She dispatched a team of young marketers, who worked to inform the public about the Artcar, Wattle Sphere and HI Virus and about Site_Specific.


The geometric, wattle ball was based on a Leonardo da Vinci design and stands at 2,8 metres high.

“To the Site_Specific team that took a chance on installing me as their first resident, I hope that you are pleased with the results and that the Site_Specific name and intention has been spread more widely than before and that it will help in the final run up to this year’s event from 10 to 17 August 2013. To the Mayor and Municipality of Plettenberg Bay for their permission, support and funding of the residency and Site_Specific event – it is only through active participation at this level that a programme like this can grow and develop into an important local, national and international event.

“Their contribution in tough economic times cannot be praised enough, and I hope that this support will be ongoing.” Froud concludes, “There are many in the local community who assisted with publicity, progress reports, moving the works and helping install then. The involvement of all is highly appreciated. It was a great pleasure working here and meeting everyone and am blessed by the friendships that have formed. I thank you all and look forward to being back again in August.”