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Alvin Mark Schroeder

an African paradox


Charcoal drawing is a difficult medium to master, but a masterful medium when well learned. With only varying shades of black available to conjure up impressions of all the colours and situations one wishes to commit to canvas, the artist needs to be drawing deep from the soul - if believable results are to be obtained. This is my challenge but one I enjoy as it keeps me close to the roots of the peoples who first used the methods I use, to produce their art works.



Charcoal must have been one of the earliest of drawing tools, probably predating the controlled use of fire. Natural fires provided bountiful supplies of charcoal in handy pencil-like forms. And certainly early man must have discovered its use as a drawing tool. Probably only its lack of durability had robbed us of the many images that were produced countless years ago.


For me to choose charcoal as a medium may well seem unusual, however, through my most interesting ancestry, I believe I qualify very well to be allower to work at mastering this tool. After all, anyone studying my artwork that is saturated with the essence of Africa, will realise that my German name does not define correctly, who I really am.


I like to be a buy artist and have loads of ambition backed by heaps of energy. I have travelled an interesting but not easy path to where I am now. It has taken me to a number of learning institutions and experiences, to faraway countries, and to meetings with other nations.


But clearly I know this is only the beginning of a long and productive road ahead. My enterprise AMS Creations has taken formal root only a few years ago and I am keen to put all my studies and experience to full use to turn my long-time dreams into reality.


So who is Alvin Mark Schroeder?

On my working holiday in Germany during 2008


With a German somewhere in my recent ancestry, I carry the name Schroeder, but inside I carry the soul of Africa in my blood and roots, handed down to me by my ancient African ancestors, the Koisan.


For those non-South Africans who do not know about the Koisan, they are the early inhabitants of Southern Africa who fell prey to a number of invasions from other African nations and foreign colonisers. Yet thankfully much of their rich culture remains known through rock paintings and handed-down traditions from thousands of years ago. And even more is being discovered all the time.


I like to work to capture in my pictures, all the images that lie deep within my, but also I try to add to the growing collection of documentation that depicts the lives and knowledge of this original African people.


To carry the message better and parhaps a bit more authentically, I add a touch of antiquity to my pictures by dyeing the canvas in rooibos tea, and coating this to preserve its colouring. The colouring is a bonus as it contributes colour to the images drawn onto the canvas. This parchment appearance also forms a perfect background to the charcoal drawings that I sketch, showing scenes of African nature, as well as the lifestyle of the Koisan.


It s a constant joy for me to put charcoal to canvas and watch as my pictures come to life, transforming the knowledge and imagination inside me into beautiful African scenes. I hope you will also find them beautiful.




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Last Updated 23 December 2010 09:11