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ART FOR CONSERVATION (article first published : 2004-02-9)

A "Noah’s Ark" of animals, birds, insects – with plenty of trees, flowers and other plants -- is now arriving in Durban for the first-ever Art for Conservation exhibition which is to be held in the International Convention Centre on February 20. They will form the collection of 200 artworks, which include paintings, drawings, sculpture, bronzes, ceramics and photographs, assembled over the last six months by Bren Brophy, the curator of the exhibition and auction, which is being held to raise funds for The Conservation Trust.

A special Gallery will be created at the ICC for this one-night-only Gala in which to view the artworks from 18h00. Guests will then be served a spectacular banquet devised by ICC chef Gunther Beissel (using traditional ingredients from impala fillets and warthog chippolatas to steamed Zulu bread, all served in the best tradition of haute cuisine.

Complimentary table wines will be served; there will be secure parking in the ICC’s basement; ans an auction of about a dozen of the major artworks will be led by auctioneer Rob Thunder and the irrepressible comic Mark Banks, who will also provide the evening’s entertainment. In addition a new Durban-based music-ensemble, "Soundscapes" has been commissioned by the Trust to perform during the dinner, playing four of its unique pieces, each reflecting a different natural habitat, while the well-known Tekweni String Quartet will play as guests enjoy their champagne cocktails while viewing the exhibition.

Some spectacular prizes including holidays, air-tickets, shopping vouchers for Musgrave Centre, a leather jacket provided by Manocks, signed first editions of recent conservation-linked books will be given away during the course of the evening.

"The emphasis on the entire evening is bringing together art and conservation," says Bren Brophy. "It will be a unique opportunity for our guests to have a marvellous evening’s entertainment, to acquire top South African artworks at well below their usual cost – and to support conservation in KwaZulu-Natal".

The Conservation Trust is an organisation committed to supporting conservation in KwaZulu Natal. Since its inception in 1989, it has raised close to R30 million to promote the conservation of this Province’s biodiversity. "The Trust’s Capital Fund and Special Project Fund, in partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, assists with projects ranging from the biological control of alien plants and the protection of Rock Art to the provision of electronic animal tracking systems and the support of tertiary education for conservationists," says the Trust’s CEO, Dr George Hughes.

Tickets for the Gala are still available at R250 each. Contact Rob Cross on 031 201 6454 or on robcross@mweb.co.za




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