Art at MannaBay
Our Gallery, Art at MannaBay, provides a space to exhibit South African artists creating South African art around South African themes. We host different shows in the year, each around a specific theme, with the artworks on display for visitors and guests to enjoy and purchase, should they wish. All profits from the sales go to a charity based around the theme. Currently we are celebrating The Year of the Horse, as heralded in the Chinese zodiac calendar this year. Come and take a look…
The Year of the Horse
The horse is part of a 12-year-cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac and interact with the elements: wood, metal, fire, water and earth. In 2014, the wood horse takes over from 2013’s water snake. In Chinese astrology, the Year of the Horse is considered a fortunate year, bringing good luck. Other characteristics include reverence, power, impulsiveness and decisive action.
For us at MannaBay, we are using the theme as a celebration of how horses have shaped South African culture, biodiversity, politics, economics, technology… you name it. We asked five established South African artists to portray the horse in different contexts, detailing South African life from the horse’s perspective, thereby using horses to describe our culture. The works are on display in our gallery until the end of 2014. After this time prints will still be available. All the prints are low edition (maximum of 10) and original pieces that are affordable and authentic.
Profits from the sales of the art will go to the Cart Horse Protection Association, a non-profit Cape Town based animal welfare organisation that works to protect working cart horses and donkeys from abuse and contribute to the social upliftment of the Cape Flats carting community.
Meet The Artists
“It was such a exciting project to work on and so fascinating to see the diverse ways in which the artists portrayed the same theme. It’s great to see creatives collaborating for such a worthwhile cause – the Cart Horse Protection Association. We want to get South African art into the international arena and portray South African life in a creative way to the international audience.” – Curator, Gregg Brill
1. Abigail Heyneke
Abi Heyneke works in London as an artist, illustrator and designer. She studied art in London and Art Direction & Graphic Design in Cape Town and has exhibited in both cities. Her work often explores natural history and the animal kingdom, looking at themes such as extinction, evolution and mythology.
All Abi’s pieces for ‘The Year of the Horse’ are reconstructions of quaggas. This type of Zebra was native to South Africa but was hunted to extinction by the late 1800s. They were thought to be a distinct species, until relatively recently when genetic studies showed that they are in fact a sub-species of the Plains Zebra.
Emil is a Cape Town resident, with ancestral roots in Hungary and the Netherlands. Being South African, Emil nurtures an acute awareness of the melting pot, and realises his role as a representative of a pseudo-European descendent. Emil is a truly proud, invested South African.
From a personal perspective what 2014 and the ‘Year of the Horse’ signifies is a drive towards intelligence and innovation with a reverence and relevance of a local and international past to maintain value and heritage as we set eyes on the future present. With the subject of the ‘Year of the Horse’ at heart, the horse was portrayed as a creature – something living, breathing – and as a symbol – an axis and point of departure.
Globally the horse has been and remains a symbol for speed, drive, power and elegance. A creature of contrast, but a contrast that while possessing brute power does so with grace, poise, logic, and control. Locally, the horse serves as an icon for the beauty and strength and desire for freedom in our country but also the strife, poverty and desolation of our nation. It serves as strong axis for the dialogue that investigates where we as South Africans and people are heading and where we have come from.
Maya grew up in Swaziland, and studied art in London before moving to Cape Town to study environmental science. Her work combines her interests in art and the environment with a special love for animals.
This body of work is based on a story the Birkenhead – a war ship carrying troops to Algoa Bay in 1852. The ship sank 3km off the coast of Gansbaai. While some passengers were saved on life boats, it is said that some passengers and horses managed to swim to shore. It is thought that the group of wild horses which now live near the Botrivier lagoon may be the descendants of these horses.
While researching horses and contemplating the awful situations horses have undergone within the history of man, this story stood out as one quite different, yet one similar of many stories of groups of wild horses around the world. Similar to the wild horses in Namibia, France and many other places that were abandoned by soldiers in times of war and left to fend for themselves but also to become feral, re-wild and free. I was interested in the idea that this sinking ship opened up a different future for these horses who otherwise would have found themselves in a very different life.
Elsabe grew up in Pretoria and finished her degree in Fine Art at the University of Pretoria in 2002. She continued her studies at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, where she completed a Masters in New Media in 2006. She has had two solo exhibitions in Cape Town, one in Pretoria, and one in Basel, Switzerland, and has taken part in numerous group exhibitions. Her work is taken up in private collections in the UK, USA, and throughout Europe. She has lectured at various institutions in drawing, new media, videography, illustration and design. She lives and works in Cape Town, with her husband and two young children.
In a nod to traditional representation of horses, these drawings are like quick figure studies, exploring the shapes and postures of the horses, using sepia ink, water, brush and pen. Quick lines and darker brush strokes describe the different individuals, but in both works it is the group dynamic that is of more interest. The term Equidae refers to the family of horses. The work alludes to the interconnectedness not only in that specific family group, but in similar groupings, such as my own family context, as well as the interconnectedness between species. In Water, the group congregates around the water trough, anonymous and one in this most basic of needs, shared across all species. In South Africa’s particularly water scarce climate, this need is especially pronounced.
5. Batteson | Brill
CamilIa Batteson was born and raised in Cape Town. She is a young and enthusiastic designer who says, “Art is a part of my life and it makes me the creative and exciting person that I am.” Camilla spends much of her time either on the computer designing, working out at the gym, making a mess in the kitchen and socialising with friends and family.
Gregg Brill, born in the Eastern Cape, spent much of his childhood on the farm or beach. His exposure to the great outdoors has instilled an innate love for nature. He is currently pursuing his PhD in environmental science at the University of Cape Town, researching the economic, social and ecological value of urban national parks around the world. Gregg links his passion for the environment with his creative side, often using nature as his muse. He has travelled to nearly 50 countries, and gets endlessly inspired by the rich cultural, social and environmental diversity of the places he visits.
The collaborative works created by this creative duo are both whimsical and tongue-in-cheek, and showcase the seemingly endless diversity in South Africa. Horses as used as a vehicle to describe the state of the country, our political past, our cultural nuances as well as our rich biological diversity. Each piece takes on the form of a mandala, an ancient symbol of perpetual energy – a circle with no beginning and no end. Rich backgrounds form the tapestry on which the pieces are situated; echoing a colourful past. Each piece is uniquely different, yet all centre on the wealth that South Africa offers.
For more photos of the Year of the Horse Exhibition, take a look at our Image Gallery.
For more information, please contact our curator Gregg Brill on +27(0)72 3767045 or email moc.yabannamnull@tra. Alternatively, you can phone us at MannaBay on +27(0)21 461 1094.