Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A welcome break 2011/12; an escape of ‘paradise’ proportions.

Hylton Nel Studio, Wesoever Calitzdorp.
Having a good break, an academic recess and or a holiday is essential. Spending time in the mother city, Cape Town and seeing my family, requires a long car journey that takes one through various types of landscapes. Every year my trip includes a stay over at Hylton Nel in Calitzdorp, situated in the Klein Karoo (image of his studio above). 
Coldplay's single Paradise.
Video filmed in the Klein Karoo.
The title above takes its inspiration from the song Paradise by Coldplay, transmitted by various radio stations along the way (the video was partly filmed in the Klein Karoo in South Africa). The journey often includes more than one stopover and a variety of valuable experiences – a much needed escape from JHB. It also grants one the opportunity to read, socialize, wine and dine with friends whilst trying to find the time to review one’s future goals, achievements and aspirations.
Xiaxuan photographed at Hylton Nel's exhibition.
Hylton Nel and his protege Nico Masemolo exhibit at Fine Arts Knysna.
The journey to CT took an unexpected welcome detour to Knysna, situated on the beautiful Garden Route.  As mentioned I normally spend sometime with Hylton Nel in Caltizdorp, a refreshing stopover for the very long journey. He and his protégé, Nico Masemolo had an exhibition opening at gallery Knysna Fine Arts, the very night we planned to stop over. The journey there took 14 hours; road construction caused delays and mainly because half of Joburg decided to embark on their journey on the same day and at the same time. The entire N2 down south to Colesburg was one long trail of cars and trucks. Some towing caravans and trailers, loaded with holiday goods, including Harley-Davidsons, bicycles and braai-equipment - slowing down the traveling speed drastically.
Exhibition by Nico Masemolo. Hylton Nel's protege.

Works by Nico Masemolo.
Hylton Nel's protege
Holiday activities / experiences worth mentioning.
The garden route consists of many splendid places to stay, dine and wine with splendid views of the sea. We stayed at the Rex Hotel in Knysna and had dinner with Hylton, Nico and Bernard at the Island Cafe Restaurant at the Turbine Boutique Hotel and Spa. The next morning we had breakfast at the spectacular Views Boutique Hotel & Spa Restaurant - images shown here.
Recommended Book – a great read during my stay in Cape Town
Freddie Mercury – The Definitive Biography, written by Lesley-Ann Jones.
An informative account of his life as front man to one of the most unique Rock Groups Queen; the unrivalled musical genius that he was and is (The ultimate Rock God), his confused sexuality including encounters and desires, his loneliness and final struggle with aids.
Proud chefs, Myself and Hugo Barnard.
At his home in Sea point 

Numerous meals at friend’s homes and at restaurants in Cape Town, especially Harbour House in Kalkbay harbour, Wakame in Mouille Point and Hemelhuijs in Waterkant street in Cape Town.

Route R62 (Cape Route 62)
The journey back to JHB provided numerous sights and opportunities to capture the incredible landscape. However I was pressed for time and the best views were in the rear view mirror, making it impossible to select the right spot. Here are a few.

Huisrivier Pass into Calitzdorp.

Route R62
The trip back home is via arguably the world’s longest wine route, the R62 (Cape Route 62) for a night or two in Calitzdorp. This scenic drive must rate as one of the most majestic and enjoyable (relaxing). From Worcester the drive goes through Robertson, McGregor, Ladismith and a special mention Barrydale. Here I stopped for lunch and discovered a gem, a very special new restaurant called Wheatless Wonders - the home of gluten and wheat less baking and cooking.

Wheatless Wonders in Barrydale.
The owner Dora du Toit informed me that her products were born out of her own desire and passion for baking and cooking - a direct response to her own problem with wheat and gluten products. Opened two months ago, it is a fabulous alternative to the obvious fast foods on offer on route. I love bread and have a gluten problem. Their products however just taste delicious and are made for those who share my desire for freshly baked breads and pizza.
Hand Weavers at Barrydale
While waiting for my wheat free Pizza, I went for walkabout and discovered another gem, Hand Weavers situated directly opposite the restaurant. Here they weave carpets, table runners, shawls and throws including a wide variety of bespoke woven products, using mainly cotton and recycled materials.  They design and weave all their own products. The project is a creative industries initiative to provide skills to individuals who would otherwise be unemployed. Visit the link and give your support.

Article in Art South Africa.
2011 it has been a good year for me. A successful major work completed and exhibited; a ceramic installation with projected animation, titled and the ship sails on, which took over a year to complete. It secured me an article in the latest issue of Art South Africa page 56-57, published in December. Hopefully the article titled, The Ceramic Surface; a virtual Crossover, will showcase my work nationally and finally reestablish my role as a serious artist.
On route home.
Upcoming exhibition.
Being a full-time academic and making work requires a very balanced approach to life. Solitariness is a key factor in developing creative ideas and realizing them in appropriate and suitable techniques and methods. Thinking through drawing has been my major creative approach in realizing my concepts.  It is therefore time to focus my attention on the drawing books, printing them in limited editions and making them available for sale to art galleries, museums and collectors. A planned one-person exhibition in the first quarter of 2012, exact dates to be announced soon, will pave the way for a new addition to my creative output - the design and development of Artist Books. 


Clementina van der Walt said...

What a great posting...really enjoyed it! Can't believe you missed us out though - both in CT and in Calitzdorp...you HAVE to come our way next time you visit Hylton.
Good luck with the year, sounds like it is going to be very exciting for you...stay in touch. Hope to see you in Jhb in Feb. x

jim said...

hi eugene, you sure know how to holiday. would love to do the same. that spread of hugo's and yours looks almost too good to ruin by eating. the gluten free thing is interesting and that pizza looks yummy. we've lately suspected that sofia might have problems with gluten which causes her to itch and dig at certain areas so we've been trying alternatives to wheat etc. ... but boy are they expensive. hope you have a good new year.