Prince Albert Gallery 11 May to 18 July 2022
The Prince Albert Gallery celebrates its 20th anniversary by honouring the late Hekkie Moos.
Who was “Meester” Hekkie Moos? He (born in Oudtshoorn on 16 January 1940 – died in the Prince Albert Hospital on 15 December 2020), taught English and Art at the Prince Albert Primary School in North End, he created art in which the Mother archetype dominates, he was also choirmaster of the Dutch Reformed Church in North End. During the week he taught, produced art and on Sundays, clad in his black gown positioned himself in front of the choir then raised the tuning fork and divine music followed. When he was free of his duties, he captured images of women and children, usually girls, not only on quality paper but any odd piece of scrap such as cash slips and bottoms of cigarette boxes. With ‘tuning forks’: his Bic pens, pencils, pastels, charcoal, conté crayons, paintbrushes, even his wife’s eye shadow, rouge, lipstick; he made music for the eye. Deeply devout, his obsessive accumulating pieces of throwaway paper, recalls the Lord’s command: “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost” (St John 6:12).
At the beginning of his career, Moos made a study of Impressionism and Post Impressionism. Eventually, the impact of Expressionism took over and the art of Edvard Munch (1863-1944) appealed to him. Consequently, one of the most fascinating discourses ensued in South African art. The Young Couple by Moos of the Karoo interacts with The Kiss and Vampire by Munch of Norway. Sensitively Moos captures the intimacy between two teenagers, showing the boy in profile and the girl in the face. Their eyes are closed, shutting out their surroundings. Their intimacy recalls both abovementioned pieces by Munch. Moos fits the boy’s profile into the oval of the girl’s impassive face. Similar to the Vampire she absorbs her partner and an aspect of the archetypal great mother manifests itself.
It is in the portrait of his wife Glenda, who bore him three daughters, that Moos explores the archetypal matron. She, dressed in an elegant white nightgown reigns from the matrimonial bed. Nothing escapes her scrutiny. Above her head against the wall hangs a painting of a reclining nude. Thus, the twofold aspect of matrimonial bliss is expressed: passing and enduring. As a result, the nude personifies eternal happiness as temporal trappings like clothes are unimportant. Somewhere in the open-air two young women meet. The one in the forefront with her back turned to the viewer opens her hands raising her arms. She hails and blesses the humble lady who demurely stands in front of her and listens with her bowed head. The one in the forefront, dynamic in pose, transforms into the angel forecasting the birth of the Saviour. The word is spoken and the humble listener, Mary, is impregnated and will deliver a child. In this ordinary encounter there is no need for halos or angelic wings, the white of the angel’s garment and in the words of T. S. Elliot, ‘the blue of Mary’s colour’ do suffice.
There are two exceptional instances in which men dominate the scenes: The Magi and The Shepherds. Both groups are en route to a designated place. Soon the wise men of the East will start their journey, following the star to Jerusalem. Subsequently, they will pay their respects in Bethlehem and by divine message learn not to return to Jerusalem. Joyfully with arms and staff raised into the air, the shepherds keep rushing through the night on their way to the designated place.
The Prince Albert Gallery will celebrate the art of Hekkie Moos in a retrospective exhibition from 11 May until 18 July 2022.