SANAVA promotes visual arts, develops visual artists and furthers international cooperation in the field of the visual arts Newsletter Nº
November 2016
Avi's notes

With December around the corner, we are moving into silly season, a time to unwind, enjoy South Africa's joyous summer and relax with friends and family – but alas, some work has to be done before then!

The South Africa Taxi Foundation awards have been around for three years – and excelling. Read about their plans for the next round.

Congratulations to the Arts Association, Pretoria, for celebrating South Africa's Cool Capital project – and for initiating the first animation clips by students from Pretoria's tertiary education institutions. I am sure this will be a lasting initiative.

The Corobrik exhibition is a must-see - visit the Pretoria Art Museum.

A key work by painter Alexis Preller, for decades presumed lost, is among the standout lots on Strauss & Co's forthcoming Johannesburg summer auction. The sale, scheduled to take place at the Wanderers Club on 7 November, includes a number of important works repatriated to this country from international collections, notably by Preller, Walter Battiss, Cecil Skotnes and Edoardo Villa. SANAVA matters will report on this in the next issue.

The interview with Strijom van der Merwe is a must read!

Until next time.

Avitha Sooful
National President
SA Taxi Foundation awards – the 3rd time

The SA Taxi Foundation Art Award is gearing up for the third year of its challenge to practitioners of the visual arts.

Entries for this award are now open and creatives, artists and designers are invited to begin work on their submissions. The closing date for entries is 13 February 2017.

The main award of R700 000 includes cash of R50 000, while the top five finalists will each receive an award of R660 000, including cash of R10 000. The prizes include production of the artists' designs as decals, each to be carried by ten taxis on national routes for six months - as well as an extensive publicity campaign aimed at creating national awareness of their work to kick-start their professional careers.

The awards, therefore, adds significant momentum for emerging artists trying to build a sustainable career. Won by Tshepo Mosopa in 2015 and Audrey Anderson in 2016, the awards has seen the work of 12 finalists grace 120 taxis that transport hundreds of thousands of South Africans to and from work daily. As a result, the work has been viewed by millions of South Africans, whether as taxi commuters or other road users, causing a buzz wherever it is spotted.

This year's awards invite creatives to explore what it means to them to be African. Belonging, identity and location are ideas that are intertwined, and the idea of being "an African" is one that has come under the spotlight in a world that is seeing the largest migration and movement in history. Creatives are asked to consider issues such as the South African country, the African continent and a world that is grappling with matters of citizenry, social cohesion and participatory community.

The taxi industry is complex and experienced by most South Africans daily. This fascinating and challenging business is the backbone of our economy, moving millions of commuters around the cities and towns they inhabit every day.

Minibus taxis are possibly the most iconic of all forms of transport in South Africa, unique to our society and economic structure. They provide the perfect canvas to showcase what South African creatives want to explore about belonging on our continent.

For more information visit
Another initiative for SANAVA Paternoster

SANAVA's youngest branch, SANAVA Paternoster, has come up with yet another initiative – the West Coast Art Fair.

"Long spoken about but needing brave souls, this is a great platform for developing this part of the Western Cape as an art route, not to mention the West Coast artists themselves," says Di Heesom-Green, Chairperson of SANAVA Paternoster and owner of the Stone Fish Gallery in the fisherman's village.

"The standard of art has been rather free form this side of the world, so an exhibition is planned where selection is done on merit. So judges will have to have a qualified opinion.

"The committee has set 12 November to judge the entries. We look forward to a high level exhibition," says Heesom-Green.
See the Corobrik exhibition @ the Pretoria Art Museum

The Corobrik Ceramics Southern Africa exhibition is now open at the Pretoria Art Museum.

Feast your eyes on the best there is in the world of ceramics.

The exhibition is open until February next year. For more information phone 012 358 6750 or e-mail
Come see Marna Schoeman's Pronk-O-Rama Deluxe @ the Tina Skukan gallery

"I am a suburban surrealist. I don't create fantasies. I take reality, blindfold it, and throw it off a very high cliff. One of my lecturers at TUKS taught me that I must draw what I know. This is what I know - living in the suburbs in Pretoria in 2016," says Schoeman.

The exhibition will be opened by Dr Cherylene de Jager, author, creative 'ideaneer' and boundary breaker at 11:30 on Sunday 6 November 2016.

The artist will present a walkabout at 10:30 on Saturday, 12 November. The exhibition is open until Thursday, 1 December.

For more information phone 012 991 1733, 083 653 6928 or e-mail Visit
A must see – Wilma Cruise exhibition

You are invited to the openings of two exhibitions by Wilma Cruise.

The 8th Square - 6 November 2016, 16:00, Cavalli Gallery, Cavalli Wine Estate.

Six impossible things before breakfast - 9 November 2016, 18:00, Gallery University Stellenbosch (GUS), Stellenbosch.

Opening speaker for both events is Professor Stella Viljoen.
News from VANSA

The Best Practice Guide for the Visual Arts in South Africa has launched! Download your copy or to book for one of the info sessions.

The exhibition Makoporosh by Black Studio is up at VANSA, with events being held on 27 October and 3 November. Follow the Facebook event for details.
Pop in @ 30 x 40 || Committee's Choice

Art.b and the Arts Association of Bellville invites you to the 30 x 40 Commmittee's Choice exhibition on Wednesday 2 November at 18:30.

The opening address will be by Ilse Schermers.

Art.b Gallery is in the Bellville Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville. For more information phone 021 917 1197.
Strijdom van der Merwe
Pots woven from wine cuttings in a sculpture forest on the farm Kleinood, Stellenbosch.
Drawing a swirling pattern in the dessert.
Nest made for the Hermanus FynArts Festival.
Breaking news
Land Art, Impossible Art

Dirkie Offringa

Land art, earthworks (coined by Robert Smithson), or earth art is an art movement in which landscape and the work of art are inextricably linked. It is an art form that is created in nature, using natural materials such as soil, boulders, stones, organic media such as logs, branches and leaves, also water and mineral pigments.

Sculptures are not placed in the landscape, rather, the landscape is the means of their creation. Sometimes earth moving equipment is involved. The works frequently exist in the open, located well away from civilization, left to change and erode under natural conditions.

Perhaps the best known international artist who worked in this genre was the American Robert Smithson whose famous piece of land art is the Spiral Jetty (1970), for which Smithson arranged rock, earth and algae so as to form a long (500 m) spiral-shape jetty protruding into Great Salt Lake in northern Utah, USA. How much of the work, if any, is visible, is dependent on the fluctuating water levels.

Strijdom van der Merwe is South Africa's best-known land artist. He uses the natural materials he finds on site, be it a forest, beach or the Karoo - to create his artworks. His materials include sand, water, wood, rocks and stone. By shaping these elements into geometric forms he juxtaposes the contrast between artwork and environment, growth and destruction.

Van der Merwe is an award winning artist who has participated in numerous exhibitions and undertaken commissions in South Korea, Turkey, Belgium, France, Sweden, Lithuania, Japan, Australia, Germany, England and Italy. He held many exhibitions in various art galleries in the past years and his work has been bought by numerous private and public collectors.

How does he do it? Sculptures are one thing but are improvised and often temporary installations in nature, land art, not an "impossible" art form?

In South Africa, site-specific shows have appeared notably at art festivals such as the Aardklop Arts Festival and the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival. The first site-specific international land art festival was held in Plettenberg Bay during May 2011, entitled Site_Specific. Van der Merwe was involved both as an artist and organiser of the event. The term site-specific refers to land art 'shows' that are produced and displayed in specific areas for the public to view for the duration of its existence. This type of show has emerged across the United States of America and Europe since the 1970s.

An article by Jean le Clus-Theron, Seemingly 'impossible' art forms: Strijdom van der Merwe's land art in the context of the South African art market explores the work of Van der Merwe, the concept of land art and the notion of the artist's book in the context of the historical and contemporary art market. The premise of the article is the view that if something can be called art, it can also be sold, even if it is an art form that seems 'impossible' to sell, such as land art.

Commissions are, of course, one possible way of selling land art in its essence. Owners of private or public property may commission artists to create land art on a specific piece of land (site-specific work). In some cases the patrons may allow the public to view these spaces. When the piece of land art is completed, the artist has the option to sell the documentation of the artwork, yet the actual piece of land art belongs to the patron, whether the work lasts for a day or a decade.
SANAVA secretariat
Junxion Communications, e-mail, tel +27 82 551 4853, fax +27 86 615 4876