Long, long ago, when the world was new and early man roamed the African savannah, both predator and prey, he was entirely dependent on the circumstances and vagaries of his natural environment. Eventually he learnt that if he was to survive, he would have to overcome the obstacles and become the hunter more frequently than the hunted.

There was something that made him different from most other animals: he realised that he lived in a physical as well as a spirit world and that somehow the two were connected. To survive, you had to have access to both worlds. So, while he was developing more effective hunting tools, he was also trying to understand this duality.

He started to paint on the walls of the caves where he slept, honouring the spirits of the animals which gave him life, and at night he and his family sang and danced in the light of the moon. They related stories about how they had come to be on the earth and to affirm their humanity. And the stories and the music were passed from one generation to another as an important reminder of what it took to survive…

Fast forward to 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic has taught us many things, but lockdown has thrown into sharp focus just how separated we have become from both the natural world and the world of tangible art. And how necessary they remain for our continued survival. One of the things we longed for most when we were locked in was to get into the mountains and the sea and to have physical contact with not only other humans, but all living beings.

In the Overstrand we have been given a unique opportunity to renew our connection with the worlds of nature and the spirit and to tell our stories to those less privileged. We are surrounded by bountiful examples of unspoilt nature on land and in the ocean and, importantly, passionate individuals who are committed to their protection. Similarly, we have been blessed with access to an array of visual and performance artists second to none. Perhaps there has never been a better time and place to nurture what we have been given and to pass the gift on.

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