Death of Durban art doyenne

A spot-on portrait, by Lib Steward, of Durban artist Marianne Meijer, who passed away this morning after a period of ill health. A former art columnist for The Mercury and The Daily News, she was 85.

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BY BILLY SUTER

TODAY marked a very sad day for the South African art world when Durban doyenne, artist and art columnist Marianne Meijer died peacefully at home after a period of ill health. She was 85.

Tributes poured in on social media for this stalwart of the KwaZulu-Natal art scene, a longtime former arts columnist for The Daily News Tonight and, for an even longer period, The Mercury Goodlife. She was the widow of the late, former Daily News arts editor, Sjoerd Meijer.

Durban artist Carol Hayward Fell wrote: “Such a great loss to the art world. I met her in the late ’70s and have happy memories of laughing and chatting with Marianne at art exhibitions and Arts Interactive over the decades.

“She was a driving force in putting local artists, including myself, on the map with her many exhibition reviews in the press. So many of us will miss her presence in the art world and know that she was one-of-a-kind and utterly irreplaceable.

Born and educated in Amsterdam in Holland, Marianne Meijer emigrated to South Africa in 1958.

“She was full of praise and had a knack of making emerging artists feel valued. Rest in peace you lovely old lady! Gone, but never forgotten.”

Durban artist Pascale Chandler, a longtime friend and colleague of Meijer, wrote on Facebook: “Rest in peace, darling Marianne. You filled our lives with your boundless energy and passion for art. You leave behind a legacy of endurance and, despite your frailty, you always showed up and embraced life fully. Condolences to (Marianne’s children) Gwynne and Eric and the family. Loved always!”

Born and educated in Amsterdam in Holland, Meijer emigrated to South Africa in 1958. She spent more than 60 years passionately involved with the art community of Durban – as an artist, an active KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA) council member, a Friends of the Durban Art Gallery chairperson, art columnist for The Mercury and The Daily News, and assistant editor of D’ARTS Magazine.

Her work appeared in many group shows and she staged several solo exhibitions – including those at the Market Gallery in Johannesburg, three at the KZNSA in Durban, and also at Grassroots Gallery, ArtSpace Durban and Bonisa Gallery.

On a personal note, as arts editor of The Mercury from 1993 until the end of 2016, I spent almost three decades editing and laying out pages for Meijer’s weekly art-news-and-reviews column in The Mercury.

She was always an absolute honey, always called me “my sweetheart”, and she gave me a gift of one of her small, floral paintings a few years ago. I will treasure it always as a memory of a very special lady. Rest in peace, dear friend.

Note: Funeral/memorial details will be shared on this post as soon as they are confirmed.

BILLY SUTER reports that tributes are pouring in for well-loved Durban art doyenne Marianne Meijer, who died this morning. The artist, born in Holland, was 85. … More Death of Durban art doyenne

Online sales for daily doodles

One of 15 drawings by yours truly which have now been turned into limited-edition photographic images, for a series titled Disconnection. The images are available for purchase (R200 each) at the 6andOut website, the online link for which is https://6andout.onshop.co.za/

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BY BILLY SUTER

WHAT started out as a fun way to ease boredom during the Coronavirus lockdown – a daily posting on Facebook of a doodle I drew –  proved so unexpectedly popular that I have been approached to consider exhibiting them and have been invited to offer for sale limited-edition, digital photographic images of some of the drawings.

Fifteen of the 100 diverse daily doodles I have posted on my Facebook page since lockdown began in March have now been turned into limited-edition photographic images, for a series titled Disconnection. They sell for R200 each.

Through the kind invitation of Durban artist Peter Ford, my drawings are now being offered for sale on his 6andOut website, the online link for which is https://6andout.onshop.co.za/

The site offers a new way to own and appreciate original art, offering ongoing and growing collections of limited-edition digital photographic images by Ford and work by guest artists, of which I am very happy to be the first.

The 6andOut concept has been developed by Ford as a way for art lovers to collect and benefit from art which increases in value over time. How it works is that each digital artwork purchased is recorded in a print registry, much like traditional limited-edition prints are registered in a gallery.

The innovation lies in the multi-use aspect and in the ability for the owner to resell their artwork in the future, via this registry, at its new and increased value. With 6andOut you get to do what you want with the digital image. Wallpaper, vehicle wrapping, screen savers, profile-pic, soft furnishings are all possibilities, explains Ford.

What’s important is that 6andOut does not limit the reproduction rights to your image, except that they may not be commercialised or resold on the open market, Ford adds.

That’s great value. You can print or reproduce your image, for personal use, in as many ways and as many times as you choose. You will be the registered owner. You can also gift somebody an image and make them the registered owner.

Only 12 images will be available in each series, each in an edition of six. That means the purchaser’s image is exclusive. Once each series is sold out these images will only ever be available again if a collector decides to sell.

“Your artwork will gain value as each new series produced will be sold at an increase in value of 10%. At any given time the value of all images in the collection will be informed by the current selling price. By the time we reach Series 8 the value of images from Series 1 will have doubled,” says Ford.

“If you choose to sell your image you will have 6andOut HQ to assist you. Your image will be entered back onto our database for resale at the current value. All people in the print register will be notified of images up for resale.”

Visit the site and take a look at what is on offer: https://6andout.onshop.co.za/

BILLY SUTER reports that 15 of 100 doodles he posted to his Facebook page during lockdown are on sale (R200 each) as limited-edition, digital images. … More Online sales for daily doodles

Green light for Hilton Arts Festival

Craft stalls and art are always widely spread throughout the Hilton College grounds at the annual Hilton Arts Festival.

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BY BILLY SUTER

IT’S already all-systems-go for this year’s Hilton Arts Festival, the organisers of which are calling for artists, crafters, food traders, performers, musicians, singers and comedians for the 28th annual event, which is always a highlight of the KwZulu-Natal arts and crafts calendar.

Scheduled to run at various venues in the picturesque grounds of Hilton College from September 11 to 13, the Hilton Arts Festival is taking applications for the event which has garnered a reputation of being the top spot for visual artists in the province.

All applications will be considered by a selection committee and successful artists will be housed in three exclusive marquees as well as in the Grindrod Bank Theatre foyer, says a festival spokesman, adding that places are limited so as to avoid over-trading and overcrowding in these exhibition areas.

The Hilton Arts Festival is calling for crafters, food traders and performers for this year’s event.

“The festival hosts a quality, bespoke craft market that prides itself in not being a fleamarket. Apply now for a stand if you sell homemade goods and foodstuffs, vintage goods, fun festival fare, plants or something original and exciting,m” says the spokesman.

“Food traders selling good food will be considered.  The organisers are looking for the original and the unusual, as well as a variety to satisfy all tastes.”

The Hilton Arts Festival has gained a strong reputation for the quality theatre, music and comedy it hosts, as well as for its arts-related lectures, workshops and movie screenings.

All application details are to be found on www.hiltonfestival.co.za

The full festival programme is expected to be made available on Friday, August 14, at www.hiltonfestival.co.zaBookings open on August 17.

The event is presented by Hilton College in association with Grindrod Bank, Absa, Black Coffee, Extreme Events, DWR,  Bidvest Car Rental, KZN Dept of Art & Culture,  Durban Youth  Radio, BASA, Southern Sun PMB, Redlands Hotel,  Maritizburg Sun, Caxton, SA Artist, Loud Crowd Media, Sappi and Chilli Source.

 

BILLY SUTER reports that the organisers of the Hilton Arts Festival are calling for artists, crafters, food traders, performers, musicians, singers and comics for the 28th event. … More Green light for Hilton Arts Festival

Death of artist Andrew Verster

An uncredited picture from Andrew Verster’s Facebook page. The great Durban artist, once dubbed ‘Durban’s patron saint of fine art’, died peacefully on Sunday.

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BY BILLY SUTER

TRIBUTES are pouring in on Facebook and elsewhere for popular Durban artist, stage designer and playwright Andrew Verster, who passed away peacefully on Sunday.

“It is with great sadness that we hear that Andrew Verster passed away. We have lost a treasure who did so much for the arts. Further details of a memorial will be posted later in the week,” writes Durban art doyenne Carol Brown on her Facebook page.

Born in 1937 in Johannesburg, Verster was a noted artist, a designer for theatre and a writer of short stories, articles and radio plays. He held more than 50 solo exhibitions, is represented in many major public and private collections, and has been awarded two retrospective exhibitions organised by the Durban Art Gallery.

He trained at the Camberwell School of Art and Reading University and lectured at the University of Durban-Westville (then University College, Durban) and Natal Technikon until 1976, when he gave up teaching to become a full-time painter.

Verster was the winner of the BBC World Service Playwriting Competition in 1992, with his work, You May Leave, The Show is Over. He was also commissioned by the BBC to write Future Past, featuring the voices of former South African actresses Janet Suzman, Rowena Copper and Estelle Kohler.

He designed the sets and costumes for Opera Africa’s Faust and Princess Magogo, as well La Traviata and Rigoletto, and designed also for the 2004 US production of Princess Magogo. Among his other theatre ventures were costume designs for the Barnyard Theatre’s 2004 production of The Rocky Horror Show and its 2006 production of Grease. He also designed  costumes for a local production of Private Lives and the adult panto Sinderella.

Verster was a critic with The Daily News in Durban for 12 years and wrote a weekly column, From the Backwater, for four years. He was with the Film and Publication Review Board, and a trustee of the Durban Art Gallery, the Arts Work Trust, Very Special Arts, Artists for Human Rights Trust and the African Art Centre.

He had numerous public and private commissions, including sculpture and tapestry for the Reserve Bank Durban, art works at the Durban Hilton, and a tapestry in the ICC Durban.

Durban arts all-rounder Caroline Smart wrote: “A tribute will follow shortly and further details of a memorial will be posted later in the week. Treasure Andrew’s works if you are fortunate to have any.”

Durban artist Marianne Meijer labelled Verster as “the artist friend who guided many to increase their knowledge of what fine art really was about”.

Artist Sue Greenberg said: “Such sad news. Andrew will be remembered as one of Durban’s best artists as well a great friend to so many. RIP Andrew.”

BILLY SUTER reports that tributes are pouring in for popular Durban artist, stage designer and playwright Andrew Verster, who passed away peacefully on Sunday. … More Death of artist Andrew Verster

Treasure troves of diverse art

The new art museums at The Orient in Elandsfontein. The double-storey block on the left features scores of works by Adriaan Boshoff and others. The block on the right is still being curated. The Orient’s owners plan to erect another art museum behind the courtyard arches in the distance – a circular building with a sunken garden.

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A visit to the exquisite, Moorish-themed The Orient in Elandsfontein, a terracotta, palace-like hotel peaking through bushveld and treetops, 25km from Pretoria, is not only a ‘bucket list’ destination for fans of luxury getaways and award-winning, five-star dining (see my separate review article under Food and Leisure). Nestled in the Francolin Conservancy, The Orient is also a haven for art-lovers, who have a treasure trove of treats to view in three large galleries in the Orient’s leafy surrounds. Other good news is that more galleries are planned there.
BILLY SUTER reports.

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MARI Dartnell, the petite, elegant and friendly art curator and general manager at The Orient, near Pretoria, nods her head vigorously, throws open hands to her sides then chuckles, when it is suggested there seems no end to the impressive art collections that greet visitors to The Orient.

“Ja, you’re absolutely right,” she says, going on to point out that after having first opened a museum accommodating many superb bronze works, large and small, by celebrated South African sculptor Tienie Prichard, she and her husband – The Orient’s wine director, Cobus du Plessis – recently completed two new large, two-storey galleries closer to the boutique hotel’s entrance.

Tienie Pritchard bronze sculptures take pride of place in the gardens at The Orient’s Francolin Conservancy Museum complex. A special museum devoted to Pritchard sculptures is in another area of the boutique hotel’s sprawling gardens.

The Orient’s first museum, The Tienie Pritchard Museum, at the bottom end of the Orient’s lush gardens, a short stroll from the hotel, was established in 2007. That was a year or so after Mari, Cobus and their uber-talented daughter, Chantel Dartnell, multi-award-winning chef at The Orient’s fine-dining Mosaic restaurant, opened their five-star establishment.

To keep improving and developing the family’s art collection, Mari and Cobus constantly acquire new paintings, sculptures, art nouveau antiques and other collectables which are displayed throughout The Orient and also in the 10 individually themed suites.

“Since the inception of our collection we have encountered outstanding local and international works of art, and with special exhibitions and frequent changes in the arrangement of the permanent collection, there is always something original on every visit to The Orient,’ states the getaway’s website.

The Tienie Pritchard Museum is special in that it is the result of a long friendship between the artist and avid collectors of his sculptures, Cobus and Mari.

Pritchard was commissioned by The Orient’s owners to create a large bronze of Mari with the cheetah Nandi, which was entrusted to Mari’s care by a sanctuary for threatened species in Hoedspruit, because the animal was born with a digestive defect that required special care. It was expected to live only six months.

The Tienie Pritchard scu;lpture featuring The Orient’s Mari Dartnell with Nandi, a cheetah she cared for for four years.

When Nandi died at the age of four, Mari wanted to immortalise the memory of their relationship with the unique piece of sculpture. It now stands in their home in the Francolin Conservancy, but an early model by Pritchard is displayed in The Orient’s Tienie Pritchard museum.

Mostly highlighting Pritchard’s nude and semi-nude figures, often with animal figures or objects of animal origin, and depicted in a classical realist style, the museum’s bronze sculptures, textured or polished, are breathtaking in their detail and beauty.

The museum, which has many sculptures of historical significance, displays the bronzes on grey-white marble pedestals, some of them under skylights.

Keep an eye out for sculptures of Joan of Arc, Fallen Angel, Cleopatra, King Shaka, a terrific and large piece depicting the Persian slave market circa 1800 and another of my favourites, a large 1978 piece titled Discovery of Gold, originally commissioned for an arcade in Pretoria and removed after some political controversy.

Fascinating news and reviews of the works on show, as well as info relating to controversy involving some, is included among the gallery’s press clippings, photos and plaque information, making this a rewarding perspective of the career of one of the country’s top artists.

The entrance to the Tienie Pritchard Museum at The Orient.

A striking, life-size bronze Pritchard sculpture that I admired in the museum when I first visited The Orient just over a year ago – that of the biblical Bathsheba leaving a bath, flanked by two lions on ornate pedestals – now has been given pride of place in the wonderful garden in the courtyard that separates The Orient’s two new galleries in the new Francolin Conservancy Museum complex.

Both two-storeys high, in terracotta and with wonderful arches and balcony areas, these galleries offer varied art, one of them still being in the process of being curated when I visited in mid-December.

Mari explains that Cobus now has a plan to add another, two-storey, circular building at the end of the two new galleries. It will have a domed top, she says, and will have a sunken garden that is likely to accommodate a tea garden.

The gallery that opened at The Orient around March 2019 is largely dedicated to South African impressionist painter Adriaan Boshoff and is a modern, expansive space, beautifully designed and curated by Mari and Cobus after they drew inspiration during visits to galleries in the US, Paris, Brussels and The Netherlands.

Nearly 90m in length, the gallery is a delight and I could easily have spent half a day there soaking up the wonders of impressionist Boshoff’s 140 or so paintings on display.

There are landscape scenes and farm paintings. Also lovingly displayed are the artist’s figure paintings in charcoal and acrylic washes, as well as his beautiful capturing of floral beauty and impressive still-life creations, in addition to varied sketches and drawings.

A section of the modern, impressive Adriaan Boshoff Museum that forms part of the Francolin Conservancy Museum complex at The Orient, which also offers one of the world’s best restaurants, Mosaic.

Particularly impressive is the fiery glow of enchantment that is The Streets of My Youth, Boshoff’s last work, uncompleted, which is on show a few steps away from a display of a simulated studio showing Boshoff’s easels, work clothes, brushes and canvasses with works in progress at the time of his death in 2007. Boshoff died in his studio while working on The Streets of My Youth.

Other wings of the museum accommodate works by the likes of Hugo Naude, William Timlin, Alexander Rose-Innes, Terrance McCaw, Gwelo Goodman, Cecil Higgs, Nita Spillhouse, W H Coetzer, Conrad Theys and Tinus de Jongh, among others.

If you wish to pay a visit to the galleries, or find out more information, get in touch with Mari Dartnell at mari@the-orient.net or +27 (0) 12 371 2902/3/4.

Cleopatra, a large and impressive work on display at the Tienie Pritchard Museum at The Orient.
Large-scale bronzes on show at The Orient’s Tienie Pritchard Museum.
Tieniie Pritchard’s The Valkyries, a 1998 sculpture at the Orient’s Tienie Pritchard Museum.
The entrance area of the two-storey museum featuring works by diverse artists, including a very impressive collection of works by the late Adriaan Boshoff (pictured).
Visitors admire the varied works displayed at The Orient’s new museum, where works by Adriaan Boshoff take pride of place.
Airy and light… a section of the new art gallery at The Orient.
The ornate, carved-wood door leading to the gardens that separate the two two-storey galleries of the Francolin Conservancy Museum complex.

BILLY SUTER visited large garden museums accommodating impressive paintings and sculpture at the five-star The Orient, a boutique hotel in Elandsfontein. … More Treasure troves of diverse art

Celebrating African weddings

Thobani Simamane and Phumzile Nkosi admire a section of the UmShado exhibition at Durban’s Phansi Ubuntu Art Museum in Glenwood. Picture by  NiamhWalsh-Vorster.

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BY BILLY SUTER

AN EXHIBITION celebrating African weddings and marriage is scheduled to open on Heritage Day – Tuesday, September 24 – at Durban’s Phansi Ubuntu Art Museum at 500 Esther Roberts Road (formerly Frere Road) in Glenwood.

Titled UmShado, the exhibition will run until October 10 and admission is free to the public.

Museum manager, Phumzile Nkosi, says the reason for curating the show  was to show show the beauty, especially on women, of black African culture.

The exhibition will highlight traditional utensils that were made and used at Umshado ceremonies. These include beer pots for umqhombothi and grass mat racks known as Amabaxa in Zulu tradition.

Crafters from the KwaZwelibomvu area will be in attendance to celebrate the exhibition’s opening.

Specific African accessories for brides will be used to decorate the life-sized dolls that the museum already houses. Accessories from Ndwedwe and areas outside of KwaZulu-Natal will be on display in celebration of African wedding heritage.

At the opening of the exhibition,  refreshments will be served and donations are welcomed.

BILLY SUTER reports that an exhibition celebrating African weddings and marriage is scheduled to open on Heritage Day (September 24) at Durban’s Phansi Ubuntu Art Museum. … More Celebrating African weddings

Three KZN artists at new arts fair

Derrick Nxumalo was born in 1962 in Dumisa, KwaZulu-Natal. He is a self-taught artist with an exploratory approach to his technique and subject matter.

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BY BILLY SUTER

DURBAN’S KZNSA Gallery will be represented by three local artists at the first edition of the Latitudes Art Fair at Johannesburg’s Nelson Mandela Square from September 13 to 15.

The gallery’s presentation will include the works of Sthenjwa Luthuli, Cameron Platter and Derrick Nxumalo. These will appear alongside works by other artists from South Africa, as well as artists from Uganda, Spain, Angola, Norway, America, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Germany.

A spokesman for the KZNSA says the Latitudes programme is curated to present the work of emerging artists predominantly from Africa and its diaspora “with the aim of creating a richer global understanding of African cultural production”.

A work by Derrick Nxumalo titled The Bedroom.

“With the aim of the fair in mind we present three artists in different stages of their careers, all working with distinctive mediums, an articulated use of colour and an intensity that speaks to the vibrancy of the city in which they live – Durban.

“That intensity is carried through in the laborious art-making process each artist is compelled to use, whether it be relentless pencil marks, wood carving with utter precision or the painstaking use of ballpoint mark making.”

Sthenjwa Luthuli, born in 1991 in Botha’s Hill, KwaZulu-Natal. He joined Durban’s BAT Centre in 2010. Following on from this he was selected to be a part of the Velobala Mentorship Programme and was mentored by fellow local artist, Themba Shibase.

Since 2011 he has participated in several group exhibitions in KwaZulu-Natal, Johannesburg and in Bremen, Germany, where he painted a mural in the Concordia Tunnel. Luthuli reflects on spiritual and ancestral identity portraying figures that dance, fly and wrestle in the space.

In 2017 Luthuli was placed runner-up in the Sasol New Signatures competition. He was also selected to take part in a three-month residency in Germany, and had work acquired by the National Art Bank. In early 2019 he was part of a group exhibition at KZNSA, Ikhono LaseNatali: a body of work commissioned by internationally acclaimed visual activist, Professor Zanele Muholi.

Sthenjwa Luthuli was born in 1991 in Botha’s Hill, KwaZulu-Natal.

Luthuli has been selected as one of five artists at the upcoming fair to participate in a special programme, Latitudes Limited, which includes his work being used to promote the fair on all social media platforms, street banners, an Aston Martin car-wrap and a limited edition of prints for VIP packages.

Derrick Nxumalo was born in 1962 in Dumisa, KwaZulu-Natal. He is a self-taught artist with an exploratory approach to his technique and subject matter. He creates obsessively detailed, graphic representations of land/cityscapes.

Nxumalo says that each artwork has its own pattern, in which details of vegetation and architecture are deployed with an understanding of perspective and colour.

A former gardener, miner and waiter, he added politics to his resume in 2003, when he was elected as a councillor for the district of Dududu in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nxumalo’s work is held in numerous collections, including Anglo Vaal Corporation, South African Breweries, The Durban Art Gallery, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the University of Witwatersrand. He has participated in exhibitions in South Africa and abroad – the most recent being Our Africa Dreams, KZNSA Gallery, Durban, 2017.

Born in Johannesburg in 1978, Cameron Platter completed his BFA at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 2001. His work filters – through his own idiosyncrasy – the enormous amount of information available today.

A work by Sthenjwa Luthuli.

Blurring the distinction between high and low, his eclectic and multi-disciplinary approach to art making, typically draws from a range of quotidian, unorthodox, disparate, and often over-looked sources.

Platter’s work has been exhibited at MoMA (NY), SFMoMA, Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Le Biennale de Dakar (Senegal), and the South African National Gallery. He represented South Africa at the 55th Venice Biennale. His work is in the permanent collection of MoMA, New York.

His most recent solo exhibition at the KZNSA Gallery, GALAXY AS0-730223NMJ-ZSDSSS, took place in 2018.

Tickets for the Latitudes Art Fair at Johannesburg are: Day pass – R120 online, R150 at the door; Weekend pass: R250 online, R300 at the door. Children  aged 12 and under enter free.

Artist Cameron Platter, who completed his BFA at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 2001.

BILLY SUTER reports that Durban’s KZNSA Gallery will be represented by three local artists at the first Latitudes Art Fair in Johannesburg from September 13 to 15. … More Three KZN artists at new arts fair

Feast of art at Hilton festival

A work by Siyabonga Sikosana, who is among artists represented at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College.

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BY BILLY SUTER 

THE Hilton Arts Festival, now in its 27th year and offering a wide variety of crafts, music, drama and other events in venues at Hilton College from September 13 to 15, will see a huge increase in the number of participating visual artists as well as a diversity of exhibitions.

Over the past few years the number of visual artists exhibiting at the festival has steadily increased. Conversations with the artists have strongly suggested to the festival management that the event is widely regarded as the best event of the year in KwaZulu-Natal for them, says festival director Sue Clarence.

Clarence adds that not only will there be 90 individual artists at the festival, but also top-notch exhibitions – the Absa Pierneef and van Wouw exhibition; and internationally acclaimed potter Andrew Walford’s Inspiration from Great Nature.

Strauss & Co, auctioneers, invite members of the public to bring their artworks to be valued.

A woodcut by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, titled Plaastoneel en Berge.

“This wide variety of work means that the appeal to art lovers is wide ranging. It is possible for people to come and look and appreciate, but, very importantly, it offers the opportunity for people to expand their art collections. Prices range from the impulse-buy affordable to the more serious collectable: there is something to suit everyone’s pocket and personal taste,” says Clarence.

“Art will be exhibited in several areas. Be sure to see it all: in the Art Block, Memorial Hall, Grindrod Bank Theatre Foyer, Raymond Slater Library, Churchill and Bell Tower marquees. The Pierneef and van Wouw Exhibition can be found in the Absa Marquee, the Walford in the Normand Dunn Gallery and Strauss & Co in The History Room.”

Pierneef is widely considered to be one of the best of the old South African masters, and his work continues to serve as inspiration for future landscape painters. He is in excellent company with Van Vouw, who is known as the father of South African sculpture.

“They were pioneer artists who represented the top tier of South African art in its various forms, and their art continues to leave an incomparable imprint on the art world – making the decision to take a sample of their work to showcase at the Hilton Arts Festival a simple one. Our objectives are the same: to shine a spotlight on South Africa’s outstanding artistic talent,” says senior specialist art curator of Absa Art Gallery, Dr Paul Bayliss.

Bayliss will also give four public lectures: Pierneef and Van Wouw: Looking at a united narrative through the artwork of Pierneef and Van Wouw in an early South Africa, based on the works being exhibited at the festival in the Absa marquee.

An artwork by Shirley Howells.

His lecture will focus on the enduring love Pierneef had for the countryside, and the inspiration he took from it throughout his lifetime. It will also examine how Van Wouw was inspired by the rich tapestry of the people of South Africa and how they became his primary theme.

“Absa’s corporate collection, which is one of the largest in Africa as well as in the top 10 globally, confirms our ongoing commitment to preserving Africa’s abundant artistic heritage for posterity, and we believe in sharing this heritage with equally proud Africans through platforms like the Hilton Arts Festival,” says Bayliss.

“More than simply preserving the country and continent’s art legacy, though, Absa is committed to shining the spotlight on works of young African artists to bring their possibilities to life.”

This is why the winning artworks from the 2019 Absa L’Atelier competition will be featured alongside the work of the old masters in the Absa marquee. The Absa L’Atelier is one of the oldest art competitions for young artists. Now in its 34th year, Absa L’Atelier has built a strong legacy as a platform that allows the dynamic, inspiring and young visual artists of Africa to shine.

Absa buys artworks from these artists annually to add to its corporate collection. “The collection therefore contains works spanning several periods depicting the history of our country and this fits in with our overall objective to promote knowledge, understanding and practice of the visual arts, as well as to make the arts more accessible to the public,” concludes Dr Bayliss.

Entrance to the grounds of the festival is free and there is no charge for any of the exhibition areas.

The full Hilton Arts Festival programme will appear in KwaZulu-Natal copies of The Sunday Times on Sunday, August 11.  Booking opens on August 12, and the programme will be live on the festival website from the morning of August 12.

For more information visit www.hiltonfestival.co.za or contact the festival office on admin@hiltonfestival.co.za or 033 383 0127.

The Festival is presented by Hilton College and tiso blackstar in  association with  Grindrod, Black Coffee, Extreme Events, DWR,  Absa, Bidvest Car Rental, FNB, KZN Dept of Art & Culture,  BASA, Southern Sun PMB, Stella Artois, Redlands Hotel,  Martizburg Sun, Caxton, SA Artist, Loud Crowd Media and Sappi.

BILLY SUTER reports that there will be a huge increase in the number of participating visual artists, as well as a diversity of exhibitions, at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival. … More Feast of art at Hilton festival

Two new Durban exhibitions

Ursula de Haas, chairperson of the African Art Centre (AAC) Board. Picture by Illa Thompson

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BY BILLY SUTER

TWO new art exhibitions are being held in Glenwood in Durban this month – one, at the Phansi Museum at 500 Esther Roberts Road, highlighting unity between two local cultural organisations, the African Art Centre and the Phansi Museum.

The other, at the KZNSA Gallery at 166 Bulwer Road, features work by Centre for Visual Arts post-graduates and staff. It is described as “a cross between site-specific installation, collaborative work and a creative eruption”.

Having opened at the Phansi Museum at 11.30am on Saturday, July 20, Resilience is an exhibition that marks the African Art Centre (AAC) celebrating 60 years of supporting KwaZulu-Natal artists, having now moved into a spacious room in the 19th century Roberts House that accommodates the Phansi Museum.

The AAC’s coveted range of wood décor items, sculptures, bead work, accessories, jewellery, paintings, arts and crafts are for sale there.

Thuli Mkhize, salesperson at the African Art Centre with wooden birds from a new range of hand-crafted wooden animals available at the centre.

“The idea is also for the AAC to curate regular exhibitions which will be held in Roberts House utility room – currently used for meetings, film screenings, workshops and projects, all of which will continue,” says a spokesman.

Resilience was curated by former AAC director and respected authority on African art, Anthea Martin. The title talks to the process of adapting in the face of adversity, tragedy or stress.

A joint exhibition opening and celebration of six active decades was arranged for the exhibition, which was opened by Ursula de Haas, chairperson of the African Art Centre; and Paul Mikula, managing trustee of the Phansi Museum.

The group exhibition showcases the talents of many of the visual artists affiliated to the ACC – both experienced, named artists and rising stars.  Among the artists whose work will be on display are Sfiso ka Mkame, Zamani Makhanya, Malibongwe Shangase, Sibusiso Duma, Major Ndlovu, Jabulani Cele and Kenneth Shandu.

“Typically, the AAC is more than a retail outlet – it is a creative hub for art-makers and crafters, many of whom spend time on site. On Fridays, visitors can watch artists at work on their beading, jewellery-making and woodwork,” adds the spokesman.

“The joining of these two remarkable veteran organisations makes Roberts House an even more attractive, bustling and in-demand destination than before – most especially for visitors, tourists, cultural outings and educational institutions. In challenging financial times, combining resources and spaces makes sensible economic sense too.

A work titled Becoming (A Sense of), at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood,

“This perfect marriage offers a retail component to complement Phansi, enabling visitors after having seen the remarkable collection of artefacts, effectively to buy contemporary versions of the pieces on display.  Visitors can now see the old and the new side by side.”

The KZNSA Gallery exhibition opening at 6pm on Tuesday, July 23, is titled instæruption and is free and open to all.

The exhibition is described as is a cross between site-specific installation, collaborative work and a creative eruption that coexists with CVA post-graduate and staff exhibition. It seeks to interrupt the traditional relationships between viewer, work and space.

“View instæruption to see, understand and experience their production environment in a different way. What we traditionally think of as our materials also have natures and intelligence.  It becomes a doorway to realising we are an element of communal intelligence,” says a spokesman.

“UKZN’s CVA offers postgraduate study for artists at the diploma, honours, masters and doctoral level, in addition to the Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art (BAVA) undergraduate degree.

“This exhibition of postgraduate work includes interdisciplinary explorations as well as ‘traditional’ media of drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and digital art. The CVA aims to support undergraduate students to become ‘entrepreneurial thinkers and doers’.”

 

BILLY SUTER reports that two interesting art exhibitions are running this month at galleries in Durban – one titled “Resilience” and the other, “instæruption”. … More Two new Durban exhibitions

Art works sale for museum funds

Lee Scott’s Fish and Chips, a work contributed to the Phansi project in Durban.

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BY BILLY SUTER

ART works by several KwaZulu-Natal artists will go on sale at a special fundraising event at Durban’s Phansi Museum, 500 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood, from noon on Saturday, June 29.

The art and resulting exhibition has been created specially for the event, under the banner Be Inspired by Phansi. Admission to the event is R100 a head and art works will sell for R400 each.

Jannie van Heerden’s pencil-crayon drawing of the Msinga area.

Durban architect Paul Mikula founded the Phansi Ubuntu Art Museum in 2005, in the former home of Esther Roberts, one of Durban’s iconic freedom fighters and social anthropologists.

The house and the outbuildings have been the nurturing ground of many artists and architects who went on to contribute significantly to the cultural tapestry of South Africa. This collection is now recognised as a national asset and is visited by thousands annually.

“Local artists have been invited to reinterpret, in a medium of their choice, the Phansi Museum space. The final artworks will be sold  to raise funds for the museum, allowing people to go home with something created locally in support of Phansi’s mission to preserve Indigenous artifacts and knowledge,” says a spokesman.

A painting by Derrick Nxumalo.

Participating artists include Bronwen Findlay, Grace Kotze, Lee Scott Hemson, Pam Benporath, Catherine Stempowski, Lorraine Wilson, Camilla Kinnear, Dina Cormick, John Roome, Garth Walker , Louise Torr, Daryl Houghton, Dane Stops, Karla Nixon, Hermine Coleman, Cameron Platter and Derrick Nxumlo

Also contributing are Elliott Mkhize, Sfiso ka Mkame, Maggie Matthews, Pascale Chandler, Nindya Bucktowur, Nikhil Tricam, Lara Mellon,  Hlengiwe Dube, Kay Smart, Jannie van Heerden, Sibusiso Duma, Jo Anne Kuter, Anthea Martin, Jane Bedford, Jenny Pudifen, Mariek Petzer, Joseph Manana, Nicole Pletts, Pascale Chandler, Neith Moore and Anne Cleveland.

 

BILLY SUTER reports on a special art exhibition and fundraiser for Durban’s Phansi Ubuntu Art Museum, founded in the Glenwood area in 2005. … More Art works sale for museum funds