The opening of the Johan Carinus Art Centre last night proved a great success, drawing visitors of all ages. Major attractions were that of sculptor Sarah Walmsley, mixed media artist Virginia Reed (Requiem), and self-proclaimed ‘Afri-pop’ painter Gabrielle Richards. Among these installations was the work of other artists like Roddy Fox (Metamorphosis), and students from local schools (Afrofuturism Fantasies and other Stories).
For many of these artists, this is their second or third time at the National Arts Festival.
Artists like Virginia Reed have created pieces to share their interpretations and perspectives on lost aspects of humanity, be they relationships with nature or specific behaviours.
Each of her pieces carries a rich, passionate call to visitors to reflect on their own understandings of such matters.
Other artists, like Sarah Walmsley and Gabrielle Richards, take a personal spin on topics like memories.
While Walmsley used repeating sculptures (‘Absence and Presence’) of the female form to showcase her interpretation of personal loss and reflecting on memories, Juli-Anne Norton offered a broader interplay of art and South African culture. This aesthetic is colourfully captured in Norton’s pieces, while Walmsley’s offers viewers a more thoughtful and sombre view.
Carinus, founded in 1956, is itself a hallmark of success for local and student artists in Grahamstown. The staff offer their skills to train artists at junior and senior levels at six different schools in the city, and the space remains a local centre for exhibitions during the Festival. Visitors who want to spend an afternoon of quiet contemplation can visit this all-day exhibition between 09:00 and 17:00 every day of the Festival.
By Shraddha Patnala