Counting stones

Artist statement

As a commemoration of the many lives lost in ships wrecked on the shores of Southern Africa, Counting Stones employ symbolic associations related to the uses of stones since the earliest times: piles of stones were used to designate a sacred site and stones served as tools for early counting systems. Today, stones are still sometimes placed on graves or spontaneously piled up on paths to serve as a marker of presence.


The intent of Counting Stones is to raise questions about the measurability of psychological trauma. How many stones equal the losses suffered during displacement?

  • Counting stones
  • Emma Willemse
  • 2017
  • Site-specific installation, found boat, stones collected from various places in South Africa
  • Installation view at the Old Harbour, Hermanus, South Africa
  • Variable x 1500 x 4200 centimeters
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