It may be named the Knysna Seahorse, but Sedgefield is where you will now find the most impressive tribute to the tiny creature that makes the town’s estuaries its home. On Tuesday, 18 April, local NPO Masithandane unveiled their latest mosaic masterpiece at the foot of the dune that beach-lovers climb to reach the magnificent Myoli Beach.
“Sedgefield, here, at last, is the seahorse you’ve been asking for!” Jacky Weaver, Chairperson of Masithandane, introduced their latest addition to the Sedgefield Mosaic Route before Ward 1 Councillor Levael Davis and mosaic artist Hyla Hartlief removed the “wrapping” to reveal the stunning artwork underneath.
The towering two-metre-high installation comprises a giant sparkling mosaic statue of the Knysna Seahorse mounted on one of the original fishing boats used at Gericke’s Point, donated by Christopher Fredericks. For more than 40 years, many community members’ lives depended on this boat. The historically significant Gericke’s Point provides the distinctive, distant western backdrop to Myoli Beach.
The shimmering seahorse sculpture is Masithandane’s second contribution to the #KnysnaArtProject, a collaboration between Visit Knysna (the Greater Knysna area’s destination marketing organisation), the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Art Society. It is also the last installation in the funded #KnysnaArtProject, aimed at encouraging visitors to branch out and explore some of the area’s lesser-known gems by creating interactive outdoor artworks. These installations also provide the basis for the Knysna Art Route, which maps out all the galleries, artist studios, ‘makerspaces’ and more that can be explored by art enthusiasts visiting the Greater Knysna area.
Jacky says the idea for the seahorse came from the community. At the launch of the Love Bug mosaic in 2021, she met Christopher Fredericks and heard the story of the fishing boat, which he later donated. The Fredericks’ boat, which had lay hidden in his backyard for over a decade and was beginning to decay, has now been given new life as the impressive base for the giant concrete seahorse.
The resin “starfish” steps up to the boat are also significant. They incorporate metal sinkers collected along the coastline as part of the Strandloper Project. Mark Dixon, the project’s founder, approached Jacky with the idea of including the sinkers in one of their installations to draw attention to these environmental hazards.
Sedgefield’s Mosaic Art Route now includes more than 65 mosaic works worthy of the 90 minutes it takes to complete a self-drive tour. Aside from the Sedgefield1 Love Bug, the route takes you past several other iconic sculptures worthy of a selfie pic or two – among them the Slow Papa Tortoise and Heartbeat of Sedgefield heart on the Main Rd, Marinara with its view of Gericke’s Point, and the interactive Octopus Garden at the Scarab Market on the outskirts of town.
Jacky would like to pay tribute to the artists who made this latest creation a reality. Christo Pieterse, the man who is responsible for creating the Seahorse form and the design and making of the chock on which the boat rests, Sophia Nguma who has been part of the team from the beginning and says the art of mosaic is now a part of her, Ricardo Baadjies, who learned to mosaic nine years ago, Petrus Kiewiets, who lives in Karatara, is a born artist and passionate about his mosaic work, and last but by no means least, the design artist and leader of the team Hyla Hartlief.
“She has such talents and gifts and gives of them and of herself so freely –– an absolute dynamo when it comes to mosaics,” says Jacky, “We thank God for all these wonderful folk he has blessed us with, and their amazing gifts and talents.”