04 – 21.04.2012



An exhibition by Louis Minnaar & Maaike Bakker

From the minds of two young thinkers in a purple-flowered-city
This fantastic tale emerges, mysterious and gritty:
A sloth, on a terrible journey, hoping to recover what he’s lost;
banks will be flooded, lines will be crossed.

Pretorian visual artists Louis Minnaar and Maaike Bakker present a twisting narrative exhibition of collaborative visual artworks complemented by the words of Jaco van der Merwe


Based in Pretoria, Louis Minnaar operates as a director, animator, illustrator, graphic designer and general visual artist. He has been practicing as a freelance visual artist since 2005. Since completing his degree in Visual Communication (majoring in video) Louis has produced music videos for artists such as VANCOKE KARTEL, DIE HEUWELS FANTASTIES, FLASH REPUBLIC and AKING, as well as taking part in over 40 exhibitions locally and internationally. Louis received the animation prize at the 2008 Mnet Edit Awards for “Henri”, and has been nominated as a finalist in several local and international film & video festivals.

Louis Minnaar returns to Salon91 after his phenomenally successful multi-media solo exhibition Originale hosted by the gallery during June 2009


Salon91 is thrilled to welcome the multi-talented, Maaike Bakker from Pretoria, to the gallery for the first time. Bakker holds a BA in Visual Arts, and an MA in Fine Art from the University of Johannesburg. The artist’s creative output ranges from installation & conceptual art to more light-hearted, offbeat illustrations & raw paintings.

Maaike has exhibited in Johannesburg, Cape Town, London and Berlin.
She was selected as a finalist for the Sasol New Signatures competition during 2005 and 2009, and also made it to the top 10 of the prestigious Absa L’atelier art competition during 2009.




One particularly gloomy day, in what may well have been morning
A gentle sloth knew that he was awake, as he heard himself yawning
And, whilst stretching out his tender limbs to meander through the timber
A sudden pang cut through his heart; a dreadful, aching shiver
“I’m done for! All is lost!” he cried, and nearly lost his grip
He saw the wound his claws had made; the wood was bleeding syrup
“What’s the matter, young climber?” boomed the Tree’s golden song
“I’ve never heard you speak before, something must be wrong!”
“It’s hard to s-s-say,” groaned the sloth, in an awful, hoarse stutter
“A piece of my heart has disappeared, a part I c-c-cannot utter”
“I know the feeling, I was once a seed,” hummed the tree compassionately
And then, rather mysteriously, muttered something about a journey
The sloth looked down, his brooding frown reflected in a mirror
And then he knew that what he sought lay below him, in the river

He clutched the water by the tail and plunged into its depths
The currents pulled with all their strength and tried to steal his breath
But he held his nerve, never losing his hold, for sloths are awesome swimmers
And so began his lonely odyssey in the slipstream of the river

Two glowing eyes rose from the deep, a sea monster with razor teeth!
Defeat? Well, if you thought a sloth was always slow, you’d be deceived
With lightning jabs the sloth swung arms designed in ancient warfare
In a matter of moments the leviathan’s corpse sank unknowingly back into its lair

A storm swelled suddenly in the sky above the slippery, silky surface
Sapping the sloth’s self-belief, slowly suffocating his sense of purpose
Storm clouds sliced the river into a ragged, jagged snake, spitting and hissing
As the tempest raged, the sloth regained a small part of what he had been missing

For what seemed like weeks the clouds maintained their shattering downpour
Electric bolts shot through the sky, screaming through the terrible ring of thunder roaring
There was one specific noise that seemed to echo into the sloth’s shuddering chest
A vibration of sound waves that urged him deeper and farther into his quest

Reluctantly, one afternoon the sun peered through the clouds
The sloth rejoiced, he was weak and weary from his efforts not to drown
But within minutes the fiery ball had blazed the riverbank’s mud into dry soil
And fate’s pendulum swung through another dark arc as the river began to boil

The heated silt began to drift haphazardly between the bubbles
Colliding and tangling with debris from the storm in piles of floating rubble
The river swelled, and broke its banks, spilling out to form a giant lake
As the sloth steered for shore, with an empty heart, he wondered if his journey had been a mistake

An undercurrent grabbed his heel, reeling him suddenly outward, just inches from the land
The sloth’s resistance had at last been broken; and the river led him by the hand
The droning voice of breaking water surged from around the approaching bend
And the shattered sloth stretched out limply in the current, ready to embrace his end

It took a while for the sloth to realise that the voice was droning words
The River had been calling his name, waiting patiently to be heard
With faded courage, the sloth succeeded in stammering a faint reply
And, to his greatest surprise, found himself staring into a tremendous eye

“It is I,” said the watery voice, “that you have been swimming in for a time;
I am not what you think I am, in fact most of me is in your mind.”
The sloth recoiled in disbelief as the River gushed into the massive form
Of a silvery blue Snake with glistening scales, war-torn and weather-worn
“I know what it is that you’re missing,” hissed the Snake, “and I might be wrong,
But the thing that you’ve been looking for has been very near you all along.”
The Snake exposed its dripping fangs, drawing its jaws open wide
And with no hesitation, the sloth drew new strength and leapt inside
Being swallowed whole was much like swimming, and the sloth sunk swiftly
Eventually reaching a glimmering Object that he had no difficulty in lifting
And as he held it up in wonder, the River howled out the deepest moan
For underneath the thing the sloth had found was an abyss of ancient stone
And in a few amazing seconds, as only such a body of water could,
The River disappeared, leaving the sloth, alone, feeling relatively good.


Exhibition shots The River:
Courtesy of revolution daily.


Louis Minnaar Artworks:


Maaike Bakker Artworks:


Opening night:


Litnet – Art Interview:
Louis Minnaar and Maaike Bakker talk about collaboration, illustration and sloths.

Read more


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