During the month of October and until November 8th, if you are lucky enough to enter the Sayers Art Gallery in the George Museum your eyes will be pulled every which way because of the superb collection of art in many disciplines.
Sanlam, in order to celebrate their 100 years of business in South Africa, have put together an exciting Centennial Collection of 70 artworks which reflects historical events and artistic trends during the period 1918 to 2018. It showcases some of their collection’s most celebrated works, with historical depth, diversity of media and range of subjects.
“Artists will always make visible the unseen in our society. They transform the vagaries of political machinations and corruptions into images and experiences that make us more sensitive to these, whilst allowing for other interpretations” says curator Stefan Hundt about the Centennial: A century of South African Art from the Sanlam Art Collection 1918 – 2018 – a once-in-a-lifetime, one-of-a-kind exhibition which opened on 3rd October and will run until the 8th November.
It features some of the country’s foremost celebrated and emerging talent – the likes of Richard Madarike, Tracey Rose and Ndkumbule Ngqinambe – and takes viewers on a journey through 100 years of SA’s history, through the prestigious works that comprise the Sanlam Art Collection.
This collection, established in 1965 is among the most respected in the country and consists of more than 2,000 pieces. Art is something for us to share; challenges us; to take delight in; and educate ourselves. It’s a critical part of our history and something we all need to have the opportunity to explore” commented Hundt.
What makes this art so exciting? Wandering through the exhibition is a way to be immersed visually in this 100 year journey, from challenging works from past legends like Irma Stern, Maggie Laubser, Gerald Sekota, Cecil Skotness, Walter Battiss, William Kentridge to fresh perspectives from Johannes Maswangani, Adam Letch and Jan van der Merwe. It starts off with a beautiful montage of 3 small paintings by Pieter Wenning, dated 1916, still looking as fresh as if they were painted yesterday. These exquisite paintings set the tone for what is to follow.
Moving on from traditional paintings the viewer can enjoy a diversity of digital media and sculptural installations. For the ladies there is a special exhibit called Beauty Bar by Leora Farber. Another wonderfully clever and striking sculptural piece was created by Wim Botha using discarded paper from Home Affairs Department. This would equal anything an art lover would see in London, Paris or New York Modern Art Museums.
Members of the South Cape Association of Visual Arts (SCAVA) have volunteered to be present to assist visitors to the exhibition and to interpret artworks where necessary.
Why not make a visit to this exhibition a very pleasant experience, topped off by coffee and cookies in the new coffee bar on the verandah overlooking the Museum garden. Unless Southern Cape residents visit galleries in the big cities, this is a rare opportunity to view impressive art so do come and enjoy.