If you’ve never been to Nieu-Bethesda then you really don’t know what you’re missing. It’s not just another Karoo town nor is it a place where nothing grows yay high. Yes, it’s a small village, only has dirt roads with no street lights, has no petrol station or a PEP. I once read a travel piece where the writer said a small town is really only a town if it has a PEP. Anyhow. In Nieu-Bethesda you will literally find something interesting around every corner. Like the Nieu-Bethesda Labyrinth at the Gregg Price Art Gallery.
In January 2018 artist Gregg Price’s eldest son William took his own life. In the struggle to come to terms with the loss of their son, Gregg and his wife traveled to Chartres Cathedral in France. Here they explored the labyrinth in the cathedral through a course titled ‘Beyond the boundaries of loss and grief’, which proved to be a seminal experience towards healing.
The Chartres labyrinth was built from limestone in the early 13th century and evokes Greek mythology of the maze built by architect Daedalus that housed the Minotaur who ate the children of Athens.
The Prices opened the Gregg Price Art Gallery in December 2018. In the garden, they built a stone labyrinth based on the design of the Chartres Cathedral as a way to honour the life of William. The garden and labyrinth are open to the public and the experience of walking it is free to the community and travelers passing through the village.
People tend to confuse the concept of a labyrinth with that of a maze. Although both depict a complex and confusing series of pathways, the two are different. A maze is a complex, branching (multicursal) puzzle that includes choices of path and direction and normally has high hedge or stone walls, while a labyrinth is unicursal. It means it only has a single, non-branching path, which leads to the center.
Nieu-Bethesda isn’t a busy town so it’s very likely that when visiting the labyrinth you’ll be walking it on your own with only your own thoughts. The way it’s intended.