Tankwa Artscape Residency

Tankwa Artscape Residency

Tankwa Artscape Residency at Stonehenge Private Reserve

Tankwa Artscape Residency, founded in 2017, is a yearly FREE artist residency for 10-12 national and international artists in the Tankwa Karoo, South Africa.

It is a two week residency for artists working in the fields of site-responsive sculptural art, spoken word/sound, movement/performance art. It is a unique experience in the desert for the most part using found materials or/and body and vocal performance, diving extremely deep into the creative sources. 

Applications for permanent artworks are encouraged, however go through an additional selection process.  Much is ephemeral or performance based, and some of the work involves the gathering of experiences / ideas / possibilities that will translate into artworks at a later stage.

The conceptual focus is on interacting creatively with the vast environment of the Tankwa Karoo and the history, politics, ecology and culture of the place. Tankwa Artscape aims at providing a space for conscious confrontation of the artist with harsh, relatively unspoiled nature. Each artist then deals with this confrontation in an individual creative way, giving rise to artworks that render this confrontation visible, audible, touchable.

Here you can find more information on historyecology and geology of the Tankwa Karoo.

Documentation is through video, photography and audio podcasts. We provide a group of photographers / videographers to document artworks and artistic processes.

We ask for a modest application fee of R 200 (EUR 20 for international artists) which partly finances the residency.


Imagine a desert floor, undisturbed by human traffic. It’s not the absence of life that is so dramatically visual. It is a few million years old retrospective of ancient seabed and cataclysmic geological events in Earth history, and the footprint of storms and water flow in the riverbeds. Vast pans nudge aside scrub and vlei and gentle hills and land, which drop outside of the quick glance, towards a perimeter of deep-set mountain horizon.

Across some of the expanse of tight scrub and dark flatland there is a bicycle track that may have traversed this space anytime between two weeks and twenty years ago; a rut has embedded itself into spongy soil between the rocks. Weathering has deepened the impression, the impact from which erosion has begun.

You could say it defines the beginnings of consciousness, that bicycle track. It represents a challenge that will always be here: to what extent should this kind of impact be acceptable. And where is the compromise?

As an artist how do we respond to this landscape in a way that pays respect to the unique desert aesthetic?

The original ‘gate-keepers’ of the land here lived light on the ground. Who should be the present and future ‘curators’ of this landscape, and what responsibility comes with that curatorship?

It is the artist who is able to leave another kind of impression, a way of seeing that can affect the conscious gaze of anyone passing or experiencing their work. In the end, if the art is offered with the right intention, the aim of this project has been fulfilled.

Considering what is the ‘right intention’ is where the work begins.

Themes of shelter versus open space, nourishment versus scarcity, protection versus vulnerability start to define what is naturally happening in that landscape.

The fauna, flora, geology and history of the Tankwa and its people will further inform artistic concepts.

Call for applications for Tankwa Artscape 13-27 April 2024 open

Deadline for applications 15 December 2023

Collaboration and Conversation

We encourage collaboration between artists. Everyone who participates at and contributes to Tankwa Artscape is perceived as a creative – this specifically includes caterers, supportive assistants, photographers and videographers – we all come together to create something very special. This “sanctifies” the creative space, ensuring consideration and participation from all as well as appreciation for all contributions.

We encourage conversation across all art forms, Tankwa Artscape is a chance for all participants to converse, to ask questions, to discuss concepts, to laugh loudly, to share your experiences and to tell stories.

Locations for artworks

Stonehenge Private Reserve is a Nature Reserve, therefore locations for artworks are carefully chosen so as to not disturb the unspoiled terrain. The selected sites are attractive and interesting in a variety of ways, and have all experienced prior disturbance or human intervention.


We will have photographers/videographers on site to document the artistic processes of your artworks

Financial support

  • We are not able to pay travel or artist fees. We can send a letter of invitation to you to seek travel funding from your country’s cultural agencies or princeclausfund.org
  • Accommodation is in tents in a desert camp, meals are delicious and both are free.
  • We offer limited financial support for material needed and limited transport for that. Bear in mind that Stonehenge is 130km away from the nearest shop, so any material needs should be planned well in advance.
  • Pick-ups from and drop-offs at Cape Town airport, 5h away, can be organized.


Artists own the copyright to their artworks, however Tankwa Artscape and Tankwa Tented Camp may use images/videos for publication.

Application fee: 20$

Website link: https://tankwaartscape.co.za/

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