2011 done and dusted, 2012 here we come.
2011 was a good year at the Worldart gallery in Cape Town. Despite the economic climate being as volatile as it is, we stayed on our feet and enjoyed what we do. The one thing that stood out most was the discovery of new artists whom the gallery started working with. The wealth of new talent and potential out there was particularly good to see.
These artists whom we worked with stood out:
• In February, we had a solo exhibition with Dave Robertson. I was a bit nervous about doing the show, for two reasons – firstly the fact that he is better known as a photographer and secondly because abstraction is a difficult medium to pitch to a wider audience. Fortunately it went well, with all the paintings on show selling out – to individuals both in SA and abroad, and to a corporate collection. The success of the show inspired Dave to explore deeper into the medium and the new works coming from his studio are very exciting.
• In May 2011 Kilmany-Jo Liversage had her first solo exhibition with Worldart. By the end of the exhibition there was a waiting list for her work and soon after she was invited to do an installation in Washington DC. She has two solo shows booked for next year, one with Worldart and the other in Johannesburg with Artspace. http://www.worldart.co.za/artists/kilmany-jo-liversage/
• I visited the Venice in October to pay respect to Gavin Rain, one of Worldart’s close associates and most successful artists, who was invited to exhibit at the Costa Rica Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale. While there, I discovered the work of Misheck Masamvu, who exhibited at the Zimbabwean Pavilion. I have since acquired some of his work for the gallery and hope to be able to do an exhibition with him in near future. http://www.worldart.co.za/artists/gavin-rain/
• An artist whom I have been keeping an eye on for the last five years, Dion Cupido, has impressed me with his latest expression, a series he refers to as his Afro-Pop portraits. You can look forward to a solo exhibition of his work at Worldart from 13 – 27 February 2011. http://www.worldart.co.za/artists/dion-cupido/
• I have recently been introduced to Khayalethu Witbooi. He walked into my gallery, no meeting scheduled, with one painting under his arm. I liked it and decided to see what visitors to the gallery’s response would be. Less than an hour later it was sold. What impressed me was the incredible skill he showed in creating artworks that looks like a collage of mixed media, but was actually 100% painted, most by hand a some stencil work on canvas. I also liked the urban feel of the work and the fact that it dealt honestly with issues related to society in South Africa in a visually appealing way. http://www.worldart.co.za/artists/khaya-witbooi/
These are just some of the highlights that 2011 provided. It was exciting and suggests that 2012 will be a good year too, as the seeds that were planted in 2011 will be allowed to come to fruition in 2012. Besides the exhibitions mentioned above, you can also look forward to exhibitions by Norman O’Flynn, Daniel Popper and Ayanda Mabulu.
Pictured above: Moths around a flame by Khayalethu Witbooi. 114cm X 95cm, Oil on canvas.