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LIENKIE LOMBARD AND AT BOTHA (article first published : 2007-04-24)

Submerse yourself in the innocence of childhood with painter Lienkie Lombard's charming images of children as well as dramatic landscapes by actor/artist At Botha in a combined exhibition which opens at the Anton Benzon @ Crouse Art Gallery KZN on May 11.

This tranquil beautifully-lit gallery space in Morningside - a stone's throw away from Windermere Centre - showcases excellent works of art by inspirational South African artists. The May event is a joint exhibition of the works of Lienkie Lombard and At Botha.

Lienkie Lombard was born in Pretoria in 1949 as the first child (of six) to Dr Jan Richter, and raised in what was then the Western Transvaal. She matriculated at Hoėrskool Rustenburg while the family lived at the Derdepoort missionary station on the Botswana border. She read for a BA Fine Arts degree at the University of Pretoria where she graduated in 1971. She married Nico Lombard while still studying. Nico's work commitments meant that much of her life was spent travelling with her family from small town to larger city across South Africa. They have now settled in Leeupoort, in the Thabazimbi area.

Lienkie does a lot of nature and still-life in oil and water and has also experimented with Sjablone, spray technique and other art materials to create an interesting effect. Experimenting with various media and techniques led her to create bird studies on her then medium-of-choice, rice paper. Her rice paper bird series was so popular with the public, that she ended up spending all her creative time on them. She stopped the rice paper work to concentrate on what has now become her signature genre: children at play and rustic, romanticized farm scenes: boys kicking a ball or flying a kite, girls dressing up outsize posh frocks, and siblings frolicking in the waves.

Lienkie uses her art as escapism and to revisit the nostalgia of childhood. In this fast-food world, loosing oneself for a while in the forgotten reminiscence of childhood memories is perhaps not a bad thing: "My work is an effort to capture a little beauty that got lost and forgotten in this fast life and bring it back," she says.

At Botha’s long and impressive career has established him firmly as a respected icon of (mostly) Afrikaans-medium stage and TV. Interestingly over the past few years he has concentrated more on developing his painting and now tends to consider himself a painter who also acts, rather than an actor who also paints.

"I'm perhaps getting a bit too old to play the action hero these days," says At self-deprecatingly. He shares his trademark dramatic black moustache, twinkle in his eye and heroic cop roles with Tom Selleck from Magnum PI fame. Much as he loves TV and intends to keep acting for many more years - he is at a time in his life when there is an attraction to staying at home, working for himself and painting. He has been in his same Northcliff home since 1981 - and loves it.

Kroonstad born, At spent most of his childhood travelling between towns in the Orange Free State Region as his father was a school teacher. This is where most of his inspiration comes from. He says that clouds and mountains fascinate him and that he wants to draw people into his paintings, this is the reason that he paints figures from behind, wanting to draw them into the scenery.

TV still keeps him busy. He is bouncing between three series currently - he performs regularly in Egoli. He has just finished working on a new action/drama series: Dryfsand (Quicksand) which premiered on April 14 on the Afrikaans channel, Kyknet, and is also scheduled for MNet. Next up is Erfsondes (Sins of the Fathers) which is a series for TV2.

Crouse Artdealers specialises in original South African art, offering work by sought-after artists like Errol Boyley, Marie Vermeulen Breedt, Bea, Este Mostert, Annette Poulton, Luther Marais, Claerhout, Cornelius Bosch, Andre De Beer, Robert Domijan, Christian Nice, Gabriel De Jongh, Lienkie Lombard, Johan Smit, Chris Tugwell, Portchie, Ina van Schalkwyk and many more.

The gallery is situated at 56 Adrain Rd in Morningside. It is owned by Michelle Dodds (who also runs the gallery) and Chris and Suzette Crouse who have been dealing in South African Art for the past 12 years. For more information phone 031 312 2315 or visit www.artdealers.co.za




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