Artwork by Bella Knemeyer
Born and living in Cape Town, Bella Knemeyer’s inter-disciplinary work navigates an ongoing interest in the alignment of eco-system services and the arts in support of a placemaking that enhances quality of public life and socio/bio-diversity.
Bridging both research and practice, Bella Knemeyer’s work navigates public life, memory and placemaking and their impact on the cultural lives of cities. Her background encompasses sculptural practice (BAFA, UCT), and a Masters in Landscape Architecture (MLA, UoE), which in combination explores the alignment of the arts and eco-system services in support of a placemaking that brings together the widest possible range of users. Currently based at the African Centre for Cities (ACC), she undertakes design-led research, collaboratively exploring findings through public participation, exhibitions and publications.
Within her practice, sculpting ‘quotes’ has offered a way into making sense of urban surroundings. The piece Avenida Emilia Dausse (2019) posits an anecdotal reflection on the ways in which deeply contested inherited architecture is grappled with in present life. It wonders about a curious observation where a damaged building, vividly poised in its mid-century colonialism, is seen mended and cared for with contemporary materials and patterns – fusing to cast a single shadow.
‘Gautam Bhan’s writing on Southern urban theory, characterises it in the interstices of always having to repair that which it did not break, how to incessantly assume the responsibility to fix, and how to plain be indifferent to stuff being broke.’
AbdouMaliq Simone, 2019