As a child growing up in Zambia, Astrid’s world was a kaleidoscope of inquisitiveness and exploration. Many of these elements come through in her paintings which are many layered, reflecting an awareness of social issues, delving into the psyche and the nuances of life in all its facets. As a tiny tot, barefoot and wild amongst a family of creatives, she drew spiders and insects on everything, connecting them with lines from one to the other. On moving the furniture, her parents were astonished to find immense amounts of insect graffiti carefully hidden from sight. She was smitten from the beginning.
Her love of colour and light - and the dance between them - was fully explored during a long career in photography where her pictures were exhibited in galleries across the globe and commissions published in magazines and books (including her own). Life for Astrid has always been a visual canvas of discovery and texture. In stark contrast to her African roots, she was educated in England and had the privilege of experiencing the deep contrasting outlook that comes from knowing two polar worlds. Enamoured with visual expression in all its forms, she gravitated towards the South African film industry, with a position in the Art department as set dresser. From there she went on to be an Art director (winning the Nighthawk award), and added scriptwriting and directing to her artistic repertoire. During this time, she travelled to many different countries documenting everything from culture to environmental issues and the human condition.
Before joining the film industry, she had a studio in the garden on the family farm in Zambia where she would simultaneously paint and grow chillies. During that time, art in Zambia was highly appreciated and she was able to establish herself through the many exhibitions they held. That was 35 years ago and in a full circle, Astrid has come back to her roots to paint once again. This time, it’s from a converted container albeit in the same garden alongside a field of chillies. “Zambia has always been my inspiration, it never fails to offer me sensory fuel, from visual texture to the smell of dust that waits for the rain, it somehow gets under your skin.”
Oils are her favourite medium. “They’re just so fluid,” she explains. One can expect multiple stories from her paintings, fragments of poetry or a single pensive word, elements of collage, a heart piercing show of grief or untold joy, they’re emotive and thought provoking never allowing the viewer to tire of the many themes, anecdotes and fables that continuously unfold. Titles like ‘A second can count’, ‘Atonement’, ‘Change’, ‘Phoenix Rising’ are explorations everyone identifies with. Filled with humanitarian issues, self-reflection and the essential questions of life, they become companions and meditations on the journey of life and the questions we ask ourselves.