Jubilee occasion: high hopes for Art in the Park’s golden year

2012-05-15 00:00

MSUNDUZI Pietermaritzburg Tourism is hoping that it will be a golden year for Art in the Park, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

South Africa’s premier art selling exhibition will take place on the banks of the Umsunduzi River from May 30 to June 3.

And to mark the occasion two large canvasses will be placed strategically for each artist to contribute to the 50th Commemorative Canvass and leave their legacy.

Among them will be Mat Louwrens, whose stunning sand art creations will be on show at Art in the Park for the 33rd time this year.

The Ixopo artist — who first showed his work in 1980 — described the exhibition as very special.

Louwrens said: “What’s so nice is the camaraderie among the artists.

“There is no professional jealousy … it’s like a family really. I can’t imagine my life without Art in the Park.”

Among the works Louwrens will be showing are two 3D sand art “paintings”, one of a leopard in a tree and the other an elephant.

They have been made using a special cement that is kept wet for seven days and then carved and moulded before being left to set for 28 days.

Other artists with a long association with Art in the Park are Lorna Panzenbock, who has been exhibiting her work for 22 years, and Simon Addy and Lyn Hoyle, who are both in their 21st year at the event.

Joining them this year is local resident Hamraj Gunpath, one of 16 first-time exhibitors at the exhibition.

His work has a distinctive Indian and South African flavour and influence. It includes brightly coloured Indian scenes and wildlife art, and a selection of new abstract oils.

“Showing my work at Art in the Park is something I have long aspired to. It will be one of the milestones in my life,” Gunpath said.

Only 55 artists received a coveted spot at Art in the Park, which last year achieved sales of R1,93 million — with 70 being turned away by the selection committee.

However, space has been created for six development artists to show their their work, courtesy of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture.

Admission to this year’s event, which boasts a new logo featuring the naming sponsor Nashua Maritzburg, runs from 10 am to 8 pm Wednesday, May 30, to Saturday, June 2 ,and from 9 am to 4  pm on Sunday, June 3. Admission is R10, under 12s free. No pets are allowed, except for guide dogs.

• arts@witness.co.za

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