Erf 81: Two decades of living on the fringe Erf 81, also known as the Tamboerskloof Farm, is a retired military magazine and site of layered historical value, currently threatened by urban development. While it has been largely unused by the city, in 1995 André Laubscher and his family moved onto the land and inaugurated a vibrant and creative community there. The farm, now a home and work environment to many people including artists, musicians and writers also operates as a foster home for abandoned children, a place to grow vegetables, a neighbourhood market, a creative centre and a conservancy for animals whose habitat is increasingly endangered.
The farm represents a viable, ethical alternative to the growth of the city where property development ensures access to the city and its resources for wealthy communities alone. Recently, however, the residents of Erf 81 have been served eviction notices putting all that the farm represents and provides at risk. A petition book as well as many online petitions protesting against the evictions have gathered more than two-thousand signatures.
This exhibition hopes to offer an insight into the complex life of the farm through the contemplative images of photographer Ashely Walters. They show Erf 81 as a space situated between the urban city centre and a national park, in which people, animals, as well as the small creatures that inhabit the slopes of Signal Hill, live in a nurturing, creative relationship with each other. Also included here are the sculptures and fragments of sculptural installations of André Laubscher and Dirk Winterbach, two residents of the farm whose works are both deeply aware of the broader social issues they address, and inseparably linked to the land on which they were made.
This is a project of the ‘Other Histories Initiative’ at the Centre for Curating the Archive, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. The initiative is convened by Pippa Skotnes, with Lyndall Cain and Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti.