SANAVA promotes visual arts, develops visual artists and furthers international cooperation in the field of the visual arts Newsletter Nº
December 2015
Dirkie's Dialogue...

We are in the midst of the holiday season and locked in the capitalist system as we are, but in the spirit of goodwill, why not spare a thought for youngsters without means by donating some art materials to the aspiring artists in your neighbourhood.

If your branch or affiliate has not done so yet, consider presenting the Art is my Business two-day workshop subsidised by SANAVA. We are finalising funding with the Lotteries Board, but in the meantime liaise with the SANAVA secretariat on

I recently visited the Blaauwberg Art Society and was impressed by the vibrancy of this latest branch of SANAVA. Encourage, educate and inspire – this they seem to do indeed.

May the closeness of friends, the comfort of home and the unity of our nation renew your spirits this holiday season.

Best wishes from the SANAVA executive members for a peaceful and happy new year.

Kind regards
Dirkie Offringa
National President
A working stint in Mauritius

Would you like to work for a while in Mauritius?

This is what Linda Bishop, General Manager of Vanilla House in Black River, Mauritius are offering SANAVA members.

We are pleased to share with you that we own and run a shabby chic guest house cum hotel in Black River, Mauritius called Vanilla House, which offers the ideal setting for artists in residence. We would be most happy to welcome your artists who would like to get inspired by Mauritius, our beaches, our nature, our people, our culture to produce their works in a relaxed and stimulating atmosphere. We provide for both sheltered or open air areas to work in very tranquil and relaxing surroundings. It is also a great opportunity for local artists to be influenced by international talent and draw inspiration from these visitors.

The guest house is the fruit of Didier de Senneville, a Mauritian from French descent. His ancestors emigrated from France in the 18th century. Having fallen in love with Mauritius, his family settled to never leave the Mauritian shores again. Didier and his staff know all the secret wonders the Island has to offer, and are most enthusiastic to share them with the artists. The guest house is located in a very quiet and tranquil area of Black River and offers wellness and spa facilities. There is also a restaurant on site for the convenience of the guests.

Didier's wife, Helene is a renowned artist of Mauritius and in 1987, she opened her gallery in the North of Mauritius, Galerie Helene de Senneville. For 25 years, in addition to the gallery, she has developed in other creative fields. In all the avenues explored, she has always based her ideas around the beloved island of Mauritius.

We propose fully equipped studios, which accommodate up to two persons at R3900 per week. We believe that the artists should stay at least 14 days to one month to produce enough work and we are keen to organise mini exhibitions at the end of artists stay. We will of course assist them with the promotion of the exhibition.

Interested? Contact Linda on +230 483 6778, e-mail
Moving into Africa

The Barclays L'Atelier Art Competition is one of South Africa's most prestigious art competitions celebrating three decades in 2015. It rewards young visual artists aged 21 to 35 with the opportunity to develop their talents abroad. The South African National Association for Visual Arts (SANAVA), a member of the IAA, has been a partner with the bank in presenting the competition since the beginning and this globally connected partner has now enabled us to raise the ante.

In 2015, for the first time, the competition was open to some of our neighbouring countries, where Barclays has a presence.

In addition to South Africa, artists from Botswana, Zambia, Ghana and Kenya were encouraged to submit work. In 2016 more African countries may be included.

There were five prizes for the 2015 competition -

The first prize is a six month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France which includes return airfare, R150 000 cash for the residency and solo exhibition at the ABSA Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A merit prize comprises a two month residency at the Kunst Raum Foundation at Sylt Quelle in Germany which includes airfare and stipend.

Another merit prize (only for South Africans) comprises a one month residency with the Ampersand foundation in New York, USA.

A third merit prize, only for non-South Africans, comprises a three month residency at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa, including return airfare and stipend.

The Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising artist (only for South Africans earning R60 000 or less per year), sponsored by the Alliance Fran├žaise, the French Institute and French Embassy in South Africa comprises a three month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, including return airfare, stipend and a travelling exhibition in South Africa upon return.

For more information visit Barclays L'Atelier 2016.
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Can you assist?

Enquiry from Stephen Green

In 1966 Noriko married George Enslin (South African 1919-1972) in Japan. After George died Noriko, with their two daughters, returned to live in Osaka, Japan.

Noriko is trying to locate one of George's paintings. Noriko has never seen the painting – only a photograph – which may have been taken by George.

George Enslin's father was a chaplain with the South African Forces during World War 1 and the family settled at Elgin in the Cape after the war. In the 1930s George studied art under Arthur Padolini and under Maurice van Essche in Cape Town. In 1949 he studied at the Heatherley Art School in London and in 1950 at the Grande Chaumière in Paris. Enslin's colourful scumbled records of his travels around the world have great popular appeal. A very competent artist, he preferred landscapes which he handled in brisk, spontaneous fashion.

If anyone can be if assistance, please contact Stephen Green.
Day for artists - 15 April 2016

The International Association for Art designated April 15 as World Art Day with the intention that it will be a day for all artists and art lovers in the world to celebrate, not only members of IAA. The idea is to create a day to emphasize the importance of art in the lives of everyone, of all ages and races.

Given Leonardo's multi-faceted personality as a painter, sculptor, thinker, writer, innovator, mathematician and philosopher, his birthday was seen as a perfect choice for a day to commemorate the role of art in the contemporary world.

PS. Let the SANAVA secretariat know how you are planning to celebrate the day for artists!
The golden rhino - photo taken from the UP Museum Facebook page
Culture war brews over SA golden rhino figurine

For years, South Africa's apartheid government ignored the significance of a "golden rhino" figurine that provides undeniable proof of a sophisticated society existing before white men arrived.

But, according to an Agence France Presse report, since the end of racist rule in 1994, the stunning object - just 15 millimetres long and more than 700 years old - has become a defining symbol of pre-colonial civilisation in South Africa.

Described as southern Africa's equivalent of Tutankhamun's mask, the golden foil rhino could be displayed overseas for the first time in the British Museum at an exhibition of South African art late next year.

With more than six million visitors passing through the London museum's doors annually, it would make a dramatic world debut for the rhino, which is currently in a little-known gallery at the University of Pretoria.

Colonial legacy

The question is whether or not the South African government will sign off on the loan.

"I think because South Africa has this colonial legacy, people are concerned about heritage objects leaving the country," said Sian Tiley-Nel, manager of the University of Pretoria museums.

"But these are just temporary showcases, they will come back," she told AFP.

After centuries of political, commercial and military exploitation, history in Africa - and who gets to tell it - is a hotly contested subject.

European museums, with their vast collections of colonial artefacts ranging from Benin bronzes to Ugandan headdresses made of human hair, have a controversial track record on the continent.

In August, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe lashed out at Britain's National History Museum for failing to turn over the skulls of African freedom fighters.

"Surely, keeping decapitated heads as war trophies, in this day and age, in a national history museum, must rank among the highest forms of racist moral decadence, sadism and human insensitivity," Mugabe said.

To date, the South African government has declined to say whether the golden rhino, will feature as a star exhibit at the London show.

"This matter is still under negotiation and has not been finalised as yet," South Africa's Department of Arts and Culture told AFP.

Left in limbo

In 1932, a group of white men hunting for treasure discovered the rhino in Mapungubwe hill, a rocky outcrop in northern Limpopo, where baobab trees tower over herds of elephant.

They had stumbled across the remains of a graveyard for the elites of a lost kingdom that was a trading hub in 1220, exchanging ivory and gold for glass beads and cloth with Egypt, India and China.

A former student at the University of Pretoria turned over some of the cache to the school.

Despite its obvious significance, the golden rhino was ignored by the colonial - and, later, apartheid - governments, whose regimes were premised on the belief that Africans were primitive.

The rhino and other gold artefacts, including a leopard figurine and necklaces, challenged the colonial version of history that South African civilisation started when Dutch colonial administrator Jan van Riebeeck landed in 1652.

"Mapungubwe has come to show that South Africa has a very rich history," said Tiley-Nel.

"The southern part of Africa was not an empty myth land."

Since Nelson Mandela was elected the country's first democratic president in 1994, Mapungubwe has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The Order of Mapungubwe is South Africa's highest honour (Mandela was the first recipient in 2002).

However, controversy surrounds the figurine, with a long-running custody battle in South Africa highlighting the country's struggle to recast its history more than 20 years after the fall of apartheid.

A special centre was built at Mapungubwe to house the rhino, which weighs just 42,8g, but it doesn't meet the professional museum requirements needed to protect the figurine.

As a result, custody of the rhino has remained with the University of Pretoria - a location that angers many.

"We can't just keep on relying on the old institutions which acquired these artefacts under dubious means," said Ciraj Rassool, history professor at the University of the Western Cape.

"It's a tragedy there was a failure to create a suitable museum," he said. "The golden rhino is left in limbo."

Still, Rassool hopes that before the rhino heads home to Mapungubwe, it first goes on tour to London to be shown to the world.

"It is important that these aspects of South African culture be known about in as many countries as possible," he said.
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