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ART IN THE PARK 2003 (article first published : 2003-05-30)

At this time of the year, Art in the Park takes over a section of Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg which is set aside for this highly popular annual open-air art exhibition. Supported this year by Discount Steel, Pietermaritzburg Tourism, East Coast Radio and Blomeyers Electrical, there are no less than 54 stands carrying a wide selection of art to suit all tastes.

Among the elite of KZN artists are watercolourist Christopher Haw (this year making an interesting departure from portraits with some highly-charged sea scenes); Beth Freeman-Kane with her exquisite bird miniatures; Trayci Tompkins whose stunning “fired-by-fire” ceramics are proving highly popular and John O’Donnell and Leonie Erasmus who are delighted with the way their powerful images are being snapped up by art lovers.

Izidro Duarte has produced some attractive bushmen-styled paintings which his son Everett has framed in a most attractive manner - they definitely caught my attention. Derek Millier’s wild life paintings are as always finely produced in pastel and oil.

Other well-known KZN artists are Diane Erasmus, Harry Lock, Michele Batchelder, Lorna Panzenböch and Karen Fortune with Wendy Mills and Sheila Bainbridge.

The work of Mozambican artists Manuel C Manque and Amarildo Alberto, well-known for their work at the BAT Centre, were creating much interest.

Nice to see Richard Rennie back, although he is not exhibiting but caretaking the work of his pupil Bernadette Britz who is following firmly in the footsteps of her teacher. Another out of towner was Mat Lowurens who I normally catch up with in Grahamstown. This year, he is joined on a professional basis by his wife Naomi, who is exhibiting her work at Art in the Park for the first time this year.

Artists have also travelled from outside KZN to display their works at this popular event. Either wander around – crunching through the fallen leaves which are so much a part of Art in the Park - in the daytime enjoying the dappled shade from the trees or in the evening when the braziers are lit and the venue takes on a completely different atmosphere.

This year, the event will feature an impressive array of musical talent: So far, the jazz band Round Midnight, a local band Shifting Silence and a marimba bandhave performed. Tomorrow night will see a performance by Fate of Africa and the Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters. Visitors on Sunday will be treated to a potpourri of musical expressions, dominated by De Ja Vu and the beat of marimba.

Discount Steel Art in the Park 2003 runs in Alexandra Park until Sunday. - Caroline Smart




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