Taking place from 27 October 2012 at Art in the Forest – the spectacular 1956-built Bauhaus residence turned studio and gallery in Cecilia Forest – Ground Xero is a mixed media exhibition that will focus on gardens, succulent planters, ceramics and botanical art. We chat to the gallery’s curator, Anthony Shapiro, about this spectacular exhibition space, the cause it supports and the upcoming show. What is Art in the Forest all about? Art in the Forest is a non-profit social enterprise launched in August 2011 and is now a well-established ceramic art hub producing a highly successful Studio Line and selling The Collection of recent works by South Africa’s best potters. In addition, the hub also offers ceramic art classes, team-building with clay workshops, technical ceramic workshops, demonstrations and talks. 100% of all profits made at Art in the Forest are donated to the Light From Africa Foundation and are used to sustain therapeutic clay workshops and classes for vulnerable children. Can you tell us more about the Light From Africa Foundation? Due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and extreme poverty, many vulnerable children in South Africa experience multiple traumas such as the illness and death of parents, violence and exploitation, stigma and discrimination, isolation and loneliness, and lack of adult support and guidance. The Light From Africa Foundation is a non-profit, public benefit organisation based in South Africa that works with partners around the country to provide psychosocial support for children affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty. Our aim is to deliver dynamic, creative, interactive programmes that facilitate the integration of life skills and self-esteem into the lives of vulnerable children through the use of clay. As we believe that these children are best supported in and through their families and communities, we have also developed programmes specifically aimed at their foster parents, teachers, families and care givers. Art in the Forest sounds like an amazing creative space for new and experienced artists alike. Can you elaborate on the space and its environment? Art in the Forest was built as a ceramic studio and residence in 1955 by Alexander Klopcanov, a Latvian artist. This is where Kalahari Ware was produced, important pioneers in South African ceramic history. A beautiful example of late Bauhaus architecture, the studio is double volume with a large window overlooking the entire Peninsula below. Large windows in the studio and gallery allow for much-needed natural light for the artists to work under – and to set the scene for the display of works for sale in the gallery (sunlight streaming through a translucent porcelain tealight, for example). The garden and space is inspiring and quiet nestled in the forest, a perfect place for artists to create. It’s a destination for shoppers, art lovers and nature lovers who can spend time admiring the view, the artists at work and the beautiful collection of ceramics on display. A visit to Art in the Forest is a sensory experience. What does the upcoming Ground Xero exhibition have in store for visitors? I have always been passionate about sculptural planters and the type of plants that work well in them. When I arrived here I discovered that Almarie Pelser, my co-curator for this show, is obsessed with indigenous succulents. So we started making planters immediately with the first lot selling instantly. What is the overall theme of the exhibition? The theme is explained in the title of the show. ‘Ground’ covers anything linked to the earth and ‘Xero’ refers to plants that grow with little or no water. What will be on display? Sculptural planters, assorted ceramics and wood sculptures will be on display. Who will be exhibiting? Participating artists include John Shirley, Dale Lambert, Eunice Botes, Rika Herbst, Anthony Shapiro, Madoda Fani, Art in the Forest Artists, Loni Drager, Loren Kaplan, Michelle Jane Legg, Nic Sithole and Marion Fuchs. Ground Xero will be opened on 27 October by House and Leisure Editor Naomi Larkin, and will run until 20 December 2012 at Art in the Forest, Rhodes Drive, Constantia Nek, Cape Town. Contact 021-794-0291 or visit lightfromafrica.com for more information.