June te Water Sculpture

UPDATE: February 2020 June in her 96th Year

And so the perfect kite, built in love and joy, swept up into the sky bucking and daring the wind to set it forth into a life of freedom. Suddenly its cord snapped and its greatest wish came true. But in the eyes of its creator it was lost for aeons of time ahead.

From this memory onwards my life echoed this ache of love and joy flying away ahead of its time. My life on the one hand was cluttered by poor choices and troubled relationships, but on the other hand I was devoted to the loving of my two precious daughters.

This constant, and my inborn ability and passion in creating and merging with form and mass, was in fact my way of co-creating and mastering that original kite towards a more robust sense of what Freedom means. In my creative world I was completely absorbed finding the sculptural spaces. Every form would stand alone, splendid in its own space of simplicity and harmony. This I now recognize was my energy of aspiration that carried my grand kite high up into the sky, not for one moment dreaming that it would break away and desert me so quickly. I didn’t know it at the time but I became a sculptor that day when I was 10 years old.

My inborn gift was never questioned and was barely recognized in the ‘doing’ of it. The realism of my early carvings moved quickly into abstract, more subtle symbolic universal forms. Although I was the sculptor, the ‘life’ of these creations always revealed their different aspects of wisdom. This happened in meditation or dream mainly after their completion, which greatly contributed to my personal growth throughout the years.

Looking back upon my long and focused creative life, the Silence of my mind was unmistakably evident in the great simplicity of my art forms that were subtly honed stretching into space.

It is only in these recent years that I recognize that I was mastering not only the art of form, but also that of formlessness. It is interesting that if the sculptures are given their space to stand alone, they hold their noble energy beyond their boundary. You cannot master the creation of form, if you too do not merge with its counterpart of the emptiness and formlessness around it and how it ‘shapes’ the space beyond its immediate boundaries.

Finally being unable to work anymore after 75 years, I slowly was lead to recognizing and accepting the impermanence of my life. My sculptures continue to lie clearly and profoundly engraved in my mind. I am still and always will be a Sculptor, although the physically active part of this work has ceased. Now in the silence and stillness of this time of mine, I can clearly recognize the value of the teachings from a lifetime of dedication and focus given with unconditional love to my creative practice. Here now too I remember that innocent grand kite of love and joy, still carrying that same aspiration…and now…I am so happy that it flies free.

I am the kite.The sculptures are kites. I am all the sculptures. I always have been the Love & Joy. I now live in this awareness of deep loving and great thankfulness. At 96 life has evolved into so very much more than I ever expected. Now the love of and for my daughters, and the lifelong devotion to sculpture has brought out the very best of me…and always with the compassionate mind with Akong Rinpoche.OM AH HUNG

June in her workshop

At the beginning of her career June te Water studied for 6 years under three prominent sculptors living in Cape Town. These formative years created her passion for carving in the indigenous woods of South Africa.

For 65 years she has been a committed artist within the South African art world.

My Wonderful Family - 4 Generations from Great Grandmother to Great Grandson.

June in her workshop

Early in her career she was selected and accepted to show her art in both the Sao Paulo and the Venice Bienniale International Exhibitions. She continued to have yearly solo and group showings around South Africa from 1958 through to 2001. She was invited to exhibit her work at various universities and her sculptures are included in libraries, banks and museums. She also has sculptures in private collections throughout the country and in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia.

She works in the abstract as a means of expressing her personal growth and the esoteric concepts of the subconscious. The influence of African deserts in all their simplicity, is clearly seen throughout her highly symbolic artwork. June has admired Georgia O’Keeffe who in her opinion, stands apart from all other artists in her simplicity to express the essential.

“Nowadays in my 80’s I meditate on my Buddhist leanings, living quietly in the great serenity that is now my life. I work within the wisdom of my years which has become the enlightenment of my heart and the joy and passion of my days. I have been physically blessed with the capacity to continue carving and ask for nothing more than to share the feelings and understandings of my realizations through my work. These are indeed my days of abundance.”




Size: (h)100 x (w)90ms

2000. Yellowwood, brass and quartz crystal.

Is the objective witnessing of oneself and the world. The organ-like carving gives a solid base from which the spirit can spring. The hole, going inwards – a core of crystal silence, the still point, the centre that endures.



: Size: (h)110 x (w)43cms

The cosmic egg cracked open to the mystery
And she flew
At once indigo dark and silver white
To and fro across an ever changing moon orb
Dipping, soaring on whisper gusts
Shadowed then crystal bright –
Silhouetted and swallowed in the night.
That beautiful white bird of Truth
Caught mewing in ecstatic agony of wanting
Forever on the wind
Forever seeking
Forever sought.



: Size: (h)80 x (w)13cms 2002.

Wild Olive and bone. From the symbolic egg-shaped base, the life mountain rises from the marrow. The climber suspended from a overhang, with monumental effort then makes the perilous leap onto the cliff face. The seven safety holds are like chakra trials. Arriving at the last of these, clear light surges through a pristine cleft into all that is.



: Size: (h)80 x (w)33cms 1997. Yellowwood and brass.

Sacred space within where movement is ever impending and silence supreme.



: Size: (h)60 x (w)60cms 1993. Yellowwood and Perspex.

The Eagle is the bird of the Sun – a fearless messenger and the King of birds. He stares into the Sun without flinching for his heart is pure. He of the higher spiritual state, sees through the illusion.



: Size: (h)66 x (w)12cms Wild Olive. 2007.

Intent gathering itself to arrive at this very pinprick of time – the immense surge of energy that amasses itself and arches into the immediate moment.



: Size: (h)140 x (w)28cms 2007. Teak & Pine.

Vertically poised, issuing from the womb of the world, he is a symbol of the powerful rising of the unconscious. The magic bridge gives entry into the abode of the gods. The snake swallows the positive and the negative transmuting all dualities.



Size: (h) 200 X (w)120cms Jarrah. 1986.

This carving was conceived from a windswept monolithic rock formation rising vertically out of the horizontal landscape of the Namibian desert. For aeons this ‘presence’ balanced on a silent still-point within the timeless desert wilderness. It was famously known as ‘the Finger of God’ until it eroded and finally collapsed in the early 1990’s. In memory of ‘the Finger of God’, this African icon continues to breathe its vitality and fortitude into the future of this magical continent.



Size: (h)74 x (w)33cms 1985 Yew wood.

Holder of myth and memory.


Oudtshoorn. 1973.
Durban Republican Festival Exhibition. 1981. Judged by Henry Lucie-Smith.
University of Pretoria Art Award. 1988.


William Fehr Collection. Cape Town.
Pietersberg Art Museum.
Pretoria University.
Pretoria Museum.
Montague Museum.
Reserve Bank.
Stellenbosch University
Bloemfontein University.
Oudtshoorn Library


Sao Paula Biennale. 1963.
New Orleans. 1964.
Venice Biennale. 1965.


South African National Gallery. 1965.
Stellenbosch University. 1985.
Pretoria University. 1988.
Bloemfontein University. 1990.


1958 – 2008.


“South African and South West African Artists”. 1900-1969.
“Art and Artists of South Africa.” by Esme Berman.
“South African Artists.” by Harold Jeppe.
“Dictionary of South African Painters and Sculptors.” by Grania Ogilvie.

Curriculum Vitae

1924 Born in Pretoria on 3rd October. Daughter of Hon. & Mrs. C.T. te Water. 1929 – 39 Resident in London.
1941 Finished school at Herschel School, Claremont. Cape Town.
1942 – 44 Studied two years at University of Cape Town Michaelis School of Art,
under sculptor Mitford Barberton.
1945 – 47 Studied two years under Spanish sculptor, Florenci Cuairan.
1956 Returned to Michaelis to study for two years under sculptor Lippi Lipschitz.

1958 Bloemfontein Art Exhibition.
1959 Artists of Fame and Promise.
1959 Solo Exhibition. South African Association of Arts. Cape Town.
1960 Quadrennial.
1961 Cape Salon.
1962 Solo Exhibition. South African Association of Arts. Cape Town.
1963 Sao Paulo Biennale.
1963 Pretoria Contemporary Art Exhibition.
1963 Art – South Africa Today. Durban.
1963 Commissioned portrait of M.de Kock, President of the South African Reserve Bank.
1964 New Orleans Exhibition of South African Art. 1964 Fehr Collection. Rust en Vreugd. Cape Town.
1965 Venice Biennale.
1965 Art – South Africa Today. Durban.
1965 Cape Salon.
1965 Henry Wiggens Gallery.Group Exhibition. Paarl.
1965 Wood Carving Exhibition at National Gallery. Cape Town.
1967 Art – South Africa Today.
1967 South African Rhodesian Fund Exhibition. Pretoria.
1967 Commissioned Trophy for Stellenbosch Simon van der Stel Birthday Festival Committee.
Donated by Sen. Paul Sauer.
1968 Solo Exhibition. South African Association of Arts Gallery, Cape Town.
1968 Solo Exhibition. Bellville Library.
1968 Solo Exhibition. Stellenbosch Museum.
1968 Carving purchased by Desiré International Organisation. South Africa.
1970 New South African Association of Arts Gallery Inaugural Exhibition.
1970 Brevan Gallery. Group Exhibition.Cape Town.
1971 Winter Art Exhibition. Group 51. Johannesburg.
1971 Vigi Gallery. Group Exhibition. Cape Art 71.
1971 Art- South Africa Today. Durban.
1972 Solo Exhibition. South African Association of Arts. Cape Town.
1973 Started private tuition classes.
1973 Langenhoven Memorial Library. Oudtshoorn. Commissioned 9ft. bronze statue of ‘Father Time’ and decorative panel above entrance to library.
1975 South African Association of Arts Festival Exhibition.
1975 Group 51 Exhibition. Johannesburg.
1976 Carving acquired by Pietersberg Museum.
1976 Bronze portrait of Chancellor Dr. C.T. te Water. Pretoria University.
1976 Commissioned Bronze portrait of former Editor, D.F. Malan by Die Burger. Cape Town.
1976 Second casting of D.F. Malan portrait bought by Piet Celliers, Editor of Die Burger.
This portrait now in Montagu Museum.
1976 Joined Ruth Prowse School of Art as full-time sculpture lecturer.
1976 Taught the blind at the National Gallery’s Touch Gallery. Cape Town.
1978 Joint Exhibition with painter Erik Laubscher at South African Association of Arts Gallery.
1978 Group Exhibition. Stellenbosch.
1978 SANTA Group Exhibition. Shell Gallery. Cape Town.
1978 Two carvings on loan to Baxter Theatre. Cape Town.
1979 Waterkant Gallery. Woman’s Group Exhibition. Cape Town.
1979 The Old Cellars.Group Exhibition. Constantia. Cape Town.
1980 Foundation Member of The Artists Guild.
1981 Resigned from Ruth Prowse to teach privately.
1981 Touch Gallery. Group Exhibition. Cape Town.
1981 Bellville Gallery. Group Exhibition. Cape Town.
1981 Durban Republican Festival Exhibition. Awarded prize judged by Henry Lucie-Smith 1982 Who’s Who of South African Women.
1982 Gallery International. Group Exhibition. Cape Town.
1983 Cape Town Festival Exhibition. Civic Centre. Cape Town.
1983 Gowlett Gallery. Joint Exhibition with painter Olivia Scholnick. Cape Town.
1984 Cape Town Festival Exhibition. Nico Malan Theatre. Cape Town.
1984 June te Water Student Exhibition. South African Association of Arts Gallery. Cape Town.
1985 Stellenbosch University Kunsmuseum. Invited Exhibition.
1985 Rand Afrikaans University Group Exhibition, Johannesburg.
1986 Kunskamer Group Exhibition. Cape Town.
1986 Perola Art Gallery Group Exhibition. Ceres. Western Cape.
1987 African Heritage Exhibition. Operation Hunger. Cape Town.
1988 Stutterfords Van Line Wood Exhibition. Durban, Pretoria & Cape Town.
1988 Pretoria University. Invited exhibition.
1989 Tulbach Group Exhibition.
1989 Joint Exhibition with photographer Amy Schoemamn. South African Association of Arts.
1990 Bloemfontein University. Invited exhibition.
1992 Rohan Mills Group Exhibition. Rondebosch. Cape Town.
1992 Binnehuis. Martin Melck Huis. Group Exhibition. Cape Town.
1993 Merensky Foundation. National Gallery, Cape Town,
1993 Women’s Work. Bellvile South African Association of Arts Gallery. Cape Town.
1995 Mount Nelson Hotel. Group Exhibition. Cape Town.
1995 Women of South Africa. Paarl Museum.
1996 Art Route Group Exhibition at Rust en Vreugd. Cape Town.
1996 Solo Exhibition. “Quellerie”, Riebeek Street, Wynberg. Cape Town.
1998 Klein Karroo Nasionale Kunsfees – “70 Plus”. Oudtshoorn.
1998 Sanlam Living Artists – “70 Plus”. Bellville. Cape Town.
1998 Prime Time – Group Exhibition. Association for Visual Arts. Cape Town.
2007 Jungian Conference Exhibition. Cape Town.
2008 Solo Kirstenbosch Exhibition in conjunction with Wood Turners Guild.

Lindi te Water
Phone: 021 786 9325 or 083 509 5505
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