Art in the Park

2009-05-21 00:00

FOR the past 30 years, Mat Louwrens has been a fixture at Nashua Art in the Park and this year is no different. What has changed is that, for the first time, the Ixopo-based artist will be exhibiting his new series of once-off Nguni bulls in sand, alongside the beautiful sand paintings he is known for.

“The idea for the bulls came to me in a dream,” he said at the launch of this year’s event at Butterflies for Africa yesterday. “When I woke up I started putting the idea into action. After painting for 50 years it has been quite an experience to work in the third dimension.”

Each of the bulls is cast in limestone and resin, before being painted and given a certificate of authenticity to prove that there are no others like it in the world.

Lourens is one of 55 artists selected to take part in this year’s event in Alexandra Park, Pietermaritzburg, and says he wouldn’t miss it for the world.

He’s so dedicated to the event, in fact, that one year when he hurt his back getting frames down from his loft, just two weeks before Art in the Park, he insisted on attending and ended up being carried around on a stretcher.

“We’ve had some great times and some awful times, but I love it. There are no professional jealousies, we’re all buddies together and help each other,” he added.

Also setting up a stand this year is Sifiso Ngcobo from Ntuzuma, near KwaMashu. Inspired by the people around him and the natural beauty of South Africa, he makes unusual three dimensional works.

Ncgobo uses moulded plaster to create a 3-D effect on his paintings, each of which has to be carefully sketched before a drop of paint is applied. “My technique makes my work instantly recognisable,” the artist said, adding that he started making the pieces because he wanted to create something “fresh and unusual” in the art world.

Other artists exhibiting this year include: Durban-based Nicky Chovuchovu, Rene Rutgers and Bron Stofberg, Diane Erasmus from Ramsgate and Winterton’s Kim Hofmeyr.

Pietermaritzburg Tourism director Melanie Veness said the 2009 exhibition has a really international feel with artists from Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo exhibiting their work alongside artists from across South Africa.

But whether the event will top last year’s R2,3 million in sales remains to be seen in view of the current economic circumstances. Veness, however, is upbeat and believes that the scope and quality of work on show will be a huge draw card.

“Nashua Art in the Park has matured into one of the country’s premier selling exhibits, and we’re confident that the sales realised this year will be a very good reflection of the art on show,” she said, adding that the 2009 event boasts 21 new artists, including a strong developmental component showcasing the work of seven emerging artists.


• Nashua Art in the Park will be open between 10 am and 8 pm from May 27 to May 30 and from 9 am to 4 pm on May 31. Admission is R10 (children under 12 free). Parking will be available in Kershaw Park. For more information phone Pietermaritzburg Tourism at 033 345 1348.

The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s World Symphony Series Winter Season runs from

May 21 to July 2 at the Durban City Hall at 7.30 pm. To book phone Computicket at 083 915 8000. For more information, or to subscribe to the season, phone 031 369 9404, 031 369 9498 or visit

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