Complying with POPIA


NOTE that is dedicated to protecting subscriber information and, in compliance with South Africa’s POPI (Protection of Personal Information) Act, which came into effect on July 1, 2021, the site wants to ensure that subscribers remain happy to receive email and information. 

The Act serves to protect subscribers and their personal data – and respects subscriber privacy. The site’s database is securely stored according to best practice, access is strictly controlled and the site does not share subscriber information with third parties. 

As a subscriber you are automatically emailed a copy of a story as it is posted to the site. If you’d like to continue to hear from regularly then simply sit back and relax. You are herewith notified, however, that you may exercise your right by leaving the mailing list. To do so, simply click the unsubscribe button.

During these difficult times, when the leisure, hospitality, arts and associated industries are haemorrhaging due to inability to trade to their full capacity, relies increasingly on its ability to share appropriate information to interested parties. The site will, of course, continue to do so with compliance and good faith.

BILLY SUTER reports compliance with South Africa’s new POPI Act which is intended to ensure that subscribers remain happy to receive email and information. … More Complying with POPIA

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.


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


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

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:

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

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.


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.

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.


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 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

Diverse range of local art

A view of Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood, where work by 25 local artists is now on show.


SOME interesting things are happening on the Durban and Pietermaritzburg art scenes, including the opening, at 6pm on Tuesday, May 21, of an exhibition by Banele Khoza, titled Seeking Love. This will be at the Durban Art Gallery in the City Hall building.

Also of note is an exhibition by various local artists, running until June 2 at the KZNSA Gallery in Bulwer Park, Glenwood, titled Ikhono Lasenatali.

Note, too, that Pietermaritzburg’s Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition by Umhlanga-based artist Angelika Anastasis, who works in ceramics and oils.

There will be a free walkabout with artist Banele Khoza from 10am to noon on Wednesday, May 22, at which this 2017 Gerard Sekoto award-winner will discuss his work.

Seeking Love, running until June 21 at the Durban Art Gallery, is a collection of work that reflects the complex nature of love, how important it is to acknowledge the heart’s desires and to also learn self-love – which Khoza wants people to walk away from the exhibition thinking about.

“This exhibition is an open love letter to whoever is watching or reading my work – also to God/All/The universe. I am confessing that I am ready, and I am letting go of the search,” explains the artist.

Khoza is a Swazi-born and South African-based visual artist. He first enrolled at the London International School of Fashion in Pretoria, but soon realised his passion was in the Fine Arts realm.

Banele Khoza, whose Seeking Love exhibition opens at the Durban  art gallery on Tuesday, May 21.

He holds a B Tech in Fine Arts from Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria. In 2017, he won the prestigious Gerard Sekoto Award and with it a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

The Durban Art Gallery is open seven days a week – from 8.30am to 4pm  Mondays to Saturdays, and from 11am to 3.45pm on Sundays and public holidays.  Entry is free and all are welcome. For more info, phone (031) 311 2264 / 9.

The current KZNSA Gallery exhibition, Ikhono Lasenatali is a collection of commissions by acclaimed South African visual activist, Zanele Muholi, to 25 young KwaZulu-Natal visual artists to reinterpret Muholi’s self-portraits from the Somnyama Ngonyama project in each young artist’s medium and technique.

The exhibition at the KZNSA, curated by Bajabulile Dhlamini and Thobeka Bhengu, celebrates KwaZulu-Natal’s talent and provides a platform for the young artists to showcase their skills and craft.

Ikhono Lasenatali also forms part of a 25 Years of Democracy commemoration, with the interpretations of Somnyama Ngonyama by mostly ‘born-free’ artists speaking to social ills and touching on Muholi’s themes of gender, race, politics, sexuality, collaboration, and collectivism.

Participating artists are: Mpilo Makhanya, Bongani Luthuli, Lindokuhle Khumalo, Mlamuli Mkhwanazi, Mthobisi Maphumulo, Mduduzi Dzanibe, Londiwe Mtshali, Andile Maphumulo, Sthenjwa Luthuli, Lungisani Ndlovu, Nomusa Mtshali, Morgan Mohape, Sphephelo Mnguni, Ncumisa Mcitwa, Major Ndlovu, Mondli Mbhele, Zwelinjani Radebe, Shabo Bhengu, Mhlonishwa Chiliza, Khulekani Mkhize, Lindani Nyandeni, Nhlakanipho Gcwabe, Thembi Mtshali, Thalente Khomo, Wonder Mbambo and Nkosikhona Majola.

There are numerous educational activities planned throughout the exhibition, including public and schools walkabouts. These will facilitate in-depth discussions on national, continental and international issues relevant to the artworks selected.

Discussions will also provide a vibrant overview of South African contemporary art and art history, encouraging participants to engage in critical thinking and analysis through visual interactions and experience.

Drawing Out the Lines, a work by by Umhlanga-based artist Angelika Anastasis, on show at the Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.

For more information on the exhibition, the education programme or to book a walkabout for a school, contact Thobeka Bhengu at 073 968 0825 or the KZNSA Education Officer, Summaya Menezes, at 083 307 8619.

Jenni Cramer, the curator of Pietermaritzburg’s Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery, describes as “fresh and exciting” the latest exhibition by Angelika Anastasis, which opened this week and runs until the end of August.

Anastasis is an artist who has always loved colour which she uses with ease in her canvases. This contrasts with the refreshing starkness of her ceramic pieces.

“This artist has a wonderful way of expressing herself through confident use of colour and also bold outlines used on the canvas. All of her pieces on display include the image of a woman, but with many different interpretations, and also individual ‘stories’ which are partnered with each painting,” explains Cramer.

Anastasis won the Regional award for Ceramics South Africa 2017. She is both a ceramic and a contemporary oil artist.

Mantombi, a work by Angelika Anastasis.

She has exhibited both in Johannesburg and Durban, in joint painting exhibitions with Jody Waterson and with Nicole Pletts, as well as participating in a number of group exhibitions. She has sold work both locally and internationally.

Anastasis worked for many years as a counsellor, using her psychology background and UK training as a hypnotherapist and psychic within the ‘mind-body’ space.  Within this space she learned of the significance of symbols, seeing them as hints of intuition to take direction.

Angelika uses symbols in particular birds as a reference to one’s intuition and inner knowing. The heart also features in many of her paintings, and she sees the heart as allowing one to overcome fear, our biggest stumbling block.

She is inspired by women, focusing on their strengths, vulnerabilities and archetypes. A cacophony of colour is diametrically opposed to the formal shapes Angelika experienced in London. The triangular shapes of Proteas and softer shapes of roses also draw her in.

Working primarily with oil colours and with a loose natural style, she is currently exploring the world of mixed media by bringing in more graphic shapes.

The Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery is at Butterflies for Africa, 37 Willowton Road, Pietermaritzburg, The number to call for more information is (033) 387 1356.

BILLY SUTER reports on three diverse art exhibitions currently to be seen in Durban and Pietermaritzburg– including one involving work by 25 local artists. … More Diverse range of local art

18 artists collaborate in the Midlands

Tahina Ratoarivony and Mat Li get creative at the workshop which has been held at  the Kings School, Nottingham Road, since April 1 and culminates with an open day on April 13.. All pictures by Thalante Khomo.


EIGHTEEN artists from around the world are collaborating to make art together in the Midlands – at the Thupelo International Arts Workshop, a free open day for which is planned from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, April 13.

The venue is the Kings School, Nottingham Road, where the workshop began on April 1. The open day will see the work on display for public viewing and audience engagement.

Self-directed education through interactive creative practice, exchange of ideas and skills mark the international workshop, which has  artists from five countries working together in various disciplines.

This is an initiative of the Cape Town-based Greatmore Studios, which received a great response from close to 80 art makers from all over the world wanting to be considered for one of the spaces to benefit from this opportunity. The multi-lingual, multi-cultural participants work and live on campus at King’s School for the duration of the residency.

“The idea behind the workshop’s ethos is about creating space for making art without the pressures of structured conventions often accompanying the so-called ‘mainstream’ institutions,” explains Witty Nyide, co-ordinator for both regional and international KZN-based Thupelo workshops.

Nkcubeko Balani of Grahamstown  is among the artists collaborating to make art together in the Midlands – at the Thupelo International Arts Workshop in Nottingham Road.

“It is open to self-motivated visual artists who are keen to expand their ideas, exchange knowledge and experiment in fellowship with other artists

“This also encourages a space for sharing skills and ideas in an innovative environment where artists feel safe to experiment and learn from one another.

“Since 1985, each workshop, regional or international, has had its own identity which unfolds as the workshop progresses. The material budget is often quite low, so sharing and the use of found objects or donated materials is encouraged,” adds Nyide.

Thupelo, which is a Sotho phrase meaning ‘to teach by example’, was initiated in 1985, in Johannesburg, by David Koloane, together with the late Bill Ainsle and a group of artists.

Both regional and international Thupelo workshops were initiated in response to a need for interaction between artists and are therefore artists-led. It is part of the international Triangle network of studio and workshop initiatives. Durban hosted a regional workshop last December.

Participants are: Anushka Kempken (Jhb); Crawford Mandumbwa  (Zambia); Danisile Ncube(Zimbabwe);  Khaya Sineyile (CT); Lara Vlaska (Germany);  Mat Li (Madagascar); Ncumisa Mcitwa (Durban); Nkcubeko Balani (Grahamstown); Nomusa Mtshali (Durban); Owen Shikabeta (Zambia); Selloane Moeti (Durban);  Tahina Rakotoarivony (Madagascar); Vanessa Chen (CT); Thalente Khomo (Durban); Clive Sithole (Durban); Thami Jali (Durban); Anthony Cawood (CT) and Witty Nyide (Pretoria).

If there is demand for a bus to take people from Durban to Midlands and home again for the morning, one can be organised for a nominal fee. Should you be keen to take arranged transport, contact Witty Nyide at 076 333 3671.

BILLY SUTER reports that 18 artists are making art together in the Midlands – at the Thupelo International Arts Workshop, a free open day for which is planned for April 13. … More 18 artists collaborate in the Midlands

Artistic flights of fancy…

A work by Darryl Houghton on the Themes exhibition headed for Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood,


TWO new exhibitions, Flight of Fancy by Ceramics Southern Africa, and Themes, a group exhibition by Garret Artists, open at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood on Tuesday, August 21.

Running until September 2, Flight of Fancy will be in the Main Gallery. It will showcase work of the members of the KwaZulu-Natal branch of Ceramics Southern Africa, with guest artists Margot Rudolph and Phumlani Nyawo.

A work by Margot Rudolph in the Flight of Fancy exhibition.

Rudolph obtained her national diploma in Ceramic Design at the Pretoria Technikon in 1986. She returned full-time to pottery and opened her own studio in 1996.

She works mainly in stoneware combined with colours, and her individual style embraces a distinctly African theme. She draws inspiration from indigenous plants and textures, manifesting in vibrantly unique ceramic works of art.

Rudolph has won an award on the regional ceramic exhibition and has exhibited on regional and national exhibitions organised by the Ceramics SA, as well as various group exhibitions and solo exhibitions.

Phumlani Nyawo has been involved in ceramic art since 2006, but says he learnt a lot from his brothers when he was a youngster and still living at home in Pongola. “My brothers made the pottery and inspired me to get involved in art.”

Besides his brothers, Phumlani says other artists such as Clive Sithole have had a huge impact on him as an artist, and he has learnt a lot from them.

He uses time-honoured techniques. His forms are contemporary, dramatic yet timeless. His beautiful ceramics are ideally suited for placement on coffee tables, bookshelves or anywhere they can be seen at eye level for guests to admire.

Themes, also running until September 2, is an exhibition from the Garret Artists group, which has been in existence for 25-plus years and comprises a number of local artists who meet once a week to make art and exchange ideas.

The essential focus of the group is on drawing, but that term is loosely interpreted to mean works on paper. This broad definition of ‘drawing’ even allows for the inclusion of printmaking, and a series of lino prints are included in the exhibition.

Media used ranges from graphite pencils to paper collages and from charcoal sticks to drawing inks.  In other words, the artists explore a wide range of mark making materials and this adds a particular vitality to their works.

The artists work around a broad common theme over a number of weeks with each theme serving as a means of providing the art making process with both direction and unity. However, the aim is for each artist to investigate a given theme in a very personal way within very broad parameters.

Personal expression is thus paramount and no tuition, as such, is given.  Constructive criticism of the artworks is invited and plays a vital and integral role within the group.

Members can learn from each other in a supportive, affirming environment and so strengthen their own art making processes.  A range of themes will be discerned within the current exhibition and include ‘coastLINES’, ‘Shoes’, ‘Plants in Containers’, ‘Vessels’, and ‘Buildings’.

A colourful woodcut print by Ezequiel Mabote, on show in Pietermaritzburg..

Still on the local art scene… note that some colourful new woodcut prints by Ezequiel Mabote are now to be seen at The Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery, which is housed in the same complex as the fascinating Butterflies for Africa attraction at 37 Willowton Road in Pietermaritzburg.

“We’re delighted to present a new collection by one of Southern Africa’s most popular woodcut artists – from the quirky to the serene, these woodcut prints demonstrate Ezequiel’s fine workmanship in delivering pieces alive with joyful movement and creativity,” says curator Jeni Cramer.

Mabote is a self-taught artist from Mozambique who got his inspiration as a child, learning from older boys in his neighbourhood who did woodcarving and fabric design.

He learnt the basics of art at school but was forced to abandon these studies to find work to support his family. Later in life he got the opportunity to study fine art at the Nucleo de Arte in Maputo, where he developed his skills in woodcut printing.

“The high degree of quality and professionalism in his work is testament to his talent and dedication to art. Ezequiel’s work has been exhibited in a number of galleries worldwide, including several exhibitions in New York and Chicago,” says Cramer.

For more details contact (033) 3871356 or visit the website:

For my review of the gallery and the delightful Butterflies for Africa enclose – which has attracted more than 100 species of butterfly to a 6 000 square-metre garden created soley to attract the creatures – click here:

BILLY SUTER reports on two new exhibitions, ‘Flight of Fancy’ by Ceramics Southern Africa and ‘Themes’, a group exhibition by Garret Artists, opening at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery soon. … More Artistic flights of fancy…

Madiba focus at Hilton Arts Festival

This massive Mandela work. made up of crochetted blankets, was unveiled at Zonderwater Prison outside Cullinan in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s centenary. Picture by John Hogg.


IN HONOUR  of Nelson Mandela’s centenary year, the Hilton Arts Festival in September will have a special Madiba focus – from art work to theatre, blankets to installations and massive public art sculptures – when the event runs at various venues in the Hilton College grounds from September 14 to 16.

Two massive outdoor exhibitions have been arranged, the first being the thought-provoking “Think” bench, encouraging patrons to think differently. Rand Merchant Bank commissioned self-taught sculptor and artist Louis Olivier, who regularly works with the renowned William Kentridge, to create a series of art works that are both functional and attractive. The massive structure, spanning 14m, is one of a series of ‘benches’ which adorn public places – in this large-scale project that has been underway for some years.

Oliver was commissioned by RMB through its art curator, Teresa Lizamore, to create a pair of contemporary bookends inspired by Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. This evolved into the benches – a larger scale version of the book-end concept.

Detail from T.O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E, a monumental public art sculpture consisting of nine letters in bronze.

The “Think” bench spells ‘THINK’ from one side and from another appears to be life-size figures interacting at different angles.

The second work will be based outside the school’s Chapel: T.O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E is a monumental public art sculpture consisting of nine letters in bronze.

International artist Guy Ferrer – who is French of Mediterranean origin – created this work as an ode to tolerance, depicting priests, wise men and pilgrims entwined in the letters, which suggests a religion, belief or spirituality. His starting point was a quote by the Dalai Lama: “It is not of importance that one be a believer or not:  what is important is to be tolerant”.

In Buzz Room 3, a collection of John Meyer’s artworks, Mandela: A Life’s Journey, will be on display. The collection of numbered signed prints, owned by Andrew Dunn, is on permanent loan to Hilton College and will be curated, thanks to The Everard Read Gallery and the Tatham Art Gallery, for the public to appreciate. The 16 prints need to be viewed in sequence and follow the story of Madiba’s life.

Making its second appearance at the festival, featuring in Buzz Room 1, is the participative initiative, 67 Blankets for Mandela. This ‘Knitting Revolution for Nelson Mandela’ sparked ‘Knitwits’ from around the globe to contribute and create blankets and scarves for the thousands of less fortunate during winter.

They recently broke the Guinness Book of Records record for the world’s longest scarf, measuring in at over 29 km.

Inspired by the life and character of Mandela, pianist, composer, arranger, Burton Naidoo has transcribed some of Madiba’s most iconic speeches. The concert, entitled Our Song, includes the words of the speeches harmonised in the effort to create a musical backdrop to these important pieces. Burton has also written new compositions to compliment the performance.

Written for solo piano and track, the works audiences can expect include speeches from the Rivonia Trial, praise singing from Sthembile Mlangeni and Zolani Mkhiva at the inauguration, as well as FW De Klerk’s announcement to free Nelson Mandela at Parliament, 1990.

Naidoo has performed throughout the world and continues to push the boundaries of his musical imagination. This concert is scheduled for 2pm on Saturday, September 15.

The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Tiso Black Star, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee Design, DWR Distribution,  Extreme Events, Bidvest Car Rental,  KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, Redlands Hotel, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi,  BASA, Corona and Capital Media.

The full festival programme will be available on Sunday, August 12, in The Sunday Times and on the festival website. Bookings open online on August 13.

T.,O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E is a large-scale public art sculpture consisting of nine letters in bronze.

BILLY SUTER reports that the Hilton Arts Festival in September will have a special Madiba focus – from art work to theatre, blankets to installations and massive public art sculptures. … More Madiba focus at Hilton Arts Festival

Bassist, chef and painter…

Simon Pontin, bassist, chef and artist, is back in Durban with an exhibition of his paintings.


IF YOU were a regular fan of music and supper theatre in Durban in the ’80s and ’90s you are sure to recall Simon Pontin, a bassist who appeared in such shows as The Guitar That Rocked the World, Good Vibrations and The Piano Men. He also featured in popular bands including Urban Creep, Skin Trade and The Tim Wells Band.

So what became of the amiable musician? Well, it is good to report that he is alive and well, now 48, and has been living in Edinburgh in Scotland for the past decade, where he is making a living as a chef for event catering.

He is still dabbling in music – check out his two original albums, free, on the link below – and is also creating art these days, having attained a Higher Diploma in Fine Art: Painting from the then-Technikon Natal in Durban 1992.

A work by Simon Pontin.

It is his art that is highlighting Pontin again in Durban – he is visiting to present  some of his paintings at an exhibition in Gillitts, where it will run concurrently with an exhibition of  photographs by local DJ and photographer Manoj Budhu. The works will be on show from April 13 to 30 at The Old House Gallery, 19 Alexander Drive in Gillitts.

The Old House Gallery will be open from 10am until 6pm Monday to Friday. Private viewings can be arranged for serious buyers by special request.

Pontin says of his art: “My aim is to produce as much quality, experience-based artworks as possible.”

He adds: “ I loosely adhere to the principles of Transpersonal Art. I believe that art is, in its archetypal form, a means for man to transcend the obvious and the physical, manifesting the spiritual reality of the self.

“I believe that through the process of creating  my work, and the materials and
meditation employed, a transmutation of substance occurs. This process is a spiritual  journey, a process of cleansing and healing that even though mostly misunderstood by myself, leaves me with a sense of connection to the world around me, and a general feeling of well being.”

He describes his creative process as generally involving working on at least four to five artworks at one time, each  piece evolving and interacting with
each other.

“Often smaller, individual pieces become incorporated into bigger pieces,  resulting in multifacets of meaning and imagery. Some pieces evolve over many months, even years, the intentional ageing and deterioration of substances and materials manifesting the creative process over time.”

Of his original music, Pontin says :”My aim is to create music that is melodic and interesting, but at the same time, does not stick to any predetermined formula or style. For a full bio go to”

NOTE: Pontin’s two solo albums, produced in Edinburgh, are available by clicking here:


BILLY SUTER reports that former Durban bassist Simon Pontin, now based in Edinburgh as a chef, is back in South Africa and in the spotlight – this time with his art exhibition in Gillitts. … More Bassist, chef and painter…