Art Month Is In Full Swing At Welgemeend Heritage Site
The annual art month at Welgemeend brings a series of educational cultural events to Cape Town amid the work of old masters and almost forgotten artists.
With our Art Issue currently on shelf, we’re feeling super inspired by all the prestigious art events taking place around the country over the coming weeks.
This weekend sees the opening of William Kentridge’s biggest exhibition on African soil in a decade – at Norval Foundation and Zeitz MOCAA.
Then, in September, Art Week is presented in Johannesburg, with FNB Art Joburg and the inaugural Latitudes Art Fair. Javett-UP, the new public-private art destination at the University of Pretoria also opens its doors next month, on Heritage Day.
However, for those wanting to dive into the art scene right this minute, there’s the 'art month' currently taking place the Welgemeend heritage site in Cape Town from 1-31 August. This year’s exhibition and educational programme, titled ‘Satire and Irony’, includes talks, masterclasses, film previews and other cultural events.
Started five years ago as a charity initiative by avid collectors Frank and Lizelle Kilbourn – Frank being chairperson of Strauss & Co – the funds raised go toward preserving the site’s age-old history and the manor house at Welgemeend, which was built in 1693, given heritage status in 1944 and continues to house an important historical collection of earlier 20th-century masterpieces assembled by Afrikaans poet Izak Wilhelmus 'Boerneef' van der Merwe.
With the help of Stephan Welz, founding managing director of Strauss & Co, and the Strauss & Co team, the Kilbourns are showing artworks from their private collection, alongside pieces from the personal collections of Marion and Jonathan Bloch, Erin and Leo Podlashuc, and Caro Wiese.
Works include a selection of paintings by the late Robert Hodgins, Stanley Pinker and Alexander Podlashuc, who was once a cartoonist for British satirical magazine Punch and later became an art educator in Port Elizabeth. The exhibition also includes bronze sculptures by Johannesburg Modernist Peter Haden – the first exhibition of his work since 1969.
A programme of talks has also been presented at Welgemeend to coincide with the exhibition.
A lecture on Alexander Podlashuc will be presented by Iziko Museums of South Africa curator Hayden Proud on 28 August, followed by a talk by Strauss & Co senior art specialist Dr Alastair Meredith, who will tackle the work of Egon Guenther and the Amadlozi Group he co-founded in the 1960s, which produced work reflecting an African influence.
As one of the country’s early collectors, gallerists and art dealers, Guenther was responsible for promoting and shaping the careers of Cecil Skotnes, Sydney Kumalo, Edoardo Villa and Peter Haden. The discussion will focus strongly on the sculptures of Haden in the exhibition.
In addition to the art events, a classical music concert took place on 18 August, featuring young award-winning musicians, and a wine workshop takes place on 26 August, led by sommelier Higgo Jacobs.
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