Thys Walters

Thys Walters is somewhat of an enigma. It is difficult to contact him because he does not have a cellphone or a home telephone. When you do get a hold of him you are taken on a rollercoaster of ideas and mysteries.
Thys grew up in Stellenbosch. He has had a love for birds of prey since he was a young boy of 12. He has been a falconer since the age of 14. In 2008 he moved to Fisherhaven while he went through his divorce and gave up falconry for a while, “I just did not have the energy anymore, I was very tired.” His previous wife, Michelle is the subject and model of many of his works.
He proudly produces a large box of photos and places it on the table. His eyes glisten and the tension in his body language eases up as he shows me photos of his first falcon. Like a gushing dad would speak of his new born child, Thys tells me the details of the diet of his falcons, “when there is road kill and it is still fresh I will pick it up from the road and take it home to my birds.”
“When I was a child I collected the skulls and bones of dead animals that I collected in the field. I made sculptures from horns and porcupine pens. Birds made me an artist. When I was a young boy I would always draw falcons and eagles. These birds took me on a very special journey through my life. They made me who I am today.”
Thys wholeheartedly believes in reincarnation and says “I was definitely a falcon in my previous life. I just have such a special connection with those birds. He produces more photos of him with his beloved birds and one where a white-headed eagle majestically rests on the forearm of Thys. The claws of this bird wrap comfortably around the whole circumference of his arm. You realize what a powerful predators these birds are.
He eagerly takes more photos out of the box. It is a photo of him and Mark Shuttleworth. Thys considers himself to have a very special connection with space. His dad is a physicist and when he was a child they went to see the launch of various space shuttles in America. He laughs and says, “Yes Mark was worth getting into the shuttle”. He lowers his voice somewhat and says “we are the aliens, I do not care what people think or say, I have said and I will say it again, we are the aliens!” Thys is of opinion that our evolution as a human race was speeded up because we have interbred with creatures that are not from this world.
He takes another gulp of his wine and frowns when he asks if I have gold. When I nod my head he responds, “You can be very happy, you are very lucky because they are going to lock all our gold away!” Thys explains that there is a planet that circles the earth every three-thousand-six-hundred years and that they come to earth during that time specifically to get the gold of our plant because they need it for the atmosphere of their planet.
It is difficult to sum up Thys, even more so his art. He is a sculptor, a painter as taxidermist and a photographer. His style ranges from cubism to realism. His art is provoking and mysterious. Some of his work will make you turn away and blush while other works will make you want to take a closer look. He works with wood, bronze and stone. You can give him paint, pastels or ink and he will surely create a masterpiece out of it. The central theme that runs through his art is that of mystery and just complete abandon.
When speaking about the meaning of his art and what message it is that he wants his art to convey he says” I want my art to convey a deeper message. I enjoy making art that makes people think a little deeper about themselves and their world. People have become so lazy to think.”
Many of his works are confrontational. One of his latest pieces that titled Know Thyself is a Bible with a mirror on the inside of the first page. While Thys discusses this particular work his tone of voice becomes more serious, “people need to know who they are and the power that they have within themselves, I believe that god is in us and that we need to connect with that part of ourselves.”
In one of the back room of the PJ Oliver art centrum hangs a work of his title Dick Chaney. It is a painting with 3 dimensional silver penises. This work was inspired by the USA invasion of Iraq after the Twin Towers terrorist attack in 2001.
He looks at me with a piercing earnest as if the information that he is about to share with me is a state secret “I believe the government of the Unites States orchestrated the killing of their own people in order to get the international support they needed to invade Iraq! I know that what I say can get me into a lot of trouble but I am 45 years old I feel that I can speak my mind now.”
One of the works that Thys feels most passionate about is Wake up Call. It is a video that plays and deals with various ‘conspiracy theories about the power of multinational corporations and pharmaceutical companies. There is a one dollar bill that hangs in front of the screen as the video plays. This one dollar bill is tied with a hangman noose and according to Thys this illustrates how we have become so dependent on multinationals and big government that we are ultimately killing ourselves.
At the end of our meeting I am greeted with a CD, “not everyone wants to be confronted with the truth but there are some very important things on that CD, things that the governments of the world do not want us to know.”
He anxiously looks over his shoulder, almost as if he expects someone of listening to our conversation. He stares back at the wine in his glass. He flicks his long black hair over his shoulder and pauses for a moment before he continues speaking. He squints his eyes and looks straight at me. “I do not know who you are or who sent you but I hope you know how powerful the things are that I have shared with you today.”

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