I believe in the magic of bling. I wouldn’t miss bling and therefore I wouldn’t miss this year’s Hermanus FynArts ceramic exhibition themed “Touch of Gold” which was as usual hosted at The Windsor Hotel. It did not disappoint.
At the opening curator Liz Coates introduced Mardre Meyer of Source Interior Brand Architecture whose renovation of Artscape pleased CEO Marlene le Roux and the panel to the extend that the draft became the design.
Mardre focus on the influence of Africa in design and stated what we know so well. Africa has all the inspiration that the world wants. Picasso had a passion for this continent and its masks and when he had to explain why he chose this focus he responded that it can’t be explained in one sentence. It was the development of something with integrity.
Challenge is the mother of opportunity and the world of design had to reinvent references to make African clients feel that their environment is portrayed in a developed way showcasing the vibrance and texture to foreign visitors. The following African design truths hold strong:
- Stronghold of silhouette
Here, art always had a functional or spiritual element. Art was never created for the sake of art.
- Birthplace of bold
Designers are brave and use saturated colours like nowhere else.
- Patron of patterns
Spots, stripes… everything goes and belongs to the location. The blend of styles are not staged.
- Mother of reinvention
Africa has recycling at the core of our daily lives and the people of Africa has been doing upcycling forever. It something falls apart, you chop it up to make it something else, that something else gets added to another product later.
- Cradle of symbolism
Artefacts always have meaning. Even in the chaos of our markets and townships. Selling artefacts masks in Gabon is no longer allowed. You can buy a mask that has been remaked. This is done to preserve heritage and keep the masks of Gabon in Gabon. An industry has been created to protect local tradition.
- Home of handcraft
There is embedded emotion in handcrafted products and that emotion connects us to the meaning of art.
But, as always, the proof is in the pudding of design. When a call was made to reinvent Artscape the instruction was clear: “take it back to what it was” As a complex structure with strong elements Brand ABI focussed on the carpet at Artscape. The carpet had to give expression to equality and mandalas of different cultural necklaces were included. What transpired was how similar the different cultures were. This was my take-home message as I like to think of the glass half full and not focus on differences but rather similarities.
Liz closed the opening with Andy Warhol’s quote “don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”.