Geoglyph Art

2019 : /ui häb

'/ui häb' means 'stone horse' in Nama - the language of the indigenous people of southern Namibia. During the 2019 installation session, local Aus residents - Kevin Kooitjie, Willem Kasper, Noddy Boois, Albertus Bingo and Richard Niklaaste - taught us some Nama words. Especially ‘/ui’  (stone) featured often as we carried and placed 4244 repurposed fence stones over five days. The palate-tongue click at the beginning of the word sounds like two hard rocks connecting. On clumsy tongues used to English, Afrikaans and German forms, this clicking sound caused much merriment, but at the same time the word felt like an ancient connection to the desert, and the right name for our artwork.

Namibia’s wild horses are famous as a symbol of adaptation in a world where a remarkable resilience of spirit is required to navigate change. Yet the Stone Horse of Aus runs westwards towards a crossroads.

In the three years that it took us to plan and install the stone drawing, the Wild Horses of the Namib suffered severe losses from drought and predation.  As artists, we have noticed the effect of the ongoing drought on the terrain, and we sincerely hope that this will turn out to be just another cyclical drought soon to be broken by glorious rain in one of the driest regions we have ever worked in. However, global climate change is with us, and as predicted, wet places are flooding more often and dry places are getting warmer and drier.

Anamorphic outline of the Stone Horse as seen via satellite. Approximate dimensions: 140 m (ear to hoof) x 80 m (tail to nose). Google Earth mockup by Anni Snyman (artist).

The predicament of the Wild Horses is one shared by us all. The pressures of climate change demand that we move geographically as well as conceptually in how we think about our companion species and our planet. Survival will require individual as well as collective, holistic action based on the understanding that ecosystems are interwoven - not separated (fenced) lists of endangered or thriving species.

The paradigm shift that is required to change our habitual ways to that of adapting in rapidly changing circumstances is mirrored by the artwork: We are unable to appreciate the distorted anamorphic drawing up close, however with some effort up a hill we can achieve a different perspective and it becomes possible to see the horse, the crossroads, and the sunset all at once.

Stone Horse seen from the viewpoint (At an angle 559m away, elevated 141m higher than the drawing). Photo by Lance Foster.

Completed June 2019 by the Site_Specific land Art Collective.

Stone Horse drawing from a standing human's perspective - 4244 repurposed fence stones arranged in a continuous line reaching 1101 m in total. Photo by Lance Foster.

Background image: Point-of-view on the Klein-Aus Vista site for the Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus. Photo by Gwen Meyer. June 2018.


Accommodation, support and permissions

  • Klein Aus Vista
  • Piet en Christine Swiegers
  • Willem en Ingeborg Swiegers

Wild Horse Information

  • Telanie Greyling


  • Linda de Jager
  • Endgame Media

Concept, Design and Management

  • Anni Snyman
  • PC Janse van Rensburg

Aerial Photos

  • Lance Foster


  • Lettie Janse van Rensburg

2019 stone installation team

  • Albertus Bingo
  • Noddy Boois
  • Stephanus Claasen
  • Cha Davenport
  • Linda de Jager
  • Jessica Doucha
  • Lance Foster
  • PC Janse van Rensburg
  • Willem Kasper
  • Kevin Kooitjie
  • Richard Niklaaste
  • Janet Ranson
  • Ingrid Schöfmann
  • Anni Snyman
  • Christine Swiegers
  • Izak Vollgraaff

2018 : Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus

In 2018 the geoglyph project moved beyond the boundaries of the arid Karoo and entered the desert in Namibia near Aus in honour of the wild Namib Desert Horse.

Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus concept proposal mockup from a satellite point-of-view of the Klein-Aus Vista Namib desert site near Aus in Namibia. Illustration by Anni Snyman. Early 2018.

The Site_Specific Geoglyph Art project is driven by Anni Snyman and her brother PC van Rensburg, a powerful team combining the skills of a visual artist and an architect. Together they design and plan the logistics of each project, taking along a Site_Specific Collective team of supporters, volunteers and artists to help render each earth drawing, activating temporary land and nature artworks on site.

The purpose of each project is to honour and respect the selected site, the animals that live there, and the human communities that surround them. Local community members are enlisted wherever possible, becoming co-creators and custodians of the earth drawings once the Site_Specific team leaves.

Team members from all over South Africa join each project, traveling from their respective corners of the country.

To date Anni Snyman and PC van Rensburg with the Site_Specific team have created two temporary earth drawings (Earth Siren, Tankwa, 2009. Riverine Rabbit light drawing, Richmond, 2012) and three permanently maintained geoglyphs (Snake Eagle Thinking Path, Matjiesfontein, 2015. Riverine Rabbit Thinking Path, Loxton, 2016. Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus, Namibia, 2018.)

Sister & brother team Anni Snyman and PC Janse van Rensburg at the point-of-view on the mountain looking down at the Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus under construction. Photo by Gwen Meyer. June 2018.

To find out more about the Karoo Geoglyph project, please visit

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Background image: Point-of-view on the Klein-Aus Vista site for the Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus. Photo by Gwen Meyer. June 2018.

2018 : Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus

In June 2018 the Site_Specific volunteers tackled the task of drawing a Desert Horse geoglyph at Klein-Aus Vista on the edge of the Namib desert.

The scaling technique

To create large-scale geoglyphs or earth drawings the team use a scaling technique that allows them to convert a small drawing divided into equal squares, to a large-scale drawing. The grid is enlarged on the landscape using poles and rope, and the drawn lines are replicated in each square, automatically enlarging the drawing. The enlarged drawing can be viewed from above or via Google Earth.

At Matjiesfontein and Loxton the Umvoto engineering team created square grids using satellite technology, but at Aus the artists used a simple rope-and-peg compass to draw circles in the sand, transferring the scaled-up drawing circle-by-circle instead of square-by-square.

A perspectival drawing

At Aus the drawing has to be an anamorphic drawing - to be seen from a particular vantage point 630 metres away, and at an elevation of 153 metres. The horse is galloping westwards along an existing path towards a crossroad, and the artists had to distort the drawing so that it seems correct from the view point.

Thus the perspective had to be reversed and on-site undulating terrain had to be compensated for. Without a GoPro drone or cellphone connections, this required repeated trips to the vantage point to gauge progress and correct for errors using a two-way radio. The drawing had to be erased three times before a final rendition proved satisfactory. An additional challenge was that the angle of the afternoon sun over the winter solstice period made it impossible to see the drawing from the viewpoint after two pm.

The 141 (ear to hoof) x 61 (tail to nose) metre geoglyph was constructed using recycled 30 year old fence poles and is now in the nurturing hands of Klein-Aus Vista's owners who will visually strengthen and maintain it over time. Unlike its predecessors the Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus has to be viewed from a view point, not via google earth.

Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus sketches and grid of the distortions to accommodate a viewpoint at a 153 metre elevation and a distance of 603 metres. Design by Anni Snyman. June 2018.

Close up render of the Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus under construction at the Klein-Aus Vista site. Illustration by Anni Snyman. June 2018.

The geoglyph was created in honour of the Namib Desert Horses that live here alongside indigenous wildlife such as ostriches, oryx's and hyena's.

Namib Desert Horse.

Increased desertification across the Southern African region, combine with man-made fences which prevent animals from migrating to water and grazing resources, have trapped these animals in a vice-like grip of climate-driven extermination.

As the migratory crises increases for both animals and humans, this project hopes to help shift narratives around border fences and territories, allowing all species to once again move freely as natural resources shift and fluctuate in response to a changing global climate system.


In June 2018 Anni Snyman was interviewed by Eloise Kupido from 'Verander Dinge' (Change Things) on KykNet, an Afrikaans cable channel in South Africa. The following insert was part of the programme – english subtitles have been added.


The making-of process has been documented in our Geoglyph Art, Desert Horse Geoglyph of Aus photo album on Pinterest.


  • Project initiated by Linda de Jager, Endgame Media
  • Accommodation and Site sponsored by Klein-Aus Vista Desert Horse Inn - Piet en Christine Swiegers, Willem and Ingeborg Swiegers
  • Food sponsored and prepared by Lettie Janse van Rensburg


  • Anni Snyman
  • PC Janse van Rensburg
  • Ingrid Schöffman
  • Izak Volgraaff
  • Gwen Meyer
  • Elma Giliomee
  • Eugenie Grobler
  • Michelle Kruger
  • Andrea Brand
  • Janet Ranson
  • Zbys Kaczmarek



Site_Specific Collective's imagery is available for use under the Creative Commons attribution copyright guidelines. Our artists, photographers, videographers and film makers volunteer their time and energy to a project that is about addressing the imbalance in our relationship with nature and our fellow earthly beings.

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