South African Artist Simon Bannister "Drawing With Light"


“Drawing with light” is a series of playful artworks by Simon Bannister, a visual artist practicing predominantly in the field of land art. He’s also the 2013 David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year.

Simon truly portraying his artwork through a 'frame'

“The Digital Tree of Knowledge” and the “World AIDS Day Heart” are Simon Bannister installations that invite participants to experience art in a collaborative way in a very new (and creative) South Africa.

The Digital Tree of Knowledge

GWF mix (113)

Plug into the Tree, download videos and educational games, and connect to the world wide web … all from a small village in rural Africa. When Simon began work on this installation, he invited the teachers at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre to write out their dreams and add them to the Tree’s “roots”.

A totem of access to world-class education at Good Work Foundation’s Hazyview Digital Learning Centre (HDLC), Terabytus Digitata has become famous the world over. This is a one terabyte tree that connects students to the world, but it does so much more, and, as Simon says: “We wanted to create a meeting place connected with the virtual, creating an infinite branching of minds, wires and ideas, held strong by the roots of our humanity. Exploring the growth of the human mindscape and environment, may this work provide a boundless resource of learning and sharing for many years to come.”

World Aids Day Heart


The World Aids Day Heart was a piece of living art “threaded” by hundreds of hands.

I spoke about “Drawing with light” at the beginning of this article because when I first saw the electric lines of Simon’s elephant, I loved the surprise. Simon is one of South Africa’s preeminent, award-winning artists who isn’t afraid to gather old wood, collect a bunch of stones, or, in this case, turn on a torch.


An elephant drawn with light.

More than that – and much more significant – for me the title, “Drawing with light”, sums up a large body of Simon’s work. Here’s an individual who is finding inspiration with nature, but who is keen to share that, and also, to help other people – people who perhaps do not consider themselves artists – find their creativity via a connection with the wild.

As Simon says, “self-expression is the essence of the individual’s journey. We are all creative, your nature just needs to be discovered.”

Rich Laburn
Rich Laburn is filmmaker, photographer and writer who is based at Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. Spending his time capturing scenes of the wild and communicating the beauty of the African bushveld, he runs the Londolozi Blog as a way to entertain and engage people wishing to visit these wild lands.
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