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Women’s rights, art inspired new book

INSPIRING ART: Bay psychologist and artist Louise Punt-Fouché is launching her first book, Webs of Enchantment, next week.

A COMBINED passion for art and the liberation of women has been a constant thread leading through the life of Nelson Mandela Bay artist Louise Punt-Fouché, and has now culminated in the publication of her first book.

The book, Webs of Enchantment, contains a “series of images and word webs that celebrates an intimate bond between women and the earth as the realm of common origin”, explained Punt-Fouché. It will be officially launched at the Ron Belling Art Gallery in Port Elizabeth next Friday.

Punt-Fouché said although she chose clinical psychology as a career path, art had always been part of her life. In some way, psychology had also played a role in her art. “You get a peek into private spaces and it widens your perspective and understanding of the world.”

Punt-Fouché said the images in the book – mostly pen and ink drawings – began as a 12-piece exhibition in 1996 which had “consumed” her.

“For the three months, as I was working on the pieces, I slept, ate and breathed art.”

Now semi-retired, she decided to put the collection together in a book in order to get “closure” – but first she had to hunt down some of her original pieces which had been sold at the exhibition 14 years ago.

Each artwork is accompanied by a short written piece and the book took her about seven months to complete.

Punt-Fouché has always felt strongly about the liberation of women and the fight against child abuse, and these themes have been reflected in the book.

She has invested time and energy in this cause and between 1989 and 1990 was a consultant for House Erika, a Bay children’s place of safety.

Between 1988 and 1995 she did psycho-legal work, focusing on sexually abused children, and between 1985 and 2008 she facilitated workshops on child abuse, the interpretation of child art and gender issues.

The new book has already been used as an “academic script” at several women’s events.

Punt-Fouché has dedicated it to her daughter and to her mother, who died three years ago.

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