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SA Sculpture Shines in NY

Lionel Smit Studios; Delaire Graff Estate


Main image taken at and supplied by Delaire Graff Estate.

We're so excited to once again hear of a South African artist being celebrated on a global scale, and in the most prestigious of places too.

Pretoria-born artist Lionel Smit, son of renowned sculptor Anton Smit, is jetting off to New York to install his body of work, titled Morphous, in New York’s historic Union Square. The sculptural installation is being made possible by a collaboration between Cynthia Reeves, the New York City Parks Department, the Union Square Association and Art New York.

Even though Lionel has presented a significant amount of work both locally and overseas, this will be his first public artwork showcased in the United States.

LionelSmit1 Lionel Smit, renowned South African painter and sculptor. Image supplied by Lionel Smit Studio.

The bronze sculpture, which weighs around 600kgs, was shipped to the Big Apple in May and will be ready for public viewing from 11 June 2016. Featuring a mirrored bust of a Cape Malay woman, Morphous explores the concept of hybrid identity and a binary existence, specifically within the context of South Africa's very diverse cultural and racial landscape. The work reflects Lionel's interest in the Rorschach test inkblot and the reflected, replicated images that result.

Lionel, who is well known for his contemporary portraiture in the form of both paintings and sculptures, often uses Cape Malay models as muses, as he believes that Cape Malay women epitomise the notion of hybrid identity in South Africa.

LionelSmit2 Morphous is a place of ambiguity and fluidity of space, time and states. Image taken at and supplied by Delaire Graff Estate.

Morphous will be exhibited in Union Square from 11 June 2016 through to 30 April 2017, after which time it will return to South Africa if no one has yet grabbed the opportunity to buy such a magnificent piece of work.

Other work by Lionel is currently being exhibited at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, on the Sea Point Promenade and at Delaire Graff Estate outside Stellenbosch.