“We are extremely excited to launch the first Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) Virtual Gallery, where art enthusiasts from all over the world will now have the opportunity to engage with the festival’s visual arts exhibitions.”
These are the words of Hugo Theart, Artistic Director of the KKNK. Theart says the festival has built a reputation for its extraordinary visual arts exhibitions over two decades, and this year has encouraged them to take the virtual leap. “Although the cancellation of the 2020 festival due to the current COVID-19 pandemic remains a great disappointment, we look forward to launching this exciting new digital experience,” he says.
“This initiative creates an important platform to visual artists to sell their work and generate an income from works that were created for the KKNK this year,” Theart says.
New Visual Arts Curator, Dineke van der Walt, compiled this year’s programme under the theme Down to Earth. Van der Walt says art can be viewed and bought directly in the Virtual Gallery. “Festivalgoers, art enthusiasts and collectors now have the opportunity to roam the digital halls of our visual arts programme, viewing the splendour of 11 exhibitions without the crowds. The offering includes works from 45 artists and more than 200 artworks,” she explains.
According to Van der Walt, exciting exhibitions by talented young curators can be seen, including those by Amé Bell, Tammy Langtry, Tlotlo Lobelo and Suen Muller. “Artists include Usha Seejarim, Lisl Barry, Manyaku Mashilo, Strijdom van der Merwe, Heidi Fourie, Linda Ballen, Zhi Zulu, Olivia Botha, Ronél de Jager, JP Hanekom, Keneilwe Mokoena, Maryna Cotton, Sarel van Staden, Owen Claassen, Vincent Osemwegie and Nanette Ranger – as well as a collaborative exhibition between Jenna Burchell, Jaco van Schalkwyk and Wayne Matthews,” she noted.
Artworks by three young artists from Oudtshoorn are also presented by the Absa Gallery. They are Colin Meyer, Zietske Saaiman and Earlyn Cloud. In addition, Van der Walt added, “A highlight of this project is of course a remarkable retrospective of this year’s festival artist, Barbara Wildenboer.”
Theart says this will be the first of many such exhibitions. “We believe this will become another KKNK institution, which will add more value to our supporters and add more opportunities for visual artists in future,” he concludes. The first ever full-scale KKNK Virtual Gallery opens its doors online at www.kknk.co.za on Wednesday, 24 June 2020.