Recycled Brand Names on African Houses
by Cheryl Goodenough
Anyone who has lived in South Africa will look at Elzette Geniss art with fondness. Elzette, who is 14 years old, creates art that depicts African houses and incorporates slogans from recycled materials. The piece she has shared with us features labels from brands including Black Label, Castle Lager, Rama, Ceres, African Bank, Twinsaver, Oral B, Wild Bean, All Gold Baked Beans and I&J. As well as the house, the piece has cows, a pig and a car outside in the property. Her creations are really innovative and full of creativity.
As a Year 9 student at Murgon State High School in Queensland, Elzette already has what has been referred to in her local media as an art career. It all started in South Africa when Elzette entered the eThekwini entrepreneur competition and come third. The objective of the competition was to create a business venture that reflected life in South Africa. Elzette wanted to provide a product for tourists visiting South Africa for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. As a result of this exposure her work ended up in galleries in Reunion and Madagascar.
At the end of last year, Elzette moved with her family as permanent residents to Australia, where her dad was offered a contract on a cotton farm just outside Murgon. Elzette now boasts a wall of art at the Goomeri Art Gallery, recently selling her first painting, which has been taken by the new owner to the United States. Art is not the only reason Elzette is making a name for herself. She is also a level four gymnast, as well as a level two swimmer. She was a member of the KwaZulu-Natal gymnastics team, participated in art competitions in South Africa, was part of the Upper South Coast swimming team, was on a rhythmic gymnastics team that came second in South Africa and received the victrix ledorum for swimming in her final year at Amazimtoti Primary School. She has continued her extra curricular successes here in Australia receiving swimming champion in her age group at Murgon State High School earlier this year and she continues to participate in gymnastics competitions.
After mentioning in an article in the South Burnett Times that she would love to go to a school in Toowoomba, she was invited to Fairholme College for an interview and offered forty percent off her tuition. Her challenge, however, is that the boarding fees are high and it will be difficult for her parents to pay the remainder of the tuition fees. She says that the art school at Fairholme is amazing and would make a big difference in developing her art.