The Storylines – those unfolding pathways that cross the landscapes of our lives, invisible journeys in search of who we are, so that we can return to gentleness in a world of belonging.
Inspiring a legacy of personal and environmental change
“We are born without any answers, and will spend our lifetimes in search of who we are and how we fit into this magnificent and mysterious world. I firmly believe that it is a life purpose of each of us to share what our lives have revealed to us, the gifts and insights gained along our life-journeys of discovery, and made into humble offerings so that they might be of value to others as they navigate the trails of their own unfolding lives. This is a touchstone of our common humanity.“
Through the centre of Noel’s life and work runs the emancipating theme of creativity with purpose, offering us opportunities to engage, to encounter a different perspective, to reflect and ultimately redefine our relationship with ourselves, to each other and to the natural world. The projects below are an introduction and overview of some of Noel’s creative journeys in service of his vision of enabling change.
An overview of the Storylines Projects
Sacred Ocean and the Great Whaling Debate
Our relationship with whales can help us see ourselves more clearly, for the dichotomy between those who feel an affinity with these majestic mammals of the deep, expressed by the very human response to whales stranded on a beach, compared to those who treat these sentient beings as a commodity and fire explosive-headed harpoons into them, shows us our potential for empathy or cruelty, two divergent actions at the opposite ends of choice.
Mapungubwe Revisited with WWF South Africa
There are certain species which offer clarity as to the nature of our relationships with the world around us, which at the same time makes visible our relationship with ourselves. The gold rhino of ‘Mapungubwe Revisited’ speaks to this, but it also illustrates how these relationships change over time, from once revering the rhino through a sacred thread of belonging, to a modern day symbol of our de-sensitized greed. Might it be that the rhino will help us see ourselves more clearly, and awaken us to the sacred value of all life?
Over half a million rand was raised through this programme in support of WWF-SA’s rhino conservation work, whilst at the same time inspiring many to look closely at these pertinent issues.
52-Artworks – A Year in Nature
“When I am in nature, it is the experience of inner resonance that awakens me to new subjects and focuses my attention, that spark of inspiration which makes visible a tangible thread between myself and the world in which I live. ’52 Artworks – A Year in Nature’ was developed as a way to inspire that same resonance in viewers by completing and posting a new artwork and an associated thought-journey of the creative process each week for a year, a time of significant artistic challenge, but one which resonated and inspired many readers around the world”.
The Whale Show and other Stories
To slip below the surface into the world of those mysterious ocean travellers, the whales, offers us a glimpse into some of the most extraordinary life forms which share our world, and invites us to re-look at our blue planet home. These stories are easy to tell, for as we enter this azure world where fifty-ton mammals become weightless, it is as if we too become released from the boundaries of our bodies and enter a realm of the imagination, at play with the dolphins or listening to the haunting songs of the humpback whales, of ancient melodies which are heard not in the ear of man, but in the soul of humanity.
Journeys across the Great Divide
To engage the young mind is to embark upon a long-term vision for the future, and so Journeys across the Great Divide was created and presented to groups of learners at the monthly gatherings of Camp Africa, a non-profit organization that sought to offer learners from previously disadvantaged communities a chance to explore the world beyond their neighbourhoods. This talk travelled from the depths of Antarctica, following the migrating whales to their wintering grounds off the Cape coast, into the miracle of the Cape Floristic Kingdom and its unmatched diversity, and along the pathways of the stars, encountering the primary southern hemisphere constellations and the world of celestial bodies.
The IFAW Whale Walk
South Africa has been recognised as one of the premium land-based whale watching destinations in the world, with thousands of visitors traveling to these shores each year to experience unforgettable close encounters with many of the mysterious mammals of the deep. Top of the list are the Southern Right Whales which come very close inshore, not to mention the Humpback and Bryde’s Whales. Over half of the world’s cetacean species can be seen in southern African waters, so the Whale Walk was created as an opportunity to enhance these unforgettable encounters with observational and identification boards placed sensitively along the coastline, first in Hermanus, before being rolled out around the country.
The De Beers Oceans of Africa Species Panels
Commissioned in partnership with the Two Oceans Aquarium and sponsored by The De Beers Group, these twelve panels introduce southern Africa’s most frequently observed species of whales and dolphins by combining original scientific illustrations, paintings, hand-written text and identification notes in purpose built mounts and frames. They are on permanent display in the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Public Displays and Educational Materials
Noel’s extensive array of scientific illustrations, artworks, observational knowledge, whale-watching and research experience have been translated into numerous public displays, educational materials, signage and booklets. These have included the visually-compelling display in the Hermanus Whale Museum, the Enviro-Expo at the Hermanus Whale Festival, and teachers training manuals and workshops.