Summer romance: Here’s what love looks like to 7 South African artists

In matters of the heart, the return of summer is at times considered a season of news, optimism, flings and contemplation. To celebrate this, we’ve asked artists of different creative disciplines — Nicola Robin, Brett Charles Sailer, Ilze Wessels, Lindsey Raymond, Kopano Maroga, Banele Khoza and Tarryn Hatchett — to share pictures and words, which describe what being in love looks and feels like to them. The meaning of love, like all concepts, is subjective and each tale told its own and unique.

Nicola Robin

Fine artist, Cape Town

“I took this photograph of a person I’m in love with but the context isn’t very romantic I’m afraid. It’s a photo of my girlfriend on a day when she was feeling super sick. I guess the romantic part is that she is wow, so dreamy. I love this photo of her sprawled out looking all beautiful on my bed, sharing space and love and time with me on a bad day.” — Nicola

Tarryn Hatchett

Photographer, Johannesburg

“The ultimate form of summer romance for me has always meant spending endless golden hours taking in the ocean. The full immersion of my body and mind in nature makes me feel infinite and insignificant all at once while anchoring me to the present in the most immediate way. Losing my sense of time in rose-hued sunsets, moonlit seas and a salty summer daze is the most wholehearted form of self-love.” — Tarryn

Banele Khoza

Fine artist, Johannesburg


“These are digital notes written on the Gautrain on my way home while thinking about my ex-crush. The calmer things have been, the more I’ve thought about him. They say stay away but if feels like I am missing out from the greatness that we could be. Or am I in love with the idea of us?” — Banele

Lindsey Raymond

Fine artist, Cape Town

“Recently, I kissed a boy and it felt like custard yellow. I hadn’t had one of those melty kisses in a while and it got me thinking cute again. For this series of work, I wanted to recreate that, to evoke the affect and sensuality of sex, pleasure, desire and play through texture and colours, but also through language, which often feeds experience.” — Lindsey

Kopano Maroga

Dancer, Cape Town

“This poem, called Constellations, was written in the summer of 2015 after a nighttime drive with a boy I fell a little bit in love with. We got together for dinner and ended up getting high and swerving through the midnight streets of bishops court. We landed up in a forest with an amazing view of the city and stars. We lay among the pine needles talking, laughing and listening to each other breath. We still see each other from time to time, and every time it is soft and warm and the forest is holding us still.” — Kopano

Brett Charles Sailer

Fine artist, Cape Town

“Someone lent me a gay magazine called BUTT. I wrote a few notes, memories and poems on a type writer and scanned them together with the magazine’s pages to make this collage. While creating this, I am trying to understand things. What it means to love another man in this world. What it means to have a fling when you’re gay. What it means to love by certain standards. What it means to be heartbroken. What it means to get over shit and carry on with your life. What it means to love two men at the same time. What it means to explain that to someone. What it means to fucking go to a bar and sit around straight people telling you congratulations for holding your partners hand. What it means for straight folk to not understand certain dynamics of queer relationships. What it means to hear gay-trope jokes or the word faggot or moffie. I wish I could be straight so I didn’t have to cover up liking other boys back in high school or get a black-eye for telling a man I liked him.” — Brett

Ilze Wessels

Illustrator and architect, Johannesburg

“The illustrations I draw are forever exploring the interrelationships that are definitive of being human. As of late my heart has been broken again and in times of hurt what one does is pour out emotions, not only to friends but also in this case through a manifesting of inks on paper.” — Ilze

Between 10 and 5