SANAVA promotes visual arts, develops visual artists and furthers international cooperation in the field of the visual arts Newsletter Nº
March 2018
Avi's notes

2018 is in full swing – with all its happenings, surprises and run-of-the mill to do stuff. Welcome to the real world!

L'Atelier 2018, themed 'Give art life', is open (read L'Atelier 2018 open) and SANAVA is once again proud to be a primary partner of the competition. SANAVA is also proud that the overall winner of the 2017 award, Maral Bolouri and the Gerard Sekoto winner, Banele Khoza, are at present at our studios at the Cité in Paris, France, as part of their prize (read Runette Kruger's interview with Banele in FOCUS).

... And just in ... Banele is exibiting at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town from 11 April – don't miss this!

There is also a solo exhibition of the Uganda based artist and Absa L'Atelier 2016 merit award winner, Donald Wasswa, at the Absa gallery in Johannesburg.

An interesting one is the Battiss exhibition 'I invented myself' at the Rupert Museum. Viewers walk step by step through his life, his artistic production, his interest in rock painting and the Fook island of his imagination.

Interest for a sojourn at SANAVA's studios at the Cite remains high and we are virtually fully booked for 2018. Bookings for 2019 are also filling up fast. We remind prospective visitors about the donation of an artwork to SANAVA, chosen from the prospective visitor's artistic file presented to the Cite. The secretariat will remind you when you apply.

Enjoy the newsletter and please forward news about your branch to the secretariat.

Until next time.

Avitha Sooful
National President
L'Atelier 2018 open

L'Atelier is one of Africa's most prestigious art competitions. It rewards young visual artists aged 21 to 35 with the opportunity to develop their talents abroad. A look through the list of previous winners will testify to this.

Building on the platform created over the past two years, the competition is continuing to expand across Africa, opening in a number of countries where Barclays Africa has a presence. Artists who are permanent residents of and residing in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Mauritius or Seychelles are invited to enter.

Online entries opened on the L'Atelier website on 1 February and close on 27 April 2018 at 16:00. Initial adjudication is done on electronic submission where you may upload up to seven images of your artwork.

Those artists whose entries make it through to the next round will be contacted directly to arrange for the collection of their artwork. It is essential when registering online and uploading your artwork that all fields are completed. Failure not to complete all fields will result in your entry been disqualified.

Please note that all previous entrants will be required to re-register.

There are five prizes for the 2018 competition - the first prize, three merit award prizes and the Gerard Sekoto Award for the most promising artist.

The top 10 finalists will all be placed on a two-day art professionalism course to assist them in managing their careers.

The competition is run in conjunction with partner the South African National Association for the Visual Arts.

For more details, contact Dr Paul Bayliss on For further information on SANAVA, visit

L'Atelier 2016 merit award winner exhibits at Absa

Uganda based artist Donald Wasswa's first-ever solo exhibition in South Africa will be presented at the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg from 25 March.

The exhibition is titled 'degenerative evolution of living' and will be officially opened by Jaco van Schalkwyk, artist and Absa L'Atelier 2013 merit award winner.

In this exhibition, the concept of animals and their progressive development is explored through a wide range of artworks. Drawing on the concept of natural selection as theorised by Charles Darwin, this body of works explores how all living species desire to propagate better offspring than themselves, ensuring their long-term survival. Logically species will do everything and anything during their time and space to improve themselves so as to ensure their continued survival in the face of the relentless culling effects of natural selection.

For more information contact Ntokozo Mhlongo on 082 894 2198 or
Walter Battiss with Bull X, 1946, gifted to him by Pablo Picasso in Paris on 3 June.
Walter Battiss - "I invented myself"

For more than 40 years, well-known art collector and philanthropist Jack Ginsberg has assembled an extraordinary collection of more than 700 artworks, books and ephemera by esteemed South African artist Walter Battiss.

Warren Siebrits, the curator of Walter Battiss: "I invented myself" specially selected 120 of these works for the current Rupert Museum exhibition. The exhibition has been enhanced with the inclusion of nine further works from the Rupert Museum and private collections in the Cape. This is the first time since 1980 that a body of work of this stature and importance by Walter Battiss has been seen in the Cape.

While previous Battiss exhibitions were conceived thematically, the current exhibition is organised chronologically. Viewers will have the opportunity to walk step by step through Battiss' life and gain insight into aspects of his artistic production, including his extensive travels, interest in rock painting, calligraphy, exploration of multiple media and the Fook island of his imagination. The exhibition features works in oil, watercolour, pen and ink, photography and printmaking. It is also accompanied by a 340-page illustrated book, which has been specially bound in five different colours in editions of 300 copies each.

The exhibition is on show at the Rupert Museum until 11 August.

A sister exhibition of Battiss' works can be viewed at Imibala Gallery, 16 Bright Street, Somerset West. All items are for sale with a percentage of the proceeds going to charity. The exhibition at Imibala will be on until 30 April.
MOK art gallery exhibits Roelof Rossouw

The MOK art gallery at the Muratie wine estate in Stellenbosch presents an exhibition of oil paintings by impressionist Roelof Rossouw from 25 March.

For more information phone Cecile Blevi on 072 553 5547. Visit
Am I a true artist?

It's not very hard to tell when someone is undeserving and faking his or her way to success, but now, it seems to be the norm. A true artist, in the form of a painter, singer, actor or a designer will always stand out for his or her "work," not for tweets and selfies.

Here are some qualities that you will always find in true artists –

They are focused on their art, not on selling themselves.
True artists do not believe in selling their image. They believe in selling their "idea" and understand the difference between "selling" and "sharing." True artists have a gift that they "share" with the world and inspire people through their work.

They do not work for money; money works for them.
When you are connected to your creative side, there is no fear of money. As an artist, you "create" a piece with love, confidence and belief in yourself. You do whatever you do for the sake of the task at hand without caring so much about the results; the money just flows in naturally. When an artist's intentions are pure and simple, money follows wherever he or she goes.

They are free-spirited.
A true artist always minds his or her own business and does not get carried away by other people. He or she is self-assured and grateful for little things in life. True artists love what they do, but they do not obsess over it. They run their own race and believe in healthy competition. They are always aware of what's going on around them, but their focus is only on their own path. True artists are confident about their art, generous at heart and free of ego.

They love what they do.
Work is play for true artists. They fulfill their dreams through art and never have to "work" a day in their life. They do not work for money, power or fame, only for the love and passion for their craft. True artists work out of choice rather than necessity.

They don't care what the world thinks.
It always hurts when people judge or give harsh comments, but true artists do not care for too long. They understand that they make art for the love of it, not to please anyone. A true artist's work reflects his or her life and thoughts. When a true artist is creating a piece of art, there is nothing else on his or her mind; it is an escape from the real world.

They never stop learning.
A true artist constantly educates him or herself and is aware of the changes happening in an area of work. He or she always walks on the path of self-development and keeps up with the changing times. True artists are learners for life; they believe in growth and are always focused on improving their craft.

Practice makes perfect.
No matter how rich, successful or well-established an artist might be, he or she never stops practicing. A true artist's passion is independent of external factors. Creating art sets true artists free, and they practice their craft every day to get better for their own good.

They do not compete.
True artists believe in healthy competition or no competition at all. They realise they are unique and exceptional in their own way. There is nothing and no one that can replace them because of their unique individual talent.

They take mental breaks from time to time.
True artists realise that in order to carry on being good at their work, they need to take time out to do other things. They value their personal life as much as they value art. They understand the importance of taking mental and physical breaks in order to rejuvenate on a regular basis.

They stay grounded and humble.
Art connects people to their soul, which makes a true artist humble and grounded. A truly successful artist will never put others down. True artists are surely proud of their work, but they never underestimate others.
Hobbyist, amateur, or professional artist – which are you?

Aletta de Wal in Art Business Advice

You finally made it! You have a solo show at a prominent gallery that only represents top-earning artists. The room is full of excitement and the spotlights showcase your art spectacularly. The gallery staff did an outstanding job of displaying your work, and it looks absolutely stunning. Friends, collectors, and art world glitterati surround you.

It's been such an exciting evening as you watched the "red dots" going up to indicate that most of the works in the room are already sold. These pieces sell for five and six figure prices, so this is quite a triumphant night for your art career. On top of that, you've had a couple of requests for interviews to feature you and your career in internationally celebrated art magazines.

The best part is the beaming faces about you – all your loving and supportive friends toasting your success with such delight. You made this happen. You created this art career for yourself through your hard work, talent and business acumen. "Great job!" you think to yourself. "Great job!"

Does this scene sound anything like your own dream? Can you see yourself there, or does it seem more like an impossibility?

It may be a long way out from where you are right now, but it can happen and it is a reality for many artists. As you might expect, though, there is a logical progression and a fair bit of work to becoming a successful artist.

Hobbyist, amateur, or professional

The first thing to understand is the difference between being a hobby artist, an amateur artist, and a professional artist.

As you read through the descriptions below, be honest with yourself. Once you recognize where you are starting from, it becomes obvious what to do next.

Are you a hobbyist?

Hobby artists may spend years, decades, or even an entire lifetime making art strictly for personal pleasure. They want no responsibility for a business. They don't desire to develop a following, sell their artwork, or try to support themselves with their artwork.

Hobbyists want to make art that they enjoy, whenever they feel like it. They may take art lessons, but they have no commitment to professionally developing their skills. They simply want to create, without turning it into work.

Are you an amateur artist?

At some point, the hobbyist might realise that this is an awfully expensive hobby and maybe they ought to think a bit about putting together some sort of business - at least so they could deduct the costs on their taxes.

Over the years, they've become quite skillful at art. Family and friends rave about how wonderful their work is and frequently say, "You should try to sell this."

Or maybe their spouse is bugging them about the cost of their hobby and suggesting that they should consider doing art as a business. Whatever the case, they set up a business, sell a few pieces of art, and deduct their expenses. This is so exciting that they want to do more, and decide to become even more serious about their art.

Amateurs are willing to sacrifice their personal time in the pursuit of making art and selling it, but they're usually not sure how to really make it pay.

Do you want to be a professional artist?

As their confidence and skills grow, amateur artists may start to seriously consider art as a profession. They like the money they make from selling their art and it's great to deduct the costs at tax time. After expenses, they're actually making profit!

With this may come a driving need to make a living solely from their art. Some artists start to do all sorts of random art marketing and jump at every "opportunity" that comes their way, whether or not it makes financial sense.

They may spend most or all of their art income taking art classes, yet never come up with a clear idea about what is required to make a living making art. All they know is that it is time to find out how to succeed in the art world.

Unfortunately, many artists eventually give up because they cannot detect a path to succeed. Since they don't have a road map, they can't follow through on doing what is necessary. These artists spend their time in unproductive activities. You don't have to be one of them.

If you decide to go ahead and move from being a hobbyist to an amateur, you don't have much to lose if it doesn't work out. You can always go back to being a hobbyist. If you want to move from being an amateur to a professional artist, you are making a much bigger commitment.

I work with many artists who work part-time or full-time and who also make a substantial portion of their living from their art. Because they aren't worried about their finances, many of them feel less pressured and are able to be more creative in the time they set aside for their art career. Having health benefits from employment is also a major factor, especially for artists with families.

What it takes to move from hobbyist to amateur

When you decide to move from being a hobbyist to an amateur, you must choose to give up some of your other pursuits, or the time you used to spend simply "doing nothing." You need disposable time, energy and money to become a better artist. You give up free time to work on learning and practicing your art without expectation of being reimbursed.

If you are an amateur, you may well be just as talented as professional artists. But by staying an amateur, you have the luxury of working at your art when it suits you. You can take workshops to guide your exploration of making art, and have mentors to critique your work. When you improve, you can simply enjoy it, because your livelihood doesn't depend on always improving.

On the other hand, if you are an amateur and you choose to stay an amateur, you will probably give up many chances to show your work and you will miss out on feedback from a wider audience. You will probably also never be well-known, or get paid what your artwork is truly worth.

What it takes to move from amateur to professional

If you decide to move from being an amateur to a professional artist, you must love doing what you do so much that you are willing to do it almost all of the time.

In fact, you must be prepared to use most of your time, energy and money to make a living from your art. You'll also need to develop a unique style and constantly develop your body of work.

Perhaps you will need to teach others what you know as part of your strategy to become more visible and to make money. Without a doubt, to be financially successful you must be an entrepreneur with art as the core of your business.

To remain competitive in the art world, you should also invest in ongoing professional development, whether in mastering your medium, navigating the art world, or just doing business. You will also need to be willing to promote your work every chance you get.

These days, I often tell people who are considering the move into a professional art career not to quit his or her day job just yet. It's a big decision and not one to be taken lightly. You don't want to have regrets when you do, and you certainly don't need more debts.

Put together an "exit strategy" first while you build a solid foundation for your successful art business. Plan out how you're going to get where you're going.
Arts Association Stellenbosch members' exhibition

The annual art exhibition of the Arts Association Stellenbosch members took place from 1 to 15 March at the PJ Olivier Art Centre in Stellenbosch.

The exhibition included paintings, photographs, sculpture and ceramics. The theme was What are we looking at? This allowed for free interpretation by artists and also presented a challenge to viewers to consider the way they look at art. The opening speaker, well-known land artist Strijdom van der Merwe, also spoke about different ways of seeing.

The three guest artists who were invited to exhibit were André Stead, Theo Kleynhans and Betty Werth.

Betty Werth is a realistic painter from Montagu. She paints various subjects, but it is her small landscapes and miniatures which are particularly popular.

The Cape Town sculptor André Stead uses different mediums for his sculptures and installations. He has executed many public and private commissions, nationally and internationally. In addition to working in metal he is particularly at home in bronze casting.

Besides being an author, film maker and poet, Theo Kleynhans is also a versatile artist who paints and explores printmaking, but it is his ceramic plates which were on display.

The next exhibition will take place in September and members of the Arts Association Stellenbosch can start sharpening their pencils.
Hannalie Taute, Look twice fabric, found object, wood, wire, cotton thread and rubber.
Stuart Trent (photograph by Anette Pretorius).
UNFOLDING FIBRE at the Pretoria Art Museum

Various artists are participating in this exhibition until 27 May. These include Adele Potgieter, Alex Hamilton, Cherre Ann Hill, Gina Niederhumer, Erica Fraser, Hannalie Taute, Helena Hugo, Kaross, Kathryn Harmer Fox, Leandri van den Berg, Lesley Deysel, Linda Rademan, Maddelein Anderson, Marion Boehm, Marna Schoeman, Mogalakwena, Odette Tolksdorf, Philip Manser, Retha Buitendach, Sally Scott, Willemien de Villiers and Yannis Generalis.

For more information contact Hannelie du Plessis on 012 358 6748 or

Also on at the Pretoria Art Museum is ME, MYSELF AND I, with about 223 portraits of Stuart Trent by 179 artists.

Stuart Trent, owner of the Trent Gallery in Pretoria, began his own collection of portraits, all with the same subject, himself, after being inspired by the Belgian artist Francis Alÿs's fascination with portraits. Alÿs spent 15 years looking through flea markets and junk shops in Britain, continental Europe, Mexico and the United States searching for replicas of the minor French painter Jean-Jacques Henner's original painting of Saint Fabiola. In 2009, the National Portrait Gallery in London exhibited 300 of Alÿs's collected portraits, creating an unexpected, original and thoughtful installation that filled every inch of the walls.

Trent began asking South African artists who crossed his path to create portraits of him. The portraits are in various mediums, sizes and styles, and feature portraits by artists such as Titus Matiyane, Tommie Motswai, Diane Victor, Guy du Toit, Norman Catherine and Banele Khoza. Trent's collection has grown to about 223 artworks by 179 artists. The latest additions feature Nhlanhla Nhlapho, Greg Scultz, Kristin Hau Yang and John Robberts.

Each portrait is tellingly different in each unique style of interpretation. Interestingly, as one looks at each portrait, one takes in the technical ability of each artist (even though some are not executed as well as others) as well as how each artist aimed to capture an element that makes up Stuart Trent. This essentially offers viewers a look into Trent's own art-inspired world.

The exhibition is on until 29 April.
Art Camp Andorra in July

The 6th Edition of Art Camp Andorra 'Colors of the Planet' will take place in Ordino, Principality of Andorra, from 9 to 21 July.

The Secretary General of the National Commission of Andorra to UNESCO invites South Africa to participate in the camp where painters from the five continents meet and interact while sharing their culture. The goal is to create a pool of original works that reflects creative and artistic expression in support of the values of UNESCO.

The works produced during the 2016 Art Camp Andorra were exhibited in 2017 at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris.

Applicants are expected to cover their own accommodation and travel costs.

The deadline for applications is 31 March.
A festival of colour @ the Tina Skukan

An exhibition of patterns and exquisite designs, handwoven and embroidered natural fibres from antique Central Asian Suzani (tent partitions and decorations) to Afghan and dress pieces from Rajasthan will be exhibited at the Tina Skukan Gallery from 25 March.

Each item has been hand-picked and carefully sourced by Sandra Lemmer during her extensive travels. She will also delight viewers with her own creations that incorporate hand spun and hand woven vegetable dyed Iranian wool and Turkish linen.

The sincerity and open-hearted beauty of these textiles reiterates the honest and sincere approach of the Zimele artists to their clay pieces.

Zimele Ceramics, founded by Victor Shabalala in 2016, is a group of individual sculptors and painters working from the Injasuthi Valley in KwaZulu-Natal. They produce a range of high-end ceramics from handmade coffee cups to platters and tureens. Each piece is sculpted and painted with immaculate attention to detail.

The exhibition is open until 2 May.

For more information phone 012 991 1733, 083 653 6928, e-mail
Doreen Hemp is the Association of Arts' Potter of the Month

Doreen Hemp's pottery is on exhibition at the Association of Arts, Pretoria until 28 March.

The exhibition is held in partnership with Ceramics Southern Africa.

For more information phone 012 346 3100.
FOCUS on ... – Banele Xhosa

Banele Xhosa is the winner of the 2017 Gerard Sekoto award.

Runette Kruger spoke to him about 'contemporary' versus 'traditionalist', the role of mentors and what it meant to him to go to the Cité as part of winning the Gerard Sekoto award.

Do you see yourself as a contemporary artist?
I do, my work is commenting on contemporary issues and also very much nuanced in the culture of the "self" during the course of the explosion of the selfie and reality TV.

What makes an artist contemporary?
I don't know. I also thought since we are all alive and creating within this period - qualifies all artists to be? Mass recognition certainly isn't something that qualifies you to be one.

What is the relationship between personal issues and more broadly social issues in your work?
My work is mostly based on personal issues and within this realm it has made a commentary on social issues. When I create it is a dialogue between me and the surface and within these times I am mostly confiding about my struggles. The moment the work is out of my studio - people relate and state that they are also going through the same thing. When I or the viewer realise that it is not only a personal struggle but a shared one - a discursive is formed. My work is about opening up and helping others.

How important do you believe tutors and mentors are for students, and, later, mentors for artists? Did you / do you have a mentor? If so, how have they enabled you?
The mentor-student relationship is an important one, it helps and guides the formative years of the individual - if the student has an excellent mentor they will be exposed to different forms of art and material which will inform the art going forward. Mentors (well established artists) helping emerging artists - it is important to identify someone speaking the same vocab as you (material wise) they are able to identify where one lacks confidence and push you forward or encourage you to take the leap. It is also important to speak to directors/curators/artists regarding the business aspect - as they are able to inform you if you are in the right direction and also realise your potential within the art industry.

What do you need your art to "tell" people?
That it is okay to be your (best) self.

What inspires you?
My life experiences mostly, followed by my immediate environment. I am lucky that my work is a reflection of what I am going through - it helps me to create from a place of honesty and vulnerability. Which not many people choose to go there - and this always helps with connecting with my audience because they have also gone through the same experiences and at the end we all realize that we aren't alone. This connection fuels me going forward to continue digging deep.

What did winning the Gerard Sekoto prize mean to you?
All my hard work of entering competitions and the belief that one day I'd make it were leading to this prestigious award. It took four years to be finally recognized and in the years I wasn't - I learnt to alter my weaknesses and strengthen where I could. Year after year - the work became stronger and I also worked on my own confidence. If it had come earlier I might have been lost but at this point I am able to steer my ship without the influence of others because I know my final destination and the time it will take to get there. I certainly learnt the concept of time and process. The award has opened so many doors for me and with this amount of recognition it helps to be aware of the sense of self because all the doors are not leading to greener pastures.

What will you do at the Cite?
I am thrilled that I will be at the centre of Paris and the first month I wish to take in the city - from the streets, to the boutiques and the museums I have dreamt of visiting all my life. The second month will be processing the data and starting to link it with my own work and seeing how I can integrate it within my practice and seeing other materials that can be introduced. Third month I'll be weeping as my time will be coming to an end (ha-ha), also I will be trying to absorb as much as I can in this period and trying to network as much as I can for the future.
SANAVA secretariat
Junxion Communications, e-mail, tel +27 82 551 4853