Extant Rewilding / Living Sculpture
Io Makandal | Extant Rewilding
Living Sculpture, Jukskei River, Water For The Future, Johannesburg.
01.01.21 – on-growing
Text by Jess Webster
Extant Rewilding(2021) is a living sculpture made by Johannesburg artist Io Makandal (1987-).
Composed of concrete debris, sand, clay, soil and seeds, the work symbolizes the relationship between living and dying in the modern-day chronicles of nature and industry, urban ecology and architecture.
Piles of concrete rubble, the result of development or repair, punctuate the city of Johannesburg. Subtly shifting one’s associations with this waste matter, the artist has shaped the pile into a mound that resonates with ancient cairns – those ritual sites of burial and memory that are found the world over.
The mound is also womb-like in its function as an atmospheric condenser. As it draws moisture back into ground-water levels, the mound becomes a site of gestation and germination. In the center stands a pillar of sand, soil, and clay, encasing endangered Soweto Highlands Grassland seeds. The pillar represents a phallus that will slowly break down and sow the seeds, covering the concrete with wild grass to create an alternative terra-scape in the brownfields of Johannesburg city.