Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 16 February 2019

Contemporary Auction
  • Joni Brenner; Drip Drop of Lime

Lot Estimate
ZAR 80 000 - 120 000

About this Item

Zimbabwean/South African 1969-
Drip Drop of Lime
signed with the artist's initials, dated 2017 and inscribed with the title on the reverse
watercolour on canvas
135 by 170cm excluding frame


Drip Drop of Lime takes its title from a section of the poem written by Lynne Slonimsky that formed the epilogue of the book Life of Bone: Art Meets Science (2011):


A few days after my fifth birthday

In the close blackness of the cradle of mankind

I heard the tale of Mrs Ples

I cried and cried for her two million year solitude

So scared in the dark with only the drip drop of lime to keep her company.1

Brenner’s Life of Bone project – book and exhibition – was centred on the significance of bones for both artists and scientists, a group of whom considered and responded to the first Australopithecus africanus, a juvenile specimen, identified by Raymond Dart in 1924, at Taung in the North West Province of South Africa. Mrs Ples, recalled in the poem, is an adult fossil of this hominid, discovered in 1947 at Sterkfontein, in the Cradle of Humankind.

Moved by the miracle of this preserved fossilized infant skull from so long ago with a perfectly intact full set of milk teeth, and by its resonant connection to our own species, Brenner began work on a series of paintings depicting this tiny skull. Drip Drop of Lime, made in 2017, reflects Brenner’s shift to working on a large scale.

Joni Brenner, 2018

  1. Joni Brenner, Elizabeth Burroughs and Karel Nel (eds) (2011) Life of Bone: Art MeetsScience, Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

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