Collecting, rearranging and documenting stones out of place has become a theme in Hannelie Coetzee’s work over the past 10 years. During Site_Specific, she installed a series of 13 stone cairns along the high tide mark at Plettenberg Bay’s Lookout Beach – icons of her family members. This seemingly straightforward Land Art work was a week-long meditative look at what it means to stand beside one’s family.
As the high tide rolled in, the oddly shaped family succumbed to the waves one-by-one. Because of the weight of the stones, they remained where they fell. For an entire week, Coetzee waited for the tide to retreat and then began rebuilding, each time having to find the correct balance when stacking the rocks, one on top of the other. Coetzee explains that this was probably the only time she had spent a week with all of her family – conservative and not always accepting of her life choices. Spending time with this symbolic family, restoring them each time they fell, was highly therapeutic.