Here are some press and magazine articles the have featured Prince Albert Open Studios
Below is the latest Art Times edition, showcasing the December 2021 Open Studios Event
A recent article in the PA Friend September 2021
Essence of the Great Karoo, with Di Smith
By Collette Hurt
Self-taught multidisciplinary artist Di Smith describes herself as a late-starter – with no rules to break she feels free to express her thoughts, feelings, ideas and experiences in a wide variety of non-verbal ways. “If I had one wish for the world, it would be to have every person, create something. In order to grow, to learn, to express, to understand, to respect and to value, we need to create.”
After 18 years of running her own art gallery in Cape Town, Di moved to Prince Albert in 2019 to realise her dream of practising as a full-time artist, while being close to nature.
Her assemblage work is created from things she picks up on a daily basis – wood, metal, seeds, stones, rusty things, bones, teeth, glass, feathers, washers, nails, wire, and other bits and pieces. She cannot easily explain what attracts her to each piece, perhaps it is the shape, their age, their history, their essence or just that they once existed in another time and place as something else. Wabi Sabi (Japanese aesthetic of finding beauty in things incomplete, imperfect and impermanent) probably best sums up her love of found object assemblage. She says, by putting them together, they somehow connect and interact in a way that bring their histories together and something new is created. This newness from oldness is the appeal.
Di also sculpts – in wood, ceramic and more recently bronze. Her painting and conceptual work are usually an expression of events in the world, events in her life and things she feels strongly about. She experiments continually with a combination of media and materials.
Her latest landscape paintings, in oil, seek to depict the what she describes as “the Essence of the Karoo – big skies and distant horizons, in a minimalistic fashion – so as to evoke a feeling of the vastness of the Great Karoo. “All I really want is to continuously get lost in the process and I would love my work to evoke some thought, emotion or comment by the viewer”
Di’s work can be seen during all Open Studio events, and her studio (Studio 51) is open by appointment throughout the year or when the art flag is out at 51 Nieuwe Street. Instagram @di_smith_art
A recent article in the PA Friend July 2021
Celebrating “Karooness” with Sue Hoppe
by Collette Hurt
The word “Karooness” conjures up a flurry of newness. To multidisciplinary artist Sue Hoppe, who works primarily in oils, photography, and mixed media and encaustic, it speaks of a new direction in her art, set off by a new chapter in her life in the Karoo.
Two years ago Sue and her husband Max realised their dream and moved from Port Elizabeth to Prince Albert to begin a slower ‘Karoo’ lifestyle. Relieved to be free of a confining city life, Sue describes how moving here has really transformed her art…
“My earlier work was mostly about the plight of women and children in Africa, whose future seems so desperate. Urban imagery was sparked by living in an industrial hub, dependent on a very undependable power supply, and urban decay. We were surrounded by razor wire, alarm systems and security gates. ‘Don’t Fence Me In!’ became the cry of my heart and the theme of my work. After moving here that theme continued for a while, but with more of a sense of enjoying newfound freedom. I’m revelling in our new life surrounded by incredible light and space, so my current work has morphed into a celebration of ‘Karooness’. The longer we live here, the more I am absorbing the essence of the Karoo, relishing the paradoxical contrasts which define this place, from small details to huge open spaces.
Surrounded daily by this, it is inevitable that I will try to express its impact on me in my work. I love that it is so intangible, so contradictory, harsh yet incredibly welcoming. Soft juicy succulents meet spindly dry bushes and thorn trees, baking heat replaces icy cold, miles of open plains and dead straight roads suddenly become jaw dropping mountains and winding tracks. It is as indefinable as its boundaries on a map. Depicting all this ‘Karooness’ is such a joy!”
‘Celebrating Karooness’ is Sue’s newest body of work – a series of encaustics through which she hopes to put across the essence of her love for the Karoo and her new life here.
A recent article in the PA Friend May 2021
Louis Botha and Photography in the Karoo
by Collette Hurt
“Roads less travelled, unspoilt landscapes, little dorpies, special people and stories” – photographer Louis Botha’s exploration of the Karoo captures an experience of stillness, quiet, open spaces, and simplicity, of slowing down and seeing. To Louis, a photograph speaks not only about the subject, but of the photographer too. It is “an expression of an impression, a permanent document of a sometimes fleeting visual and emotional connection with the subject”.
In the Karoo veld’s vast space and silence Louis feels closest to his Creator, and to his own creativeness. Here one really values the magnificence of the natural surroundings, and the effect that changes in the light has on them.
The light in the Karoo is appealing to photographers. Its uniqueness lies in the clean, unpolluted air, and high visibility resulting from the dryness. The northern position of the sun, especially in winter creates beautiful shadows, “essential for introducing contrast, mood, lead-in lines and separating the elements in a photograph from each other”. Louis feels that “probably the most attractive aspect of photographing in the Karoo is its unique homogeneous colour palette and seeing how the quality of the light, as it changes through different times of the day and from season to season, extracts a range of rich and warm colours”.
“Photography cannot be defined completely as it is a journey. It is easy to learn how to use a camera to alter depth of field, but how does one capture a depth of emotion?” Louis enjoys sharing his experiences and personal journey with others. He occasionally holds workshops, and photographic tours, where one can discover more about the self, while encountering photography and the Karoo.