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SAN ART AT BERGTHEIL (article first published : 2003-05-15)

Talented Kalahari Bushman artist Vetkat Regopstaan Kruiper – who prefers to be known as Bushman not San – will be in Durban for an exhibition of his work hosted by Westville’s Bergtheil Museum from May 20 to 27.

Vetkat is a totally self-taught artist whose individualistic pen and kokhie work is rapidly gaining recognition throughout the country. At his last two Durban exhibitions, the art on display was snapped up by the enthusiastic opening night crods. One of his drawings has been bought by Natal Museum Services for their permanent collection and another 14 by the University of Pretoria’s Department of Landscape and Architecture.

Vetket’s eye-catching art is unique in that it combines the ancient tradition of his people with Vetkat’s own innnnovative style and personal vision. Steeped in the desert spirit, his dynamic drawings depict scenes that evoke both the spiritual and physical landscapes of the Kalahi and the people, plants and animals that inhabit it.

The pictures, with their spiritual eloquence, unusual combinations and little quirky touches of humour mirror the essence of Vetkat himself. Known in his community as a wiseman and a visionary, Vetkat has been drawing since 1999 when he attended a workshop facilitated by Catherarina Scheepers under the auspices of the South African San Institute (SASI). Up until that point, he had never put pencil to paper. His “studio” is a red sand dune under the open Kalahari sky and he uses whatever materials are to hand. Since Vetkat rarely leaves the Kalahari,the forthcoming exhibition offers a rare oportunity to see the work and meet the man. A selection of one-off orifinals will be on sale.

The exhibition wil be opened by Professor Keyan Tomaselli of UND’s Culture, Communication and Media Studies which has co-sponsored the exhibition.

More details from Alvine at the Bergtheil Museu on 031 203 7107




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