SANAVA promotes visual arts, develops visual artists and furthers international cooperation in the field of the visual arts Newsletter Nº
September 2014
Dirkie's dialogue...

I wish to thank readers of SANAVA Matters who have responded so complimentary on the newsletter. I am delighted that all the administrative changes have been positive and SANAVA is turning into a streamlined and well-oiled machine thanks to Junxion Communications and our secretary Ben Rootman.

In collaboration with our partner Absa, there are plans afoot to make the annual Atelier Art competition even bigger. We believe this will give the competition an even more prominent and international profile. The SANAVA residencies at the Cité Internationale in Paris are for South Africans only, and we want to keep this prize. We are currently investigating prize options to accommodate international winners.

The SANAVA Executive wishes to once again reassure our members that the SANAVA constitution remains our fundamental guidelines according to which our organisation is governed. Led by our legal advisors, we will just be fine-tuning the document this year and a draft will be circulated to all member branches and affiliates for consideration before it is tabled at the next annual general meeting in 2015.

About building the SANAVA brand, I urge you to display our brand at your branches – artwork and specifications available from the secretariat.

The SANAVA Executive is looking forward to a strategic planning session to be held in Pretoria in October and we will keep you posted.

Kind regards
Dirkie Offringa
National President
You could be curating here...
Arts and Culture is looking for a curator

The Department of Arts and Culture wishes to appoint a curator for South Africa's participation in the 56th international art exhibition in Venice from 9 May to 22 November 2015.

Tender documents are obtainable from the department's website or can be collected at the Department of Arts and Culture, 8th Floor, Kingsley Centre, corner Steve Biko and Stanza Bopape Streets, Arcadia.

The closing date is 13 October 2014 at 11:00.

Bids must be submitted to The Department of Arts and Culture at the same address.

For technical enquiries contact Andries Oberholzer on 012 441 3611, e-mail

For bid-related enquiries contact Refilwe Zulu on 012 441 3089, e-mail or Tuelot Thubisi on 012 441 3504, e-mail
The iconic Barcelona chair.
The less is more man

One of the SANAVA Matters readers recently visited Barcelona. Being an admirer of the German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and a supporter of the Pretoria Art Museum, she sent us this contribution.

The Barcelona Pavilion, designed by Mies van der Rohe, was the German pavilion for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain. It was used for the official opening of the German exhibition. The building was removed after the exhibition, but in time it became a key reference for the architectural history of the 20th century. It was later rebuilt.

The overall impression is of a luxurious space created by perpendicular planes in three dimensions. It is an important building in the history of modern architecture, known for its simple form and its elegant use of materials such as marble, red onyx and travertine.

The same features of minimalism can be applied to the furniture specifically designed for the building, an example of which is the iconic Barcelona chair.

This fine example of the International Style has inspired many important modernist buildings, including the Pretoria Art Museum which was designed by Burg, Lodge and McIntosh and inaugurated in 1964.

The Pretoria Art Museum is an affiliated member of SANAVA.
Can you sculpt a book? Then read on...

Bellville Library Centre announces their exciting 3D Book Sculpture Competition for their 25th Birthday.

A book will be supplied with each entry application and the book sculpture should consist of at least 80% of the book provided. All entries should be handed in at the ArtB Gallery by 12 November 2014.

A curated exhibition will be held from 26 November to end December.

Entry forms are available at the Bellville Library Centre. R50 per entry. First prize is R6000. If you have any queries, please contact Hetta Pieterse at ArtB via phone 021 918 2287 / 021 917 1197 or email at
You are invited to the highveld art soirée

Musicians, actors, dancers, gymnasts and artists become part of our Week of Entertainment from 6 tot 10 October at the Middelburg Mall and Cappuccino's.

This showcase for highveld artis will include an art exhibtion by selected artists from Middelburg, Emalahleni, Dullstroom and Lydenburg. Arts Assocation Pretoria Director Pieter van Heerden chaired the selection committee. Looking forward to seeing you at the highveld art soirée!
Association of Arts Pretoria – one of the visiting points on the Pretoria Art Meander.
Pretoria Art Meander

Sunday is a day of worship, rest and leisure and gives us the opportunity to spend time with family and friends with an enjoyable midday gathering or braai. However, many of us feel slightly depressed or have the Sunday blues at the end of the day – a feeling that it was an empty day without anything to feed the soul. This is why a Sunday afternoon concert lifts the spirit. Going to such a concert is undoubtedly very rewarding and a good way to fight the Sunday blues - but such a concert requires dressing up and passive, quiet listening.

This is where the Pretoria Art Meander brings a new and exciting experience - no dressing up, no expensive admission fees and no passive listening. With the Pretoria Art Meander launching during the Cool Capital Biennale, old and new acquaintances can meet at the art galleries and studios. Viewing and discussing the art on display at the various galleries and studios can be an enlightening and uplifting experience. It is a delightful way to explore the richness, the abundance and talents of our Pretoria art community and, at the same time, to discover the treasures of the known, and not so well known, art galleries and studios in our city.

What a wonderful way to fight the Sunday blues!

More than 20 galleries and artists' studios have joined the Pretoria Art Meander. They are:

Art Lovers 1932 (Waterkloof); Association of Arts Pretoria (Nieuw Muckleneuk); The gallery @ Brooklyn Theatre (Menlo Park); Crimson Red Studios CC (Riviera); De Merindol Antiques & Art (Brooklyn); Gallery 20.20 (Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site); Kaimara Gallery (Lynnwood); Laubar Art (Brooklyn Bridge); The Leonardo Gallery (Moreleta Park); Loubser Trent Gallery (Brooklyn); Aleta Michaletos (Lynnwood); Naude Modern (Muckleneuk Ridge); the Pretoria Art Museum (Arcadia Park); Rookls Art Studio (Waterkloof Shopping Centre); SMALL Artist studio & project space (Rietondale); St Lorient Fashion & Art Gallery (Brooklyn Circle); The Tina Skukan gallery (Faerie Glen); Trent Gallery (Waterkloof); The Chris Tugwell Gallery (Brooklyn Mall); Mimi van der Merwe (Colbyn) and the Alette Wessels Kunskamer (Maroelana).

Visitors to the meander can make a stopover or end the day at Café 41 in Hazelwood to share their impressions and experiences of the day.
Certainly tranquil enough to be productive.
Driftwood Studios – an artist's retreat

Driftwood Studios is an art studio and gallery with accommodation where sculptor George Kockott lives and works. It overlooks the coastal dune forest at Rainbow Valley near East London. Just a short walk to the sea and surf, this is a beautiful natural environment to take up an artist residency.

George, owner and proprietor, lives with his family in their architect designed main house. There are two self-catering cottages on the grounds to accommodate visiting artists. This is a small family residency where you will have private space to develop but are encouraged to share your work and life.

There are good local shops 5km away, including a pharmacy, eateries, internet café and a post office and East London is only 20km away. Facilities include en-suite bedroom and own kitchen/diner, and barbeque. One cottage has two shower en-suites, particularly suitable for two friends sharing. Professional art supplies are available at a preferential rate from local suppliers.

For more information contact Claire or George Kockott on 043 7374431 or 083 479 2750. Visit, and
BASA and British Council offer audience development opportunity

Business and Arts South Africa and the British Council Connect ZA have partnered on a project to grow audience development skills in South Africa's arts community.

The project trains arts organisations to interrogate current audiences to significantly grow new audiences and to become audience focused organisations. Information will be shared with other organisations so as to impact the South African arts community in an ongoing way.

The programme assists arts marketers and digital marketing professionals who are technically focused and have a keen interest in audience development.

This is an opportunity for practitioners and academics to further their knowledge in the field of audience development. To this end, BASA and the British Council Connect ZA are recruiting four candidates based in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The first phase of the project will see the four candidates trained by the UK-based Arts Marketing Association by early next year. Thereafter they will be assigned to a local arts organisation for six months.

The association has developed learning materials and a training framework which includes a trip to the UK. The candidates will also attend the association's digital marketing day, along with engagements with some UK arts organisations currently using cutting edge strategies and techniques in audience development.

"Arts organisations really struggle with audience development and this project fills a huge gap," says BASA's Marketing Manager, Lonwabo Mavuso.

"Arts organisations that are involved will share good practice with other organisations across the country, thereby maximising the project's impact. In addition, we aim to have a long-term relationship with the four candidates to provide further guidance to the arts around audience development."

To apply visit For additional information call Diana Williams on 011 442 2295, e-mail
A young artist seeking a UNESCO grant ...

Visit for UNESCO-Aschberg burseries for artists.
2014 National Corobrik ceramic exhibition in Constantia

Ceramics Southern Africa's 2014 national exhibition, sponsored by Corobrik, will be held in the Great Cellar, Alphen Estate in Constantia from 16 November to 6 December.

It is one of the events celebrating Cape Town's designation as Design Capital of the World for 2014.

Magdalene Odundo, one of the most recognised international figures in the world of ceramics, has been invited to be the award judge for the national exhibition and will travel to the various regional centres to give workshops to the members.

Born in Kenya, her work reflects traditional African aesthetics, but is influenced by her Western art education as a result of her MA from the Royal College of Art as well as her undergraduate training at the Cambridge College of Art.

The pure, paired down forms of her vessels that are so simple yet so sophisticated, reveal the absorption of her African roots and her Western art training.

Her work is in the permanent collections of the British Museum, the Smithsonian, the Victoria and Albert and many others.

Other ceramic events

Other ceramic events during November include a Ceramics Southern Africa - Iziko collaborative exhibition – From African Earth – a celebration of African vessel heritage from the Iziko collection combined with an exhibition of vessels made in the same style by current Ceramics SA members.

Rust en Vrede and the Clay Museum in Durbanville will host an Anglo Oriental retrospective exhibition and an exhibition of tea bowls in the CUBE.

Ceramics Southern Africa has been an affiliate member of SANAVA for several years. Its members are represented by branches in Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Namibia.

In 2012 it celebrated its 40th anniversary during the Corobrik national exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum.

For more information visit
Streamlining the issuing of museum cards

SANAVA is streamlining the issuing of museum cards for branch members travelling abroad and the cards will be made available on demand.

To issue branch members with a museum card, this information must be e-mailed to the secretariat -
  • A JPEG full colour photograph
  • A JPEG electronic signature
  • Branch e-mail stating you are a paid-up member
  • Passport number
  • EFT proof of payment of R50 for card production and postage fee into SANAVA'S bank account [SANAVA, Absa Brooklyn, Account number: 4052801496, Branch code: 632 005]
  • Physical address for mailing museum card top
Do not hesitate to contact the secretariat on tel 082 551 4853, e-mail should you require additional information.
Isa Styenberg and Ben Rootman @ St Lorient Fashion & Art Gallery, Brooklyn Circle.
South Africa's capital IS cool

The Cool Capital 2014 Biennale is the world's first uncurated, DIY, guerilla biennale - a place for the citizens of the capital city to collectively contemplate and express why they love the city and how they can improve it.

Brain child of architects Pieter Mathews and Carla Taljaard, they have pulled together an amazing creative team throughout the city that is setting innovative powers free.

Officially opened by the city's executive mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa at the Open Window School of Visual Communications at the end of August, the programme runs to middle November. It offers a multitude of art forms to suit everyone's taste.

Come explore the creative expression that Pretoria has to offer, and be introduced to the wealth of art, architecture, urban and graphic design, public installations, film screenings and musical performances – all in the cool capital.

Prince Albert arts festival

An ancient space in the heart of the Karoo, regenerated

Marianne Thamm – Daily Maverick

The first artists to make their mark near the Karoo settlement of Prince Albert were the Khoi-San, who interpreted this beguiling arid, ancient stretch of territory on the walls of caves and rock faces. In the 21st century a host of significant contemporary artists exhibited work during the town's second arts festival in September.

Prince Albert is not on the road to anywhere. It is a Karoo (from the Khoi word Karusa) dorpie you have to plan to visit. There are three roads to the village - over the breathtaking Swartberg Pass or via Meiringspoort or from the N1, linking the Central Karoo to the coast.

Prince Albert, 390km from Cape Town and 'home' to the character Anna K in JM Coetzee's 1983 Booker prize-winning novel, The life and times of Michael K, is a geographical space heavy with intersecting histories and cosmic significance. In Coetzee's novel, Michael K returns to the farm of his mother's birth to find it abandoned by its white owners, the labourers forcibly removed, the territory hostile to his very existence.

There is no place in South Africa today where the ghosts of history do not prowl, howling to be seen, heard and acknowledged, and Prince Albert is no different. But the alluring and spectacular beauty of the landscape cannot help but beguile and mesmerize, and it is this that has no doubt attracted a new generation of settlers (a word too not without controversy in South Africa) as well as visitors from across the globe.

From its ancient arid plains and those who first roamed here through to the establishment of the first farm in 1762, the mini gold-rush that took place in 1891, the Anglo-Boer War, the forced removals of Apartheid-era South Africa to the more recent phenomenon of a reverse migration of professionals to the village, Prince Albert offers not only 'deafening silence and peace' but also an opportunity to engage with a variety of issues.

Prince Albert, population around 15 000, has been abuzz these past few weeks. There are two issues that have townsfolk talking and both are somewhat interrelated. The first is a paper published by two Wits academics, Melissa Steyn and Haley McEwan, and titled 'Hegemonic epistemologies in the context of Transformation: Race, space, and power in one post-apartheid South Africa'. The paper offers a searing critique of, well, as the title pretty much suggests, the competing historical, cultural and political currents that swirl beneath the apparent rural tranquillity.

Haley, a Research Coordinator in the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies and Steyn, Professor of Sociology and director of Diversity Studies, are searingly critical of what they term 'semigrant power elites' who have increasingly migrated to the small town over the past ten or 15 years.

In 21st century post-apartheid South Africa, these are not issues that those who might fall into Steyn and Haley's category of 'semigrant power elites' are unaware of or are unwilling to address or grapple with. These are new migrants who, while they might isolate themselves geographically from bigger cities, are conscious of the legacy – cultural, political and also environmentally – that cannot be ignored.

The organisers of this year's festival, Prince Albert Gallery owner, Brent Philips White, co-owner Mary Anne Botha and occasional resident Jennifer Cohen, describe the village they call home as "a rural town with limited prospects for young people. And twenty years into our democracy, few have the confidence to engage socially, or to participate as citizens of a new South Africa. We aim to switch people onto art - we can introduce new skills and ways of solving problems. We can change mindsets and nurture an understanding of creative thinking and the value of art in communities like our own".

The first festival, held in 2012, proved enormously popular with a variety of artists including William Kentridge, Strijdom van der Merwe, David Goldblatt and Michael Subotsky exhibiting in some 17 venues. The second arts festival, titled PArt14, has seen much frenetic preparation in the village. Around 80 artists exhibited at various venues that also hosted workshops, lectures and film screenings.

Botha, an artist, has lived in Prince Albert for 15 years and attributes the migration of professionals to the village to technology and the greater mobility connectivity to the internet offers those who are able to work from anywhere in the world.

The village has also attracted a community of creative people, including the South African-born artist who now lives in Belgium, Philip Badenhorst, as well as author Eben Venter, among others. It is also a popular tourist destination that has helped to revive the economy somewhat.

"There has been an influx of people who would not have, in the past, relocated here. There has been a lot of development and building. The village also has a unique character and a Karoo aesthetic that people find attractive," she said.

However, it was also a town still typically beset with divisions imposed by apartheid, with the majority of the region's coloured inhabitants confined to North End Township on its outskirts.

Tourism, said Botha, had brought a measure of employment to the region but it was still plagued, as are so many small South African villages, towns and cities, with many issues including poverty and unemployment.

"The gap between the rich and the poor exists here as it does everywhere else and there are some initiatives that attempt to address these. We still have a way to go," she said.

The more recent inhabitants in the traditionally white part of the village include people from across the globe, more English-speaking South Africans in what was traditionally an Afrikaans-speaking region.

The festival this year, said Botha, attempted to promote more social cohesion by offering public art installations.

"Falko1 came from Cape Town and created several pieces of public art and Usha Seejarim created a pebble mosaic in an attempt to link the socially divided space," said Botha. (Seejarim created the official portrait for Nelson Mandela's funeral in Qunu.)

Some of the exhibitions and projects included a showcase of photographs by Peter Magubane titled 'The Struggle is no Struggle without documentation' on loan from Absa, a series of artists workshops underwritten by Thupelo and that saw the work of 20 selected artists in the skougrond, as well as a group show curated by artist Alex Hamilton and featuring the work of Hannelie Taute, Conrad Botes and Brett Murray.

There were also photography and painting workshops, including landscape and portraiture classes and participatory art projects the entire week, including an Instagram photo walk.

Unlike the West Coast town of Darling, that has seen a revival mostly due to the arrival of two of its now famous inhabitants, Pieter-Dirk Uys and Evita Bezuidenhout, the Prince Albert revival is more of an organic social phenomenon with no single, identifiable point of regeneration. The prices of farms and plots in the region as well as property prices have been steadily rising and it is impossible to find anything with an existing house in the village for under R1 million.

The idea of reverse migration, where the poor are forced to move to big cities while the mobile rich retreat to rural enclaves is a distinctly 21st century global phenomenon. It is a movement that is still in progress and the ultimate desired outcome – more for everyone - is an imperative collective objective.

There might be those who scoff at the ability of art to address the social problems and needs of a region so steeped in history, but as someone once said, and I forget who, there are three ways to make sense of the world - religion, politics and art. And the first three are unreliable.

For more information visit,
Help us build the SANAVA brand

Following a decision at the Annual General Meeting, SANAVA branches and affiliates can now also apply for SANAVA signage at their offices.

For specifications and artwork contact the secretariat at 082 551 4853, e-mail

Jaq working on a large mural.
Jaq Vrey – creating food for thought

The large detailed oil paintings of Somerset West artist Jaques Vrey often create quite a stir, but not because they are controversial or obscene. He is an exceptionally gifted painter, works in what could be described as a realistic idiom and his work often mirrors the South African human condition.

SANAVA Matters visited Jaq at his studio.

SANAVA Matters recently saw a series of fine landscapes with sheep, not beige woolly objects in the distance but real sheep-shaped South African animals with the early morning light creating an aura around them. You are a surprisingly versatile artist! What else do you do?

I have been involved in a wide range of projects, from illustrations, drawings, set designs, painting portraits and I have executed numerous commissions for murals. I have also undertaken aesthetic consultation for property development projects.

You started drawing at a very early age but you began your professional life with something completely different?

I was born in Gauteng but moved to the Cape as a teenager and obtained a master's degree in Town and Regional Planning at the University of Stellenbosch. I worked for a private company but felt unfulfilled. I subsequently travelled in Europe and after my return to South Africa I started doing commissions for private clients and working as an artist with corporate clients such as SterKinekor, the Nelson Mandela Tree of Light for Siemens, KTV and DSTV.

Aesthetics are in the blood...
You have a fabulous studio in this thatched cottage next to your remarkable home in a lovely structured garden. Despite your elegant surroundings you are a private and very humble and down to earth kind of guy.

May I quote Paul Cezanne! All my life I have worked to be able to earn my living, but I thought that one could do good paintings without attracting attention to one's private life. Certainly, an artist wishes to raise himself intellectually as much as possible, but the man must remain obscure. The pleasure must be found in the work.

The old definition of art often includes the use of words such as skill, craft, imagination, aesthetic sensibilities and involves creating art as beautiful artefact or decoration. You seem to do exactly that – create beautiful paintings depicting beautiful artefacts and decorations in exotic environments – and you seem to do this with great intention. Features and flesh of chocolate and ivory hues subtly lit, with tactile textures of damask, brocade, feathers, copper, animal skin meticulously executed. But there appears to be much more behind this beauty?

I am concerned with our country's particular social issues but why not portray them in beautiful terms? I admire the old masters, the way textures such as fur, glass and skin are rendered. I use fabrics such as brocade and silk when I set up my models, but I do have an underlying theme in mind. Sometimes I wish to comment on the ostentation and bling of the nouveau riche, covetousness, the precarious and changing nature of status, new social classes in this country or the tables that can be turned between master and man.

Are these paintings meant to be art as experience, art as something to stimulate thoughts and ideas?

My artworks are specifically made for this purpose and very often deal with the human condition. I respond to and comment on changing social and political conditions in this country. In addition, the lavish frames deliberately add to the notion of materialism and ostentation. My motivation as artist is to communicate hidden truths and to seek a reaction from the viewer.

Your paintings might contain irony and humour, you expose our vices in a gentle way, sometimes using opposite meanings but always with compassion.

Satire and parody in art, judging from the fuss made about South African artist Brett Murray's Spear of the Nation in 2012, is often misunderstood. Irony, satire, parody and pastiche are used universally in art, literature and popular music to reveal a different viewpoint or hidden meanings with humour or pathos, sometimes ridicule, to lay bare inconvenient truths.

Art as social commentary is a major theme in modern and contemporary art. In his big oils we are referring to here, Jaq Vrey assumes the roles of reporter and analyst in an exploration of the nature of society to understand it better. His kind of art is often critical but also celebrates the achievements of man. The ultimate goals are to preserve what is good and to condemn what is threatening in the hope of a better society.

Jaq tells us more about his paintings -


Trade with the indigenous KhoiSan was crucial for the colonising of South Africa. Fresh produce and labour could be secured at a bargain for the buyer, often for no more than a few copper pieces or a handful of tobacco. Little did the Khoi realise that they were also selling their economic independence, culture and traditional ways - and their pride.

Nothing has changed as history repeats itself with the Children of the Khoi. Service and product can still be had for a bargain, as they bend the knee as servant and slave for a handful of coins...

The model for the painting is a homeless, unemployed young woman. She walks the streets during the day, desperately trying to make money for a bed at the local night shelter. She does not work for much. Indeed a bargain for those who need their homes cleaned or their clothes laundered...

Bridging the divide

We have a long and violent history of racial conflict between all cultures since the birth of South Africa. It is only through the acknowledgement of the past that there can be a peace offering of reconciliation, healing and forgiveness to stand together in understanding and friendship.

The feather duster seller

A proud man and head of his household, this warrior is reduced to selling a traditionally female household cleaning product. From his build, he is probably in the building industry, but unable to find employment.

He gave his vote, and so his hopes, trust and aspirations to his ruling brothers in the hope of securing a better life for himself and his people. He is just one of millions. But like Joseph, he has been sold into slavery by those he trusted. And like Joseph's dream coat, his hopes and dreams lie discarded, trampled upon by those that won his confidence, selling him into slavery.

He invites you to buy a feather duster to help towards feeding his family. Or is he merely another beggar, asking for a few coins to add to his tin? The viewer almost feels relieved that this man is looking away, so that we do not have to avoid eye contact this time, escaping one of those uncomfortable moments we know all too well...

So the feather duster seller becomes a saint-figure, almost reminiscent of Saint Sebastian. He has become a martyr, sacrificed for his people, yet rejected by his own people.

If the shoe fits

Her moment has come. At last, Cinderella is on her way to the ball. The struggle was long but she is ready to step into the position, even though she has no experience and even fewer qualifications. And so she tries to force herself into something that is not made for her. Somewhere deep down she might feel that she can fit into the mould and make a difference. This might redeem her. But for the most it is about the Green. (Green adj. Unripe, inexperienced, easily deceived. Oxford English Dictionary)

She deserves it after all... She gestures to her servant, almost in a questioning way, 'Why are you struggling to help me into this dress? I always did it for you. Why can you not do it for me?' And so the Previously Advantaged knowingly assists in propping up the New. Once the kneeling girl used to wear the lace petticoats and glass slipper, but her time is over. Now she has no choice in being subservient, even though she cannot face what she is doing. The raised hand of her mistress almost threatens to become a slap in the face of all that she holds dear. Yet she turns a blind eye to what is happening and thereby resigns herself to her lot. If the shoe fits...

Life is good

It has been a long road, but the hope of a better life has become a reality. At last he can reap the hedonistic fruits of his hard work and dedication. He has become the symbol of self-empowerment. He is the self-made man, basking in the glory of his success, the master of his own destiny, god of the Good Life.
We would like to hear from you

Please forward information of your branch [and low-res pictures] to the SANAVA secretariat for inclusion in the newsletter.
SANAVA secretariat
Junxion Communications, e-mail, tel +27 82 551 4853, fax +27 86 615 4876