Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Struik Lifestyle

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

A Glimpse at the Artist’s Inner Life: Photographs from South African Artists at Home by Paul Duncan

South African Artists at HomeReal Estate Magazine has shared a few photographs from South African Artists at Home by Paul Duncan.

Julia Freemantle describes the book as “an opportunity for insight into how and where” artists live, a “rare and real reflection of the spaces artists create for themselves”.

This photograph shows Hylton Nel, a ceramic artist, painter and sculptor currently residing in a mountainesque town in the Klein Karoo. Nel was born in Zambia and attended boarding school in Kimberley before he created his beautiful living space in a magnificent house on the outskirts of Calitzdorp.


Read the article:

The quirky images, unstyled and natural, keep the feel of the publication authentic and true to the spirit of seeing how these creative, often enigmatic, people really live and the accompanying text too, is more about the people themselves than the spaces, giving you a sense of understanding what they’re all about and what it’s important to them.

Book details

» read article

Dylan Lewis oor die ekologiese krisis: “Ons het onsself vervreem van ons diereverlede”

Dylan LewisDie skrywer en kunstenaar Dylan Lewis het onlangs met Laetitia Pople gesels oor die grootskaalse ekologiese krisis wat dui op die mens se vervreemding van die natuur.

Die Dylan Lewis: An Untamed Force-outeur het Pople op ‘n staptoer deur sy nuwe beeldtuin in Stellenberg geneem wat een van die dae sal open vir die publiek.

Lewis het vertel hoe vreesaanjaend dit was om die tuin te skep: “’n Beeld skep jy, en jy kan tot vyf maande wag voordat dit gegiet is en jy jou resultaat het, maar ’n tuin het ’n lewe en ’n wil van sy eie, dit hou aan groei.”

Lewis het onder meer gesels oor sy kinderjare wat hy in natuurreservate spandeer het en die invloed wat die dood van sy beeldhouerpa, Robin, op sy kreatiewe lewe gehad het.

Lees die artikel:

“Ek het as kind baie tyd in natuurreservate verwyl en het ’n persoonlike band met diere ontwikkel – eers voëls, later buffels en toe die grootkatte.

“Ek het tien jaar lank met ’n luiperd in ’n hok gewerk. ’n Band het tussen ons ontwikkel, maar ek is seker ek sou op­gevreet gewees het as ek dit in die hok sou waag. Ek beskou die kat as die argetipe van die wildernis. Dit is my simboliese dier.” Weens verstedeliking en ­ekonomiese dryfvere is die ­moderne mens van die natuur vervreem, sê hy. “Dit blyk in die ekologiese krisis – die gebrek aan ’n werklike, betekenisvolle band met die natuur. Ons het onsself vervreem van ons diereverlede en ons sien die resultate daarvan.”


» read article

Paul Duncan Invites You into the Very Private Spaces of South African Artists at Home

South African Artists at HomeStruik Lifestyle is proud to present South African Artists at Home by Paul Duncan:

An artist’s canvas reflects the face he chooses to show to the world, but the place in which that art is made is seldom revealed. Paul Duncan was given unparalleled access into the homes and lives of fifteen of South Africa’s most revered artists. Over countless mugs of coffee or glasses of wine, he listened and observed as they spoke about their lives, loves and the way they make their art. South African Artists at Home takes the reader into some very private spaces, affording us a glimpse of what the artist goes home to at the end of the day. For some, the work space and home space are irrevocably intertwined. For others, home is a sanctuary. Or perhaps it is the studio that is the sanctuary and home is where ‘real life’ happens. Either way, if you have an interest in art, artists, and the often bizarre way that making art intersects with living life, you’ll find this book intriguing.

About the author

Paul Duncan is the founder of Paul Duncan Media and the author of a number of books including, most recently, Hidden Cape Town, Cape Town Louis Vuitton City Guide, Style Icons, and two collections of South African interiors: Down South and Down South Two. A former editorial director at Condé Nast Independent Magazines and editor of Condé Nast’s House & Garden (South Africa), Paul was educated in Cape Town and at the University of Edinburgh. As an independent media consultant, he works with a variety of organisations including Fiera Milano, Cape Town Design NPC, Cape Craft & Design Institute and Condé Nast International. He was also responsible for the abridgement and picture research for Nelson Mandela’s Illustrated Long Walk to Freedom.

Book details

» read article

Presenting a Sculptor’s Life and Work in Dylan Lewis: An Untamed Force

Dylan Lewis: An Untamed ForceFernwood Press, an imprint of Random House Struik, is proud to present Dylan Lewis: An Untamed Force.

The towering sculptures of Dylan Lewis are becoming well-known landmarks in South Africa, where they grace botanical gardens, golf courses, grand hotel foyers and the halls of discerning collectors. Increasingly, they are being snapped up by galleries and institutions abroad.

This publication builds on an earlier book, bringing the photographic record of Lewis’ work up to date. The brief introductory text reveals how the sculptor’s boyhood in a happily bohemian, nature-loving and creative family inspired him, and traces his artistic development from what have come to be known as ‘the cat years’ to his current, more esoteric and mythical approach.

This beautifully presented book showcases some of Lewis’ most ambitious and successful works in a series of dramatic photographs, and includes images of preliminary sketches and working methods.

Dylan Lewis: An Untamed Force is co-written with Ian McCallum and contains images of Lewis’ preliminary sketches and working methods.

About the authors

Born in Johannesburg in 1964, Dylan Lewis grew up in a family that valued and explored the natural environment, and his parents were both accomplished and practising artists. Lewis has pulled together these twin influences of his childhood and evolved into one of the country’s foremost sculptors, with growing influence abroad. He has exhibited widely, including in North America and the UK.

Ian McCallum is a medical doctor, author, Jungian psychologist, wilderness guide, and founder of the Wilderness Leadership School in the Cape.

Launch details

Fernwood Press invites you to the launch of Dylan Lewis: An Untamed Force, during which the world-renowned sculptor will present a photographic record of his life’s work at the Everard Read Gallery on Thursday, 19 February.

The event will start at 6:30 for 7 PM and Lewis will sign copies of his book afterwards.

Don’t miss it!

Book Details

» read article

Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke Celebrates Both the Man and His Outlook

Listening to Distant ThunderListening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke by Elizabeth Rankin and Philippa Hobbs is a book that tells the story of the community trauma brought about by forced removals in the Cape, as seen in the art of Peter Clarke.

Although Clarke personally felt the social disruption of forced removal, his art remained optimistic and perceptive.

The book was launched at the David Krut Bookstore in Johannesburg recently. A number of Clarke’s friends and family were in attendance, reminiscing about the belated artist’s humility and exuberant life.

Racine Edwards wrote an article for City Buzz about the launch and how the book came about.

Read the article:

“It was a horror to know that he was gone, but even more of a horror to think that everything would have to be turned into past tense,” [Hobbs] joked, explaining her feelings about the time of Peter’s passing. She continued to explain that the hardest part of writing about someone’s life, while they’re alive, is that you never know where to end and that was especially true for Peter. “He kept us scrambling and towards the end he became even more exuberant!”

Book details

» read article

Peter Clarke Celebrated at the Launch of Listening to Distant Thunder by Elizabeth Rankin and Philippa Hobbs

Elizabeth Rankin and Philippa Hobbs

A remarkable book deserves a remarkable party, especially when the book is a re-issue by Fernwood Press of an earlier publication with a fascinating tale in its own right. Iziko’s Rust en Vreugd museum was the perfect spot for the launch of Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke by Elizabeth Rankin and Philippa Hobbs.

Originally published by Standard Bank, the 500 copies printed in support of a curated exhibition in May 2011 soon sold out. Art lovers eager to know more about the late Peter Clarke, one of South Africa’s foremost artists, clamoured to buy the book at the exhibition, although it was never available through book shops to a wider audience, until now.

Friends and family of Peter ClarkeListening to Distant ThunderSteve Connolly welcomed a terrific turnout comprising Clarke’s friends and family, the photographer George Hallett and poet James Matthews, as well as local art lovers and book lovers. He said it was a celebration of a great South African artist, poet, writer and teacher, who was also a gentle, sensitive man.

Connolly recalled returning to South Africa with his wife in 2011, after a stint of living in the UK. When he saw Clarke’s exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery (it appeared later at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg) he was greatly moved by the work. Publishing this book was a labour of love and a series of happy coincidences. He praised the authors for their fascinating text and the selection and layout of Clarke’s beautiful images.

“Our whole approach with this project is that we want Peter Clarke to be a secret no longer, his name known only in the Cape Peninsula, in small informed artistic elite. We hope that by bringing this book back to life we can increase his profile, bringing his stature and reputation into its rightful place in the broader community,” Connolly said.

The first item on the programme was a poetry performance by Clarke’s niece, Michelle October. She had composed “Still Life with Artificial Eye” in memory of her uncle. This somewhat irreverent take on the more personal details of his life was much enjoyed by those in the audience who knew and loved Clarke. Her second poem, “Population Explosion”, explored the harsher realities of his life, told with a keenly observed eye.

Rankin, who flew in from New Zealand to celebrate the launch, recalled the origins of her experience of the artist’s enormous talent. As a co-curator of an exhibition entitled “Printmaking in the Transforming South Africa”, which took place in 1997 for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, she came into contact with some of the lesser known printmakers working in the country – in particular black artists who had fallen below the radar.

Elizabeth Rankin, George Hallett and Philippa Hobbs“At that time we uncovered the consummate artistry of Clarke as we did the early research for the exhibition’s brochure. It was just amazing to find a man who had ploughed the furrow all on his own and produced such amazing work,” Ranking said. This was what led to the awareness that they really needed an artist’s biography dedicated to his life and work.

Rankin spoke of the heartbreaking news of Clarke’s death, which was mercifully peaceful. It posed a substantial challenge to them as writers. She reflected on the need to rewrite the book: “Changing the narrative from the present to the past tense was a most painful process,” she said.

Hobbs shared her recollections of working with the artist, and in particular the acrylic painting, “Anxiety”, that started her own research and writing process. “I was so drawn to a work done in 1966, that I decided to start there. It was done when he was still living in Simon’s Town, in the era just before forced removals. We’re looking at 1963 to 1970, that encapsulates the mood of the time. Peter said that people knew there was a distant rumble of disaster and trauma on the horizon. There was a lot of contestation and argument with authorities and people were horrified at the prospect of forced removals from Simon’s Town. Peter said there was a listlessness and passivity about the people,” she said.

Hobbs spent many hours in the Simon’s Town Museum, trying to work out the history of this traumatic era. She said that Clarke had depicted the time with irony and humour. “Those who knew him remember him as a man who reflected deeply on the time. He was also a man to see the human side, even the comical side. When he spoke of the trauma, he also told funny stories. He remembered a policeman, Tarzan Jacobs, who had a lot of henchmen. When they got hold of Peter, he knew he was a ‘gonner’ as the police van screeched to a halt.

“Tarzan started to rough Peter up. They picked through his pockets and saw his address book. He saw so many names he recognised, famous artists. He asked Peter about it and Tarzan then explained that he was also an artist. They started talking about art. In that moment, they were able to meet as artists. This was the power of Peter Clarke’s life and work. He humanised the people he met.”

Following the engaging talk by both the authors, Clarke’s lifelong friend George Hallett took the microphone. He recalled their invitation to the home of Jan Rabie and Marjorie Wallace which was interrupted by a visit from the police. Wallace hid them under the bed as one of her friends removed her clothes, except for her knickers. “We saw the boots from under the bed and the policeman suddenly departed saying, ‘O jammer‘ at the sight of a half-naked lady.”

Hallett, recalling the ambience in which they were brought up, said Clarke’s house in Sondersteen was our Harlem Renaissance. We listened to Abdullah Ibrahim and Beethoven. One of our friends picked up Mozart’s flute concerto. Peter said, ‘Be careful! That’s my entire record collection!’ He paid tribute to his friend in glowing terms, as did poet, James Matthews with a performance of his own poetry.

* * * * * * * *

Liesl Jobson tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:


* * * * * * * *

Facebook gallery


Book details

» read article

Peter Clarke’s Painting Landscape with Sheep Sells for Record Amount At Auction


Listening to Distant ThunderA painting by the late Cape Town artist Peter Clarke recently sold for the record price of R700 000 at auction.

The painting, Landscape with Sheep, was sold at a Stephan Welz & Co auction.

Previously the highest price paid for a Clarke artwork was R600 000, the amount his Surfers at Strandfontein was sold for in February 2013. Clarke died this year, aged 84.

Four paintings by the acclaimed artist and writer from Ocean View, who died in April, aged 85, were sold as a part of a larger auction of South African and international art, jewellery and furniture.

Landscape with Sheep, painted in 1962, sold for R700 000 at the auction in Constantia, R400 000 more than its top estimated catalogue price of R300 000.

The painting depicts a farming scene from Tesselaarsdal in the Overberg, a region Clarke often visited in his youth.

Book details

Image courtesy of NLA Design and Visual Arts

» read article

Celebrating the Life and Work of Peter Clarke in Listening to Distant Thunder by Elizabeth Rankin and Philippa Hobbs

Listening to Distant ThunderPresenting the first book to explore the life and work of Peter Clarke: Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke by Elizabeth Rankin and Philippa Hobbs.

Originally published by the Standard Bank as part of a curated exhibition in May 2011, this prestigious volume celebrates the life and works of Peter Clarke (1929–2014), one of South Africa’s foremost artists. A mere 500 copies were originally published, all taken up at the exhibition, and continued demand has led to its rerelease. Clarke left his job as a dockworker in Simon’s Town to devote himself to art. The wisdom of this decision is reflected in a remarkable career, which extended over some six decades and was acknowledged in the awards of the Order of Ikhamanga (Silver) in 2005 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke recounts an artist’s life in the context of the social history of South Africa from the 1940s onwards. His images reflect the social disruption of the Cape Flats, and the trauma of his community’s forced removal from Simon’s Town to the bleak apartheid township of Ocean View. Yet Clarke’s images have avoided bitterness, and his work is a perceptive scrutiny and celebration of life in all its aspects.

Illustrated with over 200 reproductions and photographs, this book was researched and written by well-known South African art historians Philippa Hobbs and Elizabeth Rankin, in close collaboration with the artist, over almost seven years.

About the authors

Elizabeth Rankin was appointed Professor of Art History at the University of Auckland in 1998, after many years of service at the University of the Witwatersrand. Since the late 1980s, her many publications and exhibitions have focused on recovering the stories of artists who have been little researched, particularly sculptors and printmakers.

Philippa Hobbs holds post-graduate qualifications in Fine Art and History of Art. She is currently the curator of the MTN Art Collection and manages the Arts and Culture Portfolio at the MTN Foundation. She is also a Research Fellow of the University of Johannesburg: Visual Identities in Art and Design.

Book details

» read article

Ceramics and Fabrics Exhibition to Celebrate the Launch of Ardmore by Fee Halsted

Ardmore: We Are Because of OthersStruik Lifestyle and Exclusive Books invite you to join them for the launch of Ardmore: We Are Because of Others by Fée Halsted.

To celebrate the launch of the book Ardmore and Mavromac South are holding a collaborative exhibition, co-ordinated by Charles Greig. Mavromac South has created a fabric range using Ardmore designs and Ardmore will be exhibiting a range of carnival ceramics made to complement the launch of the book.

The launch and exhibition opening will be held on Tuesday 18 September at 6:30 PM for 7:00 PM at Exclusive Books Hyde Park. The exhibition will be on display until Monday 1 October.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 18 September 2012
  • Time: 6:30 PM for 7:00 PM
  • Venue: Exclusive Books Hyde Park,
    Corner Jan Smuts Avenue and William Nicol Drive,
    Entrances on 6th Road,
    Hyde Park,
    Johannesburg | Map
  • RSVP: 011 325 4298

Book Details

» read article

Ardmore: We Are Because of Others Tells the Story of this Famous Pottery Studio

ArdmoreNew from Fernwood Press, an imprint of Struik Lifestyle, Ardmore: We Are Because of Others by Fée Halsted:

Giraffe stretch out their necks and bat-eared foxes curl their tails to make handles for jugs, vases and tureens. Inquisitive monkeys peer over the edge of a planter, teasing the leopards below them. Magical creatures wear cloaks of flowers, spots and stripes; a turbanned Zulu figure sits astride a hippo…

Colourful, imaginative, vibrant, delicate and dramatic – these are just some of the hallmarks of the artworks that have garnered international accolades for Ardmore Ceramic Art in rural KwaZulu-Natal. It is here, in South Africa’s most successful ceramics studio set in the verdant Midlands, that exquisitely handcrafted and highly detailed figurative works and functional ware are created by more than fifty artists who draw on Zulu traditions and folklore, history, the natural world, and their own lives for inspiration.

In turn, it is the lives of the sculptors and painters of Ardmore that fire the vision of the woman behind it all: Fée Halsted is an artist whose love of teaching and determination to fight poverty and AIDS have set others on the path of creative self-discovery and ultimately worldwide acclaim.

Ardmore – We Are Because of Others tells the extraordinary story of this famous studio – from its humble beginnings in a poverty-stricken corner of South Africa to its fame as a producer of exceptional and irresistible objets d’art prized by collectors, galleries and museums throughout the world. It is also the story of the indomitable Fée Halsted who is the driving force behind the enterprise, and the artists whose inventive spirit and fearless creativity are at the heart of Ardmore.

About the author

Ardmore Ceramic Art was established by Fée Halsted on Ardmore Farm in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal, where she lived after obtaining her BA (Fine Arts) Honours degree and lecturing at Natal Technikon. Here she met Bonnie Ntshalintshali, daughter of their housekeeper, whose polio meant that she was unable to work in the fields. Fée and Bonnie quickly developed a synergy and under Fée’s mentorship, Bonnie’s natural skills as an artist blossomed. Five years later, in 1990, Fée and Bonnie were jointly awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award, the first such artistic partnership to be recognised. With this success came the demands of creating ceramics for their exhibition, so Fée offered other local women the opportunity to train at Ardmore, producing pieces to generate income for the fledgling studio.

Book details

» read article