I like art, although I am not a frequent visitor of galleries, nor do I have a cheque book that can cope with the price tags attached to what I like. That said, art can be enjoyed and appreciated just by looking and I have just spent two days doing exactly that at the Hermanus Fynarts Festival.
Now in its fourth year, this festival is really coming into its own and getting bigger and better all the time. This year the festival theme is A French Connection, and considering South Africa’s passion and excellence in all things related to food, wine and the performing arts, coupled with our French Hugenot heritage, it’s a very good connection all round.
During his performance at “Last night at the Proms” our very own maestro Richard Cock dismissed politicians, statesmen and business leaders and boldly stated…
“ We ,the creatives are the future of this country, because creatives talk to our souls.”
I tend to agree with him. I have spent two days viewing beautiful and thought provoking art, listened to exquisite music, eaten food made with passion and flair and spent time on the beach with my camera. My world is in perfect harmony. I have been rejuvenated.
Richard also noted that the arts had a very difficult job as the natural beauty of the area is a tough competitor. I say that while nature and art might have been competing, they complimented and inspired one another, and they both won. After all, we are in South Africa, the most talented and beautiful country in the world.
So whatever talks to your soul, inspires and delights you, you will find it in Hermanus this week until the final day of the festival on Sunday 19th June.
Spread out over Hermanus and the surrounding area the festival is a celebration of sculpture, paintings, food, wine, music and poetry. You can wander around and look, you can taste, listen and learn. There are talks, workshops, cooking demos and wine tastings with lots of mixing and matching at a variety of venues. Visit wine estates, hotels, galleries, churches and municipal halls, just look for the Hermanus Fynarts posters and signs that are dotted all around.
To view the complete program of events, talks and workshops click here to view and book if necessary.
All the galleries and venues displaying artworks are free and a handy map showing the location is readily available as Hermanus now boasts a First Fridays Artwalk through the village.
As I am neither a foodie nor a wine lover, I focussed on the art and this is what I found and loved. It represents a tiny fraction of what is on display.
My photographs do not do justice to the artwork, they serve only to give an idea of the feast that awaits your eyes.
The featured artist of the festival is Louis Jansen van Vuuren, a home grown talent who now spends his time in France and South Africa. His exhibition titled “Heaven and Earth” can be seen at the Rossouw Modern SPACE Gallery.
I met Terry Kobus of Originals Art Gallery and was very moved by his works inspired by the child refugees of Syria.
I also loved his African scenes.
I was intrigued by the sculptures by Jaco Sieberhagen, all the ones on display at the Rossouw Modern as well as the large piece on the cliffs at Gearing’s Point. Jaco depicts individuals and the components that make us who we are.
At the entrance the the Rossouw Modern the Wild Dogs by Frans Mulder seem to run of of the painting at you. I spent ages at this painting.
I was lucky enough to find Malcolm of Malcolm Bowling Art Gallery at work. His love and understanding of animals is reflected in all his paintings and drawings.
The natural beauty that is in your face as you walk between galleries is art in itself. Sunrise and sunset in the Overberg can be spectacular, so do remember to keep an eye on the sky.
At Birkenhead House in Voelklip, a suburb of Hermanus, the abstract sculpture panels by Dylan Lewis are very interesting. Animal spoor in relief, moulded, and painted using the unique technique developed by him.
Sculptures on the Cliffs at Gearing’s Point.
This year traditional artists were asked to nominate a sculptor to exhibit with them. My favourites pieces were Stairway to Heaven by Strijdom van der Merwe, Love Alone by George Holloway, Traveller by Jaco Sieberhagen and Assemble by Lionel Smit.
African stories are told on beautiful tapestries by the artists of The Keiskamma Art Project.
I could go on and on with pictures and stories, there is so much talent in our creative country. Below are the last few artists I just have to mention. Go and feast on art in Hermanus, it is so inspiring.
Oil paintings by Solly Smook
Arabian Heart Throb by Florian Junge seen at the Walker Bay Gallery.
Don’t miss the ceramic displays at the Windsor Hotel and the beautiful jewellery at the Marine Hotel.
Hermanus is a one and a half hour drive from Cape Town so a day trip visit to the festival is easy. There is so much to see and do that overnighting is recommended and there is plenty of accommodation available. With the public holiday on Thursday, why not take Friday off and head for Hermanus.
Thank you to the amazing Mary Faure and the organisers of the FynArts Festival for hosting me in Hermanus. To Auberge Burgundy for the comfortable accommodation right at the beach, Burgundy Restaurant for breakfasts to fuel me for the day and Frieda Lloyd for her time, coffee and passion for her area. All opinions are my own.