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MIDLANDS MEANDER (article first published : 2004-09-16)

Art formed the embryonic essence of the Midlands Meander Route at its inception nearly 20 years ago and will remain the heart and soul of this icon tourism route. Over the years, a core of recognised artists, crafters and galleries have been responsible for attracting associated elements of tourism to this area of KZN to create what is now a multifaceted tourism destination. These creative individuals have turned their art into successful businesses and form the nucleus of the daily trade on the Midlands Meander route.

Artists have been drawn to this area because of its unique and inspirational environment. Some of these artists, who are in the Living Art category, exhibit their work in local Midlands Meander galleries, while maintaining their privacy and by opening their studios by appointment only. They are full members who benefit as part of the successful joint marketing effort of the Midlands Meander Association.

Artists in the Living Art category comprise established artists and crafters, as well as others who are just beginning to explore creative possibilities. Many are self-taught, gathering inspiration from their environment and using materials which come easily to hand, while others have formal training and have spent years perfecting their art and exhibiting in major galleries in South Africa and abroad.

The work of 18 artists in the new Living Art category will be launched at an exhibition at Indigo Fields Gallery, Balgowan, from October 16 to 31, 2004. The exhibition will showcase the diversity of local talent from Nguni cows carved from fallen wood or twisted in wire to sophisticated platinum jewellery and whimsical dragons. Botanical paintings of indigenous flora, photographs of Midlands scenes and the creatures which inhabit them as well as bold canvases and sculptures, all take their inspiration from the surrounding landscape.

The Official Opening, to be held on October 16, will include a presentation by the motivational guest speaker, author and artist, Musa E Zulu. Musa Zulu will co-exhibit some his works with Midlands Meander artists. Copies of his recent book, The Language of Me, will be available at the exhibition.

While on the Midlands Meander, revisit old favourites. Some of the original artists are still around and there are other galleries, which showcase the work of talented local people. Further information about the Exhibition, from the Midlands Meander Association on 033 330 8195 or e-mail: info@midlandsmeander.co.za

See separate article on the New 2004/05 Midlands Meander Guide.




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