Delta Wilderness

With my upcoming exhibition, Delta & Desert: Journeys into the Wilderness only a few weeks away, I thought I’d take a break from the studio and bring you a little bit of background to the theme.

The wilderness is something that has always interested me, both on a literal and metaphorical level, and having been brought up in both Zimbabwe and Botswana, I have spent much of my life either living in or exploring some of the most beautiful wild places in Southern Africa.  It is no surprise, therefore that the bush and all that it entails has been a major source of inspiration for much of my work.

‘Wilderness’ is a debatable term these days, and there are times when I wonder whether it actually still exists, despairing over this over populated, over developed world, where just the thought of something unexplored gives us license to bulldoze our way in, and exploit it.

The call of a jackal in the wilderness

The call of a jackal in the wilderness

Although exploitation is rife is in Southern Africa, there are however, still places that one can go to feel a sense of the wild, and one of these places is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. This vast inland delta is situated in the north western section of the country and is approximately 18,000 sq. km’s in size. The Okavango River originates on the Benguela Plateau in S.E Angola and enters Botswana at Mohembo. After a 500 metre drop, the land levels out in Botswana, which causes the main Okavango River to divide into a number of rivers, floodplains and smaller channels, forming the Okavango Delta system. The resultant slow pace of the river allows for sedimentation and the establishment of the swampy vegetation.

As teenagers, we used to fly in and out of the delta on a regular basis as my father was a pilot and he often had work up there. We were based in Francistown, which was a relatively short distance away, and in time I will write a fuller account of this period of my life. Suffice it to say that the memory of those trips has remained deep in my psyche, and has influenced much of what I do now.

A picture of me in the Okavango Delta 1970

A picture of me in the Okavango Delta 1970

So my recent trip to Botswana was one of those rare opportunities to go and see for myself whether the playground of my youth was still as wild and untouched as I remember it. Although there were obviously changes, mainly the result of the mushrooming safari industry, overall I was not disappointed and was thrilled to be back in this unbelievable place.

A view of the Okavango Delta from the air

A view of the Okavango Delta from the air

A view of the Okavango Delta from the air

A view of the Linyanti River, part of which forms the border with Namibia

An aerial view of a section of the delta

An aerial view of a section of the delta



A flight over the Okavango is an exhilarating experience, to have one’s nose pressed against the plane window, as one scans the papyrus patchwork below. It is a vast and watery landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see. The river and all its tributaries form a dense maze of water and floating papyrus, that creates an ever changing, ever moving scene.

Most people fly into the delta by light aircraft and land at one of the many sand airstrips that have been built to accommodate the safari industry, and the drive from the airstrip to the camps can be a great opportunity to view game, large herds of which can be seen grazing quietly amongst the long grass. The trees that grow on the islands in the delta are magnificent and vary in species according to the area.

Driving from the airstrip to our camp

Driving from the airstrip to our camp

A typical view of the papyrus vegetation

A typical view of delta vegetation

A view across the water

The view from my tent

The Okavango is home to all of Africa’s big game and a multitude of smaller mammals, fish, insects, and birds, and to lie in bed at night, listening to the sounds of the animals, grunting and swishing their way through the water, it is truly Africa at its best.

Elephant crossing the Linyanti River

Elephant crossing the Linyanti River

An egret catches a ride on the back of a buffalo

An egret catches a ride on the back of a buffalo

There is so much that one can attempt to say about the Okavango Delta, but words cannot really do justice to the experience of spending two weeks in this paradise, so in my exhibition, which is just the beginning of what I hope will become a much greater body of work, I have tried to bring the viewer close up to some of the things I saw, and to share just a whisper of the magnificent delta magic.

Another day in paradise

Another day in paradise

A few months after this trip, I had an opportunity to visit the Richtersveld, so in my next post, I will show some images of the desert.

Categories: Exhibitions, Inspiration, Landscapes | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Festival 2013 Exhibition

There’s a flurry of activity in the studio at the moment, and with only a month to go, there’s not much time left until my exhibition opens at the Carinus Arts Centre, Grahamstown. This exhibition will be a Fringe event at the National Arts Festival 2013.

The exhibition, entitled Delta & Desert: Journeys Into the Wilderness will be opening on Wednesday 26th June. All are welcome.

To give you a hint of what is to come, here is the exhibition poster:

Poster 2

An exhibition of recent works, inspired by my journeys into the Okavango Delta of Botswana, and the Richtersveld of South Africa.

I will be bringing you more on this shortly…

Categories: Drawing, Exhibitions, Fibre Art, Landscapes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where it all began…

I was going through some old photographs the other day, and came upon several  images of my very early batik work. These got me thinking about what inspired that work and what has happened since then that has led me to the point that I am at now.

I have always found it difficult to talk about my work without first explaining where I come from. So, today I am going to share with you the images that I found, and in the next few posts, I will fill in some of the background.

Sally 1982 Batiks web

From a South African magazine article featuring me with my batik work in 1982

A nostalgic interpretation of the river on our old family farm in Zimbabwe

A nostalgic interpretation of the river on our old family farm in Zimbabwe. 1982

A batik depicting a Fish Eagle in the Okavango Delta of Botswana

A batik depicting a Fish Eagle in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. 1981

My artwork documents my life’s journey, so in order to understand the work, you will need to know a little of the road that I have taken. In my next post, I will tell you about the family that I come from and give you a glimpse into a childhood spent playing in African soil.

Categories: Fibre Art, Inspiration, Landscapes | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Another year, more adventures…

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I…I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Although Time is a continuum, the beauty of having it divided up into 12 month segments, is that with the coming of each new year we are given a chance to stop and evaluate the activities of the year gone by and chart our course ahead. As I am in the fortunate position of not having to answer to anyone, I am able to choose what I want to do. The challenge of course, is to know where to put one’s energies so that they will bear the sweetest fruit.

So, after a couple of weeks of relaxation and navel gazing, I have reassessed my situation, made my plans and realize that I have much to look forward to in 2013. The following are just a few of the many things that I will be bringing you news on:

The cover of For Rhino in a Shrinking World: An International Anthology

The cover

white rhino crop web

White rhino – charcoal

  • Weekly drawing classes with residents of Grahamstown

Lisl hard at work and having fun

  • A creative workshop with the 2013 Rhodes University Drama Masters students
The Drama Masters class of 2012

The Drama Masters class of 2012

  • A creative workshop with the 4th year Rhodes University Journalism Design students
The work of a past student

The work of a past student

  • The launch of a new Art Journaling Workshop to be held monthly in my studio from March 2013. More on this to come…
Creative art journal

Creative art journal

  • My solo art exhibition, provisionally titled Delta and Desert: Journeys into the Wilderness, to be held at the Carinus Art Centre, Grahamstown during the National Arts Festival 27th June – 7th July 2013. There will be lots more on this in future posts…
Water Lily - chalk pastel

Water Lily – chalk pastel
Approx 45cm x 40cm
Sally Scott

Come travel with me…

Categories: Drawing, Fibre Art, Landscapes, My Studio, Projects, Workshops | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Blog at