The project aims to create awareness of Painted Dogs, one of Africa’s most endangered mammals. Where there where more than 5000 a few years ago there are currently less than 500 remaining dogs.
To highlight their plight, I am creating a Geoglyph in the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Area. A Geoglyph is a large-scale motif made on the earth’s surface which is only viewable from above. The world’s oldest known geoglyph (an enormous moose,) was created more than 6,000 years ago in the Ural Mountains of Russia. As far as I’m aware, there are only three geoglyphs in Africa, all situated in South Africa. The Painted Dog will be the 2nd largest geoglyph in Africa. It will measure roughly 180 meters by 80 meters, and will be constructed from an estimated 4000+ rocks dipped in a white paint mixture manufactured on-site with organic lime, salt and prickly pear cactus mucus.
The African painted dog (Lycaon pictus), also known as the painted wolf, Cape hunting dog or African wild dog is so called because of the assorted colours and markings on the coats of the dogs. No two dogs are alike. To emphasize this feature I am “painting” the geoglyph with an assortment of Bushman symbols. The Bushman were local residents in the Vredefort Dome area many, many years ago and there are still remains of Bushman drawings. The Bushmen had great admiration for the Painted Dogs and lived in close harmony with them. I am including Bushman symbols that somehow relate to the dogs and their hopefully abundant future.
The geoglyph will be constructed on the grounds of The Dog and Fig Craft Brewery and Restaurant.
The completed project will boast the following:
- An education centre (an existing structure has already been allocated.)
- A walking route around the outline of the sketch with designated education areas along the way. Educational tours will be hosted on-site which will relay information about the painted dogs, other endangered African animals, geoglyphs across the world and information about the Vredefort Dome World Heritage area where the artwork is situated.
- An organic food forest.
- A meditation/wellness path.
- An ancient maze and a water fountain grid for kids to play in.
- A curio/gift shop.
- A mountain bike route.
- Landart displays and workshops on-site.
A wide range of local experts (ornithologists, landscape architects, tour guides, geologists, artists, conservationists, engineers and environmentalists) have been consulted to assure a non-harmful, safe, environmental footprint is created on-site. The impact of all additions will be beneficial to the local Fauna and Flora.
Donated funds will go towards the cost of constructing the artwork (labour, materials, signage, transport, manufacture of the organic paint etc.) A permanent fundraising initiative will be implemented on-site to collect funds for the Chazen Nature Reserve, a local Painted Dog Breeding Centre and Wildlife Conservation Centre.
CHAZEN NATURE RESERVE
The project will be partnered by the Chazen Nature Reserve, a local Painted Dog Breeding Center. The owner Joe Viljoen, a famous conservationist, heads the breeding centre closely assisted by his son Micha Viljoen. Joe has a passion for African wildlife and is an endless resource of endangered African animals. Joe leads many African Safaris to tourists from abroad and is regularly interviewed by international news channels. Chazen will head the on-site education centre and visits to the Chazen Facilities will be available on request.
TOURISM & JOB CREATION
We believe the geoglyph will substantially benefit tourism to Parys and the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Area. Due to the project jobs will be created as the geoglyph will need to be maintained, the education centre needs to be managed and on-site tours will require staff.
The geoglyph will be constructed by local Parys artist Deon TerBlanche. For further information feel free to contact me at [email protected]
As this is a substantial project, volunteers are invited to participate in the construction of this monumental artwork. Contact Deon to volunteer your services.