Sue Maas is a local artist renowned for her wildlife and rural scene paintings. She believes the My Stellenbosch Family Tree initiative can aid in creating unity among the town’s community members through the realisation of being connected as a family.“It can be an amazingly powerful tool in the country to unite people in the same way of thinking, to forget about all the nonsense and the aspects of racism and cultural differences and to…put Stellenbosch on the map,” she said.
Having lived in various African countries, including Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Mozambique, Sue believes responsibility is a great challenge in the mindset of the continent’s population. “One of the biggest problems in Africa is the need to take responsibility,one must not expect others to always be responsible,” she explained.
With the leaf initiative, however, Sue believes each member can realise his or her role and stand ground in being a contributory citizen as part of an interactive community. “It’s going to work if people see ‘I am part of this’. I haven’t just painted this particular leaf, it’s an important commitment I am making to make Stellenbosch a fantastic town that is known worldwide,” the artist esteemed.
Sue is a full time artist residing in Jonkershoek Valley. Her wildlife art sprouted with the observance of game while residing onFothergill Island, Kariba, in Zimbabwe. In 1990, after moving to Lesotho, the artist and her husband, Frik Maas along with some like minded people, founded the Lesotho Conservation Trust. She used her exhibitions to raise awareness around the area’s fragile ecosystem. From Lesotho Sue moved to South Africa where she started a hand painted textile business with her husband’s sister, moving back to Zimbabwe for a brief period she returned to South Africa in 2004 when the family farm was taken.
Although inspired by a variety of artists, she mentioned Zimbabweans Peter Gray and Kim Donaldson [a personal friend from her childhood home Mutare] as some of her favourites. Art has become a lifestyle to Sue as she is open to learn whenever and wherever she goes by exploring new techniques or ideas and teaching herself to perfect it with diligent commitment.
Sue’s art is marked by attention to detail, textural experiments and use of water colours with traits of naivety and humour. About her creation style, the nature-lover said: “I love colour, to capture moods and to depict the essence of Africa. I like the challenge of being able to look at something and to be able to replicate it on a canvas and either having it super real or it can be slightly abstract. It just depends on my mood, what I am feeling at that particular time.”
Qualified with a diploma in Commercial Art from the Bulawayo Art School in Zimbabwe, Sue taught herself fine arts and uses oil painting as her preferred medium though she also paints in water colours and acrylics.