Return to artist’s home base

Alice Elahi
Alice Elahi
RUDOLF STEHLE
Alice Elahi, a painter originally from Bishopscourt, is coming back to the city in her artwork.
The landscape and seascape artist, who paints in watercolour and oil, was born nearly 90 years ago. Even though she has spent most of her working life in Pretoria, she has never broken her ties with the Mother City.
This holiday season the UCT’s Irma Stern Museum celebrates her lifelong passion for the city, the Cape and the sea in an exhibition of her work from Saturday.
In the early 1970s Elahi discovered the thrill of the boats preparing for the Cape to Rio yacht race and her work of this era is filled with the colour and bustle of sails and masts. Elahi sat night after night in the city docks, painting sunsets and howling South Easter gales. The reflections of boats in the water also fascinated her, and this era captures historic images not only of the city harbour, but also the fishing harbour in Hout Bay and Simonstown’s naval dockyard.
Elahi became a master in using the immediacy of watercolour to capture the changing light and shade as she painted outdoors.
Painting along the Cape coastline led to a series exploring Cape mountain passes.
Art patron Harrie Siertsema, who owns a large collection of Elahi’s sepia inks of the docks, was determined to bring the artist’s work back to her home town, where she last held a show over twenty years ago.
The exhibition runs until 23 January. For more information email irmastern@uct.co.za or info@­alice­elahi.co.za.

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