First showing

2011-05-03 00:00

TRADITIONAL African sunsets, complete with flat-topped acacia trees, merge with scenes of Indian women carrying water in Pieter-maritzburg artist Hamraj Gunpath’s beautiful paintings.

A graphic designer by profession, Gunpath has always dabbled in art, winning competitions at the Royal Show while still a pupil at Karina Secondary School, and later while working as a graphic artist at Gianotti­.

“I started painting as a hobby,” he says when we meet at his home, “but I now want to pursue it as a career. I want to do something that I’m passionate about. These days I can’t wait to get home to paint. Painting is so much about who I am.”

Gunpath’s newest work has a distinctly Indian and South African flavour­. Images of women selling goods, carrying water and grinding grain, contrast with those of women at leisure, working on their appearance. They are both captivating and evocative.

Asked what had inspired this particular­ series, he says: “I have always admired the perseverance of women — their work never ends, whether they’re working in a job, in a factory, in the fields, at home, or even if they’re simply looking after­ themselves. My art is there to show that people should recognise the strength of women.”

Each work he produces is also deeply personal to Gunpath, who uses mainly acrylics, but has also worked in oils, oil pastels, charcoal and chalk pastels. He says: “I paint with a lot of passion and attention to detail that is true to the subject being portrayed.”

Those subjects will be on show at Gunpath’s first exhibition at Butterflies­ for Africa’s Blue Caterpillar Gallery, in Willowton Road, from June 10 to June 24.

Asked how he felt about his first showing, he said he was nervous and excited to show his work to the world.

“Since discovering myself as an artist and realising my potential, my art has evolved and matured. I find myself living for my artwork and I’m feeding on the reassuring feedback that I’m getting from admirers.”

Among those admirers, the father­ of two can count his wife, Renai and daughters Natish (15) and Neosha (8). “They are very supportive of my work,” Gunpath said. “The children even help me make my canvasses and often go with me to look at paintings in galleries.”

• If you would like to get in touch with Gunpath phone 083 628 4557. His work can also be viewed at SouthAfricanArtists.com

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