ORGANISERS of the 25th Hilton Arts Festival, running from September 15 to 17 at various venues in the grounds of Hilton College, have negotiated three internationally acclaimed, major art exhibitions, as well as a variety of other carefully curated exhibitions.
This year, the main Grindrod Theatre complex will house four exhibitions. In the Norman Dunn Gallery, on the ground floor, will be A Significant Life, the world’s foremost photographic collection on the life and times of Nelson Mandela, presented by commissioned photographer to Mandela, Matthew Willman.
Visitors can join Willman at his two lectures, and hear his touching story, poignant memories and personal anecdotes in the Memorial Hall: A Significant Life (at 10am on Sunday, September 17) and A Life Less Ordinary (at 1pm on Saturday, September 16).
Upstairs in the library, Africa Media Online will present the World Press Photo Exhibition. This is the first time in many years that this exhibition will be presented in KwaZulu-Natal, and the first time at the province’s foremost arts festival. In conjunction with the exhibition, Africa Media Online will screen eight documentaries about the lives and works of leading photographers.
The exhibition/screening package, a ticketed event, will be in the Raymond Slater Library in the Centenary Centre at Hilton College. DocuFest Africa will be held in the college’s Lecture Theatre A.
Another first at the festival, a series of sketches by movie legend Federico Fellini, will be on display in the theatre foyer and Centenary Room. The exhibition, made up of 21 A1 prints by the iconic film-maker, from different periods of his career, displays Fellini’s wicked sense of humour, somewhat whacky world view and his charmingly captured moments.
Many drawings are from the famed The Book of Dreams, the dream-diary Fellini wrote for about 30 years. They some give insight into his fixation with food, and have an overt food /dining motif.
Complimenting the drawings, will be screenings of two short movies: Food in the Cinema of Fellini and Long Journey, a short animation based on the Fellini’s drawings.
Also in the Centenary Centre will be a photography exhibition by local Harry Lock, Entitled Out of Character. Lock has, for several years, captured behind-scenes portraits of people involved in the festival – often without make-up, and away from the spotlight, easel, microphone and instrument.
This year, his portrait exhibition will look back on the 2016 festival.
Two affiliated events of interest to lovers of art will be by Strauss and Co, who will be at the festival. Their Strauss Online auction runs concurrently with the Hilton Arts Festival this year.
Their September online auction goes live on Friday, September 8, and closes on Monday, September 18. Festival guests can participate in the auction from the Strauss and Co stand in the Centenary Room. Experts will be on hand to give information about the online buying platform and artist information. They will also offer free valuations of works of art.
On the Saturday, at 4.30pm, Alastair Meredith is to present a well-illustrated, detailed lecture on a famed South African artist – JH Peerneef: A Period of Discovery and Mastery focuses on Peerneef’s life, his commissions and his travel. Meredith is with Strauss and Co, and has a particular interest in 20th century South African painting and art curating.
For the first time at Hilton, a new initiative will be launched: Living Arts Demonstrations. Art lovers can glimpse behind the scenes and enjoy the process of creativity.
Painters Grant Wood and Tony Durrheim will give three live demonstrations each over the three days.
Wood, a watercolourist, will paint boats and reflections on the Friday; a seascape on the Saturday and a typical street scene on the Sunday.
Durrehim, who paints in oil, will start with a stormy Karoo scene, sharing the seascape theme on the Saturday and, on the Sunday, painting a rocky, forest stream. Space is limited for this free demonstration, so booking is essential.
Exhibiting in the recently- revamped Campbell Exhibition Centre, the N3 Gateway Tourism Association will welcome patrons to discover creative gems from sensational tourism destinations from Pretoria to Durban, Lesotho to the KwaZulu-Natal battlefields.
Crafters along the N3 route will be showcasing their craft. They will be joined by landscape photographer Stephen Pryke, along with warm woollen creations from Tsa Lapeng and beautiful linen from Senzakahle.
Alongside the N3 Gateway Tourism project, the VinLee Art Gallery will share their carefully selected choice of collectables.
The Midlands Meander group has taken residence for the second year in the Art Block, where it will be sharing its artistic pride and joy from its region.
The art hub of the festival will be bursting at the seams at the PWC Perspective Art Exhibitioe, alongside the college’s Bell Tower. The three marques will boast a variety of artists’ work adorning the spaces. Some 60 artists and photographers works will be displayed for sale.
The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Tiso Black Star, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee, DWR, PWC, Bidvest Car Rental, Indwe Risk Services, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi, Redlands Hotel, Zultrans, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, BASA, Castle Lite, Maritzburg Sun and Caxton.