……BY BILLY SUTER……
MIXED-MEDIA art work by some of the most interesting new creatives of all ages, from every corner of KwaZulu-Natal, are to be featured in Contagious Creativity, the second exhibition scheduled for The Gallery at The Studios at Ballito’s Lifestyle Centre.
Scheduled to run from tomorrow (Friday, February 5) until March 9, the exhibition has taken special measures to navigate around Covid protocols and ensure a limited number of guests at any one time in the gallery space.
The February 5 opening will be staggered throughout the day – with pop-up performances, happenings, installations, a fashion/modelling show and music taking place at intervals.
“A wide range of arts, design, creative writing and music will be showcased, including paintings, drawings, print, mixed media, photography, sculpture, multi-media, fashion, furniture, an award-winning architectural project, woven ware and a few installations made by our youth in the community, especially for this exhibition,” says a spokesman.
The Gallery, open for just five weeks, has sparked much interest on the local art scene. According to Jane Digby, local artist and driving force behind The Gallery, the first exhibition received a strong response from the North Coast community, as well as holidaymakers that visited the area during the festive season.
“Sixty-eight artworks were sold across 20 artists, which is a fantastic result. This is a magnificent, contemporary gallery that is conducive to optimally displaying art as well as browsing,” she says.
A ‘Call for Artist’ was distributed in December, calling on creatives to apply digitally for selection and inclusion in this new exhibition, showcasing local talent.
“We are selecting artworks that will create a visually exciting exhibition experience, with the intention that it will remain a lasting memory that will create engagement in the arts, as well as bring hope at this time of adversity,” explains Digby.
“The experiential mezzanine area has been hugely popular during The Gallery’s first five weeks, with the public making their mark on the ‘Interactive Walls’ relating to topical /pertinent social issues.
“New interactive walls will be installed for the second exhibition to take it further, encouraging creative writing and much therapeutic doodling. We invite anyone to come along and let their voice be heard.”
The Gallery also has workshops lined up after February 15, once the pandemic restrictions have been lifted and only when it is safe to do so.
These will include oil painting, drawing, figure drawing, linocuts, creative writing, cell phone photography, digital SLR photography and many more.
In the meantime, the public is welcome to paint, draw, build puzzles, read, work and enjoy the creative Covid-safe space, along with excellent coffee from The Coffee Lab, brewed personally by owner and barista, Sbusiso, within The Gallery.
“We have a number of regulars who enjoy their morning fix in the company of a huge selection of arts. You can also find the finest range of the latest Ardmore homeware designs at our neighbour, Ardmore boutique. We have so much to offer during these extraordinary times,” says Digby.
“Our team, including myself, David, Lynda, Tamsin, Simo and Winnow are on hand to welcome and assist art lovers, browsers, or anyone who enjoys a beautiful space.”
The plans for The Studios, opposite Weylandts, to host a number of smaller bespoke line shops and fitness studios, were unable to be brought to fruition due to the impact of the Coronavirus and lockdown earlier in the year, but owner of Lifestyle Centre, Bruce Rencken, came up with the idea to utilise the space to showcase the work of the local art community.
“Bruce Rencken has offered local artists the most incredible opportunity to exhibit in The Gallery, a magnificent, industrial space of about 600m2, ideally positioned opposite Weylandts and close to the many restaurants on Eat Street,” adds Digby.