'Rooms' is situated on the
first floor of 113 Lower
Main Road, Observatory

The sign above the door

A view of the lounge


Rooms 4 Sale

Barend de Wet - proprietor? Of a hotel? The same Barend de Wet who … well, never mind. "Proprietor" is what the business card of Rooms said, so ArtThrob went along to find out if it was all for real, or just another art installation/performance. Here's the reportback:

Rooms (great name, and the four star logo derived from the matchbox design is perfect, too) is indeed among Cape Town's newest tourist attractions, depending on what kind of tourist you are, of course. Trendily situated on the Lower Main Road in Observatory, immediately above the Obz Café and every artist's favourite store, the truly wonderful Dominion Hardware, Rooms provides the kind of space artists look for in other towns and usually can't find. The furniture is basic but comfortable, everything is very clean, the five bedrooms are high-ceilinged and cool, two of them with doors on to the balcony. There's a lounge with a TV and some little rugby portraits on the mantelpiece left there by mistake by Peet Pienaar, a bar area and kitchen facilities with a mountain view. Photographs of guests are beginning to dot one wall, and so far include such art world people as Wayne Barker, Karl Gietl and Susan Glanville.

The tariff: Single: R100 a day, R75 a day for a week or more, R1 500 for a month. Double: R75 each a day, etc. E-mail your inquiries to barend123@mweb.co.za or phone 082-789-8810.


Ezrom Legae

Ezrom Legae - obituary

South Africa lost a distinguished artist of the older generation when painter and sculptor Ezrom Legae died in Johannesburg this week at the age of 60, after a long illness. Legae received his early training at the Polly Street Art Centre and the Jubilee Centre under Cecil Skotnes and Sydney Kumalo, and is perhaps best known for his powerful and emotive 1977-78 Chicken series, and the 1979 Freedom is Dead series. His work has been shown all over Europe, and was part of the groundbreaking Ricky Burnett-curated 'Tributaries' exhibition in 1985, shown first here and then in West Germany. Awards received include the 1967 Oppenheimer Sculpture Prize and Art SA Today, and the artist is represented in most major museum collections in this country.


Ezrom Legae
Chicken series (detail)
1977-78. Drawing on paper
Coll. SA National Gallery

For my friend Ezrom

A tribute from Linda Givon, director of the Goodman Gallery

Thirty years of working together through the heaviest time in a country shattered by the cruelest and most devastating destruction, a nation's deconstruction and reconstruction.

You taught me how to look across the wall at the people who were so desperately subjected to unspeakable horror. Your sensitivity which leaped perception as a human being as well as an artist who touched my heart and my soul. Your courage in a time when nobody dared to speak out in 1979 with your homage to Steve Biko and in 1980 with Freedom is Dead. Your sculpture of burnt flesh and necklaced people, tortured but always lyrical with a sense of poetry and deep sensitivity. Your warm sense of humour, usually with a twist of irony and often ending in tears. Your compassion and love for your fellow man, your total dedication to your children and grandchildren. Your humility as an artist. All these make the memory of a complete all-round man who will always remain as one of the treasures of our nation.

It was fitting that you were chosen to present our great President Nelson Mandela with a bronze sculpture on his stepping down as head of the ANC. You have enriched my life and those of many others.

Bayete. Goodbye brother. May your spirit be free at last.


The interior of the
District 6 Museum

District 6 Museum closing temporarily

The District 6 Museum in Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, will close for renovations on January 18, temporarily relocating from mid-February to the Moravian Chapel in District Six. During the period of closure, the woodwork in the central exhibition area will be restored, and the new Sound Archives and library will be installed in the upper gallery area. An archway, forming the main feature of the choir gallery, will be soundproofed with glass. Artists are to be commissioned to inscribe this glass with symbols of the four main religions of District Six: Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism, using a stained glass technique. In the hall adjoining the Museum, it is hoped to establish a small coffee shop.

For more information, phone (021) 461-8745.


The invitation to
Expose Yourself

Expose Yourself

Photographers are invited to "build an exhibition on the spot at the South African Centre for Photography's Bring-a-Print party". The print should be of exhibition quality, mounted and unframed. Any size, any colour and any theme. The work will remain on exhibition for three weeks, after which it will become part of the centre's founding collection. The date: Saturday, January 23 at 7pm. Venue: South African Centre for Photography at UCT Hiddingh Hall Campus - Orange Street, Gardens. The event will also feature a cash bar, music and dancing. More info: (021) 480-7108.



Norman Catherine
Ju-Ju Bazaar 1996
Oil on mixed media
180 x 140 x 9cm

Norman Catherine is one
South African artist who
always has top quality
images of his work on hand

Series: The Professional Artist: Introduction or "What they never taught you at art school"

The most important New Year's resolution you can probably make as an artist is to become a lot more professional in your working life. Most of us love working in the studio, hate the administration involved in documenting the work, getting it shown and sold, etc. The attitude of "I'm an artist, let someone else/the gallery people/the art fairy take care of that stuff" prevails. The truth is, learning to be business-like and professional in your approach to gallery directors, collectors, journalists or whoever comes your way is almost as important a factor in your eventual success as making consistently good work. One New York artist spends six months making a new body of work, and the next six promoting it.

In this part, read how to document your work. Next month, learn the method of archiving your slides the way New York galleries do. This series will also tell you how to construct your CV, and cover such subjects as keeping your press cutting book, what curators expect on "a studio visit", giving work out on consignment, selecting a gallery, when to say "no", keeping up to date with the art world, building your address list, and more.

Documenting your work

1. Top quality 35mm slides of your work are completely essential. Colour photographs, however good, do not fill the same role. You need slides to send to curators or give to people who might want to lecture about your work, and slides remain the medium of choice for fine print reproduction in a catalogue. No matter how tight the deadline, never let work leave your studio for the last time without making time to have it professionally photographed.

2. Photographing work well is a skill, and generally not to be trusted to your friend who is starting out as a photographer. If the work is small enough - not bigger than approx 1200 x 900cm - you can take it to a professional lab like Prolab or Hirt & Carter in Cape Town. They will photograph the work in their studio for considerably less than it will cost you to have a photographer come to your studio.

3. If the work is being photographed in the studio, get involved in the shoot to the extent of looking through the lens once the photographer has the shot set up. Probably, he or she will "bracket" the shot - take what seems to be the perfect exposure plus one f-stop up and down. If you like what you see, ask to have four (or more) of each taken, giving you at least 12 slides for later distribution. It's much cheaper to get extras at this stage than to have duplicates made later. You will be paying for the session and the film and processing costs.

4. If your piece is large, a 35mm slide may not be adequate for large-scale reproduction - there is a limit to how much fine detail can be contained on such a small surface area. If possible, ask beforehand to have large format transparencies made in addition to your 35mm slides. Most photographers will bring along an extra camera to do this, and again, it will be part of the session fee. Don't be shy to ask for a quote beforehand. Also, if the piece is large, have not only the whole thing taken, but also some close-up detail shots (these can be on 35mm) of specific bits which might not show up properly on the overall view.

The payoff for all your effort and expense will come when you have fine quality slides which show your work off at its best to curators and those who wish to reproduce your work, slides which you will keep all your life as a record of your artistic development.

... MWeb

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