Last Friday evening, I had the privilege of attending the official opening of the Gonubie Lions’ 2019 Art Exhibition at King’s Mall in Gonubie.
The exhibition features more than 100 fabulous works from local artists, exploring a wide variety of styles and subject matter.
In addition, all proceeds from the exhibition go towards the Carel Du Toit Centre.
The GO! & Express has written about the centre a number of times in the past but for those who still don’t know, the Carel Du Toit Centre is an East London-based organisation that focuses on assisting pre-school deaf children in the Eastern Cape.
Using a combination of technology and expert guidance, the centre helps deaf children with the natural acquisition of language and speech to enable them to fully participate in the hearing world.
They do amazing work and it’s always good to see locals doing their part to help them where possible.
Anyway, back to the exhibition.
Art is a notoriously subjective field and what appeals to one person might not necessarily appeal to another.
That said, there were two pieces in particular that I found myself coming back to throughout the evening.
The first, Contortion (Octopus), was by Bernadette Taylor, and as the name implies, depicted an octopus contorting itself around what looked like large air bubbles.
The first thing that hits you when you see this piece is the colour.
Taylor’s use of bright, warm colours against a plain white background really makes the subject stand out in a way that is immediately eye-catching.
She uses this style in some of her other paintings on display, like Confusion (Chameleon).
The second piece is undoubtedly my favourite out of the whole exhibition and, funny enough, is also by Taylor.
It is a mixed-media piece called Nice Rug is it? and unlike the previous work mentioned, was noticeably muted and melancholy.
The piece depicts a zebra against a backdrop containing text which is repeatedly blacked over with lines resembling a zebra’s stripes.
For the most part, the artwork is entirely black and white, except for one small bit of colour: a bright red blood trail coming out of the zebra’s throat. Given this and the title, it’s pretty easy to guess what Taylor was saying with this piece but it gets more interesting.
The text is hard to read given the thick black lines covering most of it but I did manage to make some of it out. The quote seems to come from the website of international animal rights organisation, In Defence of Animals.
It reads: “Hunting is a violent and cowardly form of outdoor entertainment that kills hundreds of millions of animals every year, many of which are wounded and die a slow and painful death.
“Hunters cause injuries, pain and suffering to animals which are not adapted to defend themselves from bullets, traps and other cruel killing devices.
“Hunting destroys animal families and habitats, and leaves terrified and dependent baby animals behind to starve to death.”
So yeah, not much room for interpretation there.
Now whether or not the message is accurate is a debate for another time.
Putting aside the ethics of hunting for now, the piece itself is powerful in its own right. It is both brutal and deeply tragic despite its minimalist palette.
Of course, all of this is just my personal preference – there are plenty of pieces from other artists all covering different topics, from breathtaking landscapes to introspective portraits.
No matter what your taste, you’re sure to find something at the exhibition that speaks to you as much as the two pieces discussed above spoke to me.
The exhibition runs until Saturday November 2 and is open from 10am to 6pm daily.
All artwork is also on sale, so don’t forget your wallets.