I had the honour to collaborate with Val Smit in March 2020 for the Indian Ekphrastic Journal, Glomag, edited by Glory Sasikala.
As an Ekphrastic writer myself, I could not pass on an opportunity to collaborate with South Africa’s foremost Ekphrastic writer and poet for Glomag India.
Smit’s painting, ‘This Land 02: Manenberg’; is a poignant and revelatory reminder of social injustice and neglect on the ‘Cape Flats’ in Cape Town, which allowed me to interpret this astonishing artwork, using my own experience growing up in Belhar (Northern Suburbs) and giving a voice to the mothers of this vast and sprawling residential metropolis forged during Apartheid.
In the artist’s own words, immortalised on the canvass, “Pass on the love, we will win this war/Empower your hearts, empower your minds/Pass on the love!/Gain strength and comfort/Trust in our hearts /Pass on the love/Rescue our people/In unity we stand/Pass on the love!”
Such is Smit’s passion for social transformation, she utilises various media in portraying images, which she feels is fitting to deliver the message of her words she feels compelled to pen down.
In the artist’s own words, she “focuses on the inner turmoil experienced by our disconnectedness from nature and each other.”
Smit also boldly states that she “largely uses her art and poetry as activism.” She goes on to state, “To re-establish control of our own thought processes and not to be controlled by historic societal values, media and most importantly political, economic and social influencers.”
Smit further adds, “I use my art and poetry in activism for the various social causes I advocate for. These include literacy, mental illness, gender based violence, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ and hunger.
Smit is also a champion and advocate for Literacy. She states, “I believe in the power of Literacy. I am involved in various Literacy projects where I strive to promote literacy in a country where manipulation on both political and economical level is rife.”
Smit believes that, “Once literacy is established, informed decisions based on ethical thinking is far more feasible and that Literacy is a right, not a privilege.
She further confirms that in order to be able to accommodate various Literacy projects and feeding schemes, she has founded ‘The Ballad Literacy Foundation’ in 2020.
Smit has been published globally and the launch of ‘Ballad’ will coincide with her interview and placement on the website of ‘The Valiant Scribe, New York USA, as Featured Artist and Poet.
‘Ballad’ is a bespoke, limited edition Homeware Range, including an eclectic, artistic Wallpaper range.
With essence of Victoriana in her designs and channelling her muse, Virginia Woolf in the famous Apple Orchard in Grantchester, England along with Rupert Brooke looking on from the Old Vicarage, Val Smit is destined for artistic and literary greatness, representing South Africa on a global platform as a social, artistic and entrepreneurial creative ambassador.
© Don Beukes
Don Beukes is a South African, British and EU writer and blogger. He is the author of ‘The Salamander Chronicles’, ‘Icarus Rising-Volume 1’ (ABP), an ekphrastic collection and ‘Sic Transit Gloria Mundi’ (Concrete Mist Press). He taught English and Geography in both South Africa and the UK. His poetry has been anthologized in numerous collections and translated into Afrikaans, Persian, French, Kreole (Mauritius) and Albanian. He was nominated by Roxana Nastase, editor of Scarlet Leaf Review for the ‘Best of the Net’ in 2017 as well as the Pushcart Poetry Prize (USA) in 2016. He was published in his first SA Anthology ‘In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection’ in 2018 (Libbo Publishers) and his second ‘Cape Sounds’ in 2019 (Gavin Joachims Publishing Cape Town). He is also an amateur photographer and his debut Photographic publication appeared in Spirit Fire Review in June 2019.