Cynisca. A Bhubezi Woman – The Woman Who Hold Up the World

Cynisca. Cheryl Penn. The Bhubezi Mythology. The Women Who Hold Up the World

The Authentic Massacre of the Innocent Image Painting Number 77

Mortal Sightings:

David Stafford had one through his alter ego Jimson, (he of the24 to 48 hour anticholinergic delirium) all arranged by The Red Giraffe on an unexpected visit to Goya.

It went something like this:

When Jimson first saw her he turned to see if Lemke (off the mail belt asteroid) also saw her but he was fiddling with the straps on his backpack . He wheeled round. She was still there.

“What a lovely mirage,” he thought to himself. She did in fact resemble a girl he had once met at a party – not the woman he married, but a stranger whose face had stayed with him. Now it hovered above him, as impassive as a sphinx, the face pulsating, a frenzied tangle of seething rivulets. Her face was water, Blue, cool.

He could feel the breeze coming across the desert like a kiss, a benediction as though he was walking along a shady creek.   Lemke grabbed his arm.

“What ever you’re seeing pal…shes’s not there”.   BUT SHE WAS!

She was a Spartan woman who broke into the most male of Greek arenas during this period: the Olympic games. Cynisca, the sister of one of the Spartan kings, entered her own chariot team in 396 and 392 BC. She won both times, becoming the first female to win the Olympic games (albeit by proxy) in its 400-year history. Pausanias, the ancient traveller and first ‘guide book’ writer, saw the victory monument erected by Cynisca at Olympia to commemorate her success still standing 500 years later.

The monument simply stated:  My fathers and brothers were Spartan kings, I won with a team of fast-footed horses, and put up this monument, I am Cynisca: I say I am the only woman in all Greece to have won this wreath.

 Pausanias, as mentioned before was a careful, pedestrian writer, he was interested not only in the grandiose or the exquisite but in unusual sights and obscure ritual.     He is occasionally careless, or makes unwarranted inferences, and his guides or even his own notes sometimes mislead him; yet his honesty is unquestionable, and his value without par. In the topographical part of his work, Pausanias is fond of digressions on the wonders of nature, the signs that herald the approach of an earthquake, the phenomena of the tides, the ice-bound seas of the north, and the noonday sun which at the summer solstice casts no shadow at Syene.

Pausanias, was given a key by Cynisca which was lodged years later in the Needle of Hatshepsut. But more about that later. Suffice it to say, now you know that Cynisca is a Bhubezi Woman and that David Stafford really saw her.

Earthly. Marie Wintzer and Cheryl Penn


Earthly Artists Book Cheryl Penn:Marie Wintzer Visual Poetry

I’ve periodically posted single images from this collection of altered photographs on Collaborative Canto and the Visual Poetry/Asemic Writing blogs, but this download contains all the images Marie and I have been working on for a few months.

Clay Books, Visual Poetry, Marie Wintzer:Cheryl PennIt was certainly a long term project and it was interesting to see how the alterations Marie added to the photographs changed over that period. Some images maintain their minimalism, (particularly those done at the beginning of the collaboration), and, as time progressed, so did their complexity.   These are not taut, surgical images, rather they retain the organic structure dictated by the original artworks – books made from clay.   I had intended to do an installation of about 500 clay books (I MAY still…?) but boredom set in after about book 30. Marie breathed new life into these clay books, rooted in earth – (a most physical manifestation thereof ) and they became pieces of data in Ether Realms. These secondary structures, as ethereal as data are collected and available for download here:



Made of Clay.

Taken from the dust of the earth, these books became something else, data images that happened in Ether Realms.  It’s always trying to breathe new life into old ideas – like us, they’re never quite ready to die.

Cheryl Penn


Making books out of clay,

the work of a potter [shaping soil into pages]

the work of a writer [chiseling words out of sodden earth]

the work of a gardener [growing roots across fields]

the work of an architect [building stories through dust]

the work of a musician [composing songs engraved in ether]

The beauty of those clay books needed no enhancement, their stunning naked aura was evident to any eyes curious enough to see. But one can always demand more of books…

Marie Wintzer

ClayVispo36 copy

“One can always demand more of books” – wise words Marie, and I agree wholeheartedly – they cannot be constrained, forever demanding new readings.

Mail Art Makes the World a Town – Edition 12.

Edition 12 Mail Art Makes the World a Town Cover Cheryl Penn

Edition 12 Mail Art Makes the World a Town participants:

Mail Art Makes the World a Town Assembling Book

Edition 12

Reid Wood – USA

Tiziana Baracchi – Italy

Renato Sclaunich – Italy

Serse Luigetti – Italy

TICTAC – Germany

Vittore Baroni – Italy

Samuel Montalvetti – Argentina


Jürgen Olbrich – Germany

Erich Sundermann – Austria

John Bennett – USA

Katerina Nikoltsou – Greece

Miguel Jimenez – Spain

Jeff Crouch – USA

Torill Elisabeth Larsen – Norway

Thomas M Cassidy – USA

Svenja Wahl – Germany

Claudio Romeo – Italy

Anete Ulmane – Latvia

Cuan Miles – South Africa

Pier Roberto Bassi – Italy

Mark Sonnenfeld – USA

Fatima Queiroz – Brazil

Antonio Gomez – Spain

David Stone – USA

Cheryl Penn – South Africa


There are to be only two more editions in the A5 format.  A HAND MADE EDITION – i.e. each page must be hand drawn/collaged/printed/painted, and one further general edition.  To contribute, please send 27 signed and numbered, double sided  A5 portrait pages.  A copy will be sent to each participant.  The format of this publication will change at Edition 15 to A6 (postcard size).  Send 22 signed and numbered pages.  Copy to all participants.

Mail Art Makes the World a Town Edition 12

Mail Art Makes the World a Town Edition 12.

Mail Art Makes the World a Town - Edition 12

3.0 # 14 (Holes). An Encyclopedia of Everything – The Expanded Version.

Collaboration on

Holes - Artists Book, Cheryl Penn - An Encyclopedia of Everything

Edition of 10 unique books made from copies of Leonardo’s blotting sheets used when he painted Mona Lisa. Permission for their use was given by Magenta in a dream. Said Permission was given as long as his secrets were cut out from the sheets. That’s the problem with history – there’s a generally accepted version, and then there’s the real version. These cutout words/phrases are holes in the generally accepted version of Leonardo da Vinci’s life, clues he could not help himself recording.

Secrets - Asemic Writing Cheryl Penn 2That’s the problem with History – its so subject to winds of change. IF such facts were ever discovered, the course of art history would forever be changed to suit the pallet of the Moorish Darwish. The consequence of that? There would be no Bhubezi Women to Hold Up the World, and no Old Stories on which successfully functioning society is based. Taking a look around, the Darwish is not doing too badly anyway.

Guido Vermeulen by Cheryl Penn. An Encyclopedia of Everything – The Expanded Version.

Guido Vermeulen by Cheryl Penn. Artists' Book - An Encyclopedia of Everything - The Expanded Version 1

I “met” Guido in about April 2011 on the IUOMA site and mutual delight ensued. Week after week the most fabulous envelopes arrived from Guido.   More than envelopes, I have two STARTLING paintings, nearly A0 in size which are treasures.   From the beginning, Guido was complex, generous and honest about the way he felt about EVERYTHING – no mincing words, just WHAM – how it was. He ranted about galleries and war, poetics and philosophy.

Guido Vermeulen by Cheryl Penn. Artists' Book - An Encyclopedia of Everything - The Expanded Version

He wrote and translated and painted and drew. He loved his animals Buzz and Nero, feeling a kindred spirit with animals. Health wise he was not well while mentally vacillating between immense love and grief. He lived everything he felt and my word, FEEL he did. His fierce honesty was raw and sometimes hard to bear, and although I received envelopes like “not all days are as bad as this one”   see:

he still held a childlike wonder at life which he delighted to share.

Guido Vermeulen by Cheryl Penn. Artists' Book - An Encyclopedia of Everything - The Expanded Version 2

Switch was the last work I received from Guido in July 2014 (see end pages) , but Faces on the Road were the last series of books received from Guido and certain lines from these ink drawing books, stand out from what I think are self referential works:

Fado Faces:

20 – Choose between dark eyes or eyes of darkness

43 – ALWAYS listen to the music in your head.


Tomb Faces:

20 – The danger of flying in skies unborn

21 – Not all human faces are trained animals

34 – I’m all dressed up for what will be coming

37 – What we have lost is what we’re all about.

The Wild Ones:

27 – Lets solve the stupidity of first impressions

32 – Le cri aveugle/the blind cry

Faces of Universal Tragedies:

13 – Truth as a red tear dripping from a velvet eye

15 – A hero has no face at all

40 – There are more questions than answers – ALWAYS

43 – I am a prisoner of my own reflections


26 – I am not concerned about what I see, but about what I CANNOT se

40 – I am a blackbird in disguise and my real name is history – tribute to David Stone

“When I see your face I see my face 2gether we see faces of Humanity”:

Yes Guido,

I see what you mean.

(Unique book made from envelopes/artworks and photocopies of Mailings from Guido)

Guido Vermeulen by Cheryl Penn. Artists' Book - An Encyclopedia of Everything - The Expanded Version 3

New Images for the Books of Ether Marie Wintzer/Cheryl Penn

Marie has been really busy with the clay books.  She has transformed what I think are ordinary photographs into works of art.   I envy her skill.  The interesting  thing is that I don’t know what I would do differently to these images – this is true collaboration when the voice is symbiotic.   As I’ve said before, I had PILES of these clay books which were about to be turfed.  I had intended making an installation BUT got bored with making them (I think this is why some artists turn their work out in factories).  Marie breathed new life into something  dead-ended.   She is  also going to publish these images in an on-line book which will form part of the Books of Ether series – I am looking forward!!

Chained Words Visual Poetry Cheryl Penn:Marie Wintzer