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Rosalind Cleaver


Exploring the gap between art and science, Rosalind uses her artworks as a platform to highlight her concerns for and raise awareness of our shrinking biodiversity. Her work is informed by scientific enquiry and natural history display. Rosalind teaches part-time at the University of Johannesburg.
She lives in Krugersdorp.


Title Hard Pressed
Medium Mixed media
Dimensions 230 x 170 x 100mm (approx)
Edition Unique
Price POA


Hewitt’s Ghost frog is a critically endangered, endemic species highly adapted to the swift-flowing, permanent mountain streams of the Elandsberg range in the Eastern Cape. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the greatest threat to the Hewitt’s Ghost frog is its loss of habitat through afforestation.


The Elandsberg slopes and its sensitive riparian zones are covered by commercial pine forests. Take-up of water and build-up of plant litter in the rivers (a problem further exacerbated by fallen, dead or burnt trees) from these exotics and the degradation of the riparian zone through past inappropriate forestry practice pose a serious threat to the Hewitt’s Ghost frog.


Wood harvested from pine forests such as those of the Elandsberg is used in commercial paper production where, through mechanical and chemical processes, the pine tree is transformed into ‘the page’. This artist’s book interrogates the transgressions of this page (as environmental agitator) while probing its boundaries (limitations).


The book is in the form of a compact flower press. The covers are made from pine plywood and the pages are of heavy paper reminiscent of that used in a press. On each page is a rubbing taken from a black-and-white image of the pine forest, or of an enlarged image of paper fibres. On the verso are drawings of different aspects of the pine tree and the pine forest. Some pages have coloured inserts onto which drawings of the tadpole development are attached.


The arrangement of the images hint at the way the frog is trapped in the pine forests. The tightening action of the press alludes to the way humans, through their cultivation of pine plantations for paper production, have put pressure on the limited Ghost frog population.