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BONISA OPEN DAY (article first published : 2006-04-30)

Bonisa Gallery’s next Open Day on May 7 will feature a commemorative exhibition of Rosalind Chidell Braby’s portrait paintings.

Many art lovers in Durban will remember Rosalind Chidell Braby with loving affection. Virtually her whole life was devoted to art. She had a natural talent and she studied art, taught art, was an art editor and exhibited art.

Rosalind passed away in February, 2005, at the age of 85 and, to the last day, she continued to paint at her studio at Rockhaven Road, Cowies’ Hill.

She attended Durban Girls’ College and received the art prize from Grade 1 to matric. She then won a bursary to study art at the Durban Technical College. Her formal work culminated with the position of Art Editor of The Mercury.

She was married to Sep Braby in 1943 and had three children: watercolourist and potter Lorraine Wilson, art lecturer Beth Braby and Rod Braby who is conservationist in Namibia.

At 40, she studied homoeopathy and practised very successfully for three years, but found it took up too much of her painting time. She taught art in a studio for many years, helping many people get started and others that really succeeded in the art world. She was much loved as a teacher. She was an honorary member of the Highway Art Group, an associate of the Watercolour Society of South Africa and a member of the NSA (now the KZNSA). She exhibited in numerous group exhibitions, around the country and overseas, and had solo exhibitions at Mooi River and Pinetown.

Her daughter, Lorraine Wilson, has made available to Bonisa Private Gallery about a hundred of her watercolour portraits which represent the great number of people who posed for Rosalind. She painted people from all walks of life, all races, the old and young visitors to the exhibition may even find portraits of themselves or of relatives or friends.

“The collection shows the diversity of South Africa society,” says Neil Wright of Bonisa Gallery. “Rosalind captured in her portraits the character, the personality, the typical look, the smile, the look of concern, etc – living faces look back at one. She was able to achieve a very good likeness and was therefore, very in demand as a portrait painter. All her subjects looked perfectly groomed, their hairdos, their jewellery, their stylish clothing – you can almost smell the fragrance of the ladies’ perfumes. Apart from any artistic merit, these portraits are a record of what people in our society looked like at this time. We will continue to change, our hair styles, our clothes, our make-up, our jewellery but these portraits are immortal. They make a very interesting and attractive collection.

“The gallery is privileged to perform this dual function of commemorating one of the city’s talented and loved artists and, at the same time, exhibiting some very pleasing paintings. Many of those who were influenced by Rosalind, or who knew her, will welcome this exhibition.”

Bonisa Private Gallery is also exhibiting portraits by Shirley Howells whose portraits make a good contrast with Rosalind’s, different styles. Shirley portraits are mainly oil on canvas but not exclusively. Well-known in art circles, Shirley lives and has her studio in Pinetown. Her art is represented in major South African art galleries as well as in galleries overseas.

The Open Day on May 7 is open from 10h00 to 16h00. As usual, John Simpson will be in residence with his Japanese-styled hand-painted cards which include a fascinating new range. Bonisa Private Gallery is situated at 47 Ronalds Road in Kloof. For more information contact 031 764 0288 or visit www.bonisa.co.za




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