An art legend remembered

2016-10-05 12:42
Artist Betty Bowker Dwight – friends will be remembering her legacy in art and her love for Rondebosch Common.

Artist Betty Bowker Dwight – friends will be remembering her legacy in art and her love for Rondebosch Common.

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The Friends of Rondebosch Common (FRC) will be celebrating the life of a special member on Tuesday 18 October.

They are gathering at the Guide Hall in Alma Road, Rosebank, to remember the life of artist Betty Bowker Dwight, a long-time Mowbray resident and committee member of FRC, who passed away on 8 August last year just before she turned 91.

At this event the public will be able to view some of her art and enjoy a talk and slide show on her life and work. Artwork will also be on sale.

There will be a session starting at 10:00 to 13:00, and another starting at 17:00.

The secretary of FRC, Joanne Eastman, explains many may remember Betty from her beautiful “Year on Rondebosch Common” collection which was published in 2008.

“These original paintings have been accepted by the Compton Herbarium at Kirstenbosch alongside her grandmother’s flower paintings of Clifton and Camps Bay (1910-1916). Betty’s talent in art grew as she shared her father’s passion of nature during many walks on the Common,” says Eastman.

“After school she attended Polodini Art School and later worked at Continental Art Works in Buitengracht Street, becoming the head artist. She was only 21.

“Many of her small paintings on show originate from the early 1960s onwards, when she stopped working to look after her mother.

“This became a very prolific period in her life in which she recorded not only her own colourful garden, but nature’s beauty all around her. Painting in water colours and oils, Betty’s world was one of beauty and art.”

Eastman adds that although she was a regular sight to many in Mowbray, Betty and her little dog briskly walked each day to her “beloved common”.

“She had many friends – both young and old – and knew how to be hospitable, entertaining friends with a braai or a warm fire in winter with her favourite glass of red wine.

“But beware of just popping in! A friend found her in the kitchen with a sketch book trying to decide the best angle from which to capture in art a huge spider sitting on the window.”

Betty was also a very active member of St Patrick’s Church as secretary of the social club, starting a care group for those in need and repainting the statue of Mother Mary and Jesus in oil.
When the Friends of Rondebosch Common started in 1991 by Dr Chris Dare, Betty joined, delighted that there were like-minded people who cared about “her Common”.

“She played an active role right into her late 80s, both as a member of the FRC and the Rondebosch Common Liaison Committee – consisting of the city parks, heritage and biodiversity, the ratepayers’ and other interested groups,” adds Eastman.

“She also led many spring walks and gave talks showing her slides of Rondebosch Common. Dear Betty became an institution among us astounding many experts with her intimate knowledge of Rondebosch Common. She won a number of awards for her environmental work.”

For further information call Joanne Eastman on 021 685 3451.

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