The Language of Flowers

new paintings by Santie Cronje

November 21 – December 19

preview Friday November 21 5.30-7pm


“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

Rachel Carson


As a symbolist – the meaning and language of flowers – their ‘essence’ – are as attractive as their outer beauty. The language of flowers or ‘floriography’ is an ancient practice introduced to Europe from Turkey in the 18th century. Sending flowers in specific arrangements to suggest different emotions became very popular in Victorian times.

For this body of work I found the flowers that connect me to my past and my present, historically and emotionally. The tulip and the iris were chosen for my Dutch and French ancestry. The queen protea for my country of birth and a symbol of self. She speaks of courage and diversity, of being adaptable. I recently stumbled upon Hellebore as she grew by the front door of our new house. She has been a great symbol of a ‘guardian and protector’. And her soft star shaped bloom a gentle reminder that she is watching over me. The kowhai and clematis are my favourite New Zealand flowers. The clematis, a magical wreath that seems to float in midair. And the Kowhai is the most subtle but intense yellow bit of happiness when Spring is finally on her way. A promise of new life and a reminder that we can always start afresh.



Symbolist Artist Santie Cronje paints full time from her studio in Cambridge. Her narrative pieces are inspired by her personal journeys of migration, life and the natural world. Santie’s preferred medium is Acrylics, with its quick drying times and low toxicity. She uses thin layers and washes to create different moods and light effects. Santie holds a Bachelor’s of Art from the University of Pretoria, South Africa and is represented by selected galleries in New Zealand.

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