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Monday, November 3, 2008


Two well-known Durban artists are putting the finishing touches to works that they will be exhibiting in London in early December.

They are Maggie Strachan and Lara Mellon – seen here in Maggie’s Botanic Garden Studio - who will be showing a selection of their oils, drawings and mixed media work at a joint exhibition at the prestigious Coningsby Gallery I London’s West End.

Maggie, one of the city’s best-known art teachers after having taught art at various high schools in Durban, resigned from formal teaching about ten years ago and now paints and conducts adult oil painting classes from her home-studio. It was through the studio that she began to work with Lara and another artist, Roz Cryer, and they successfully exhibited together at the artSpace Gallery last year. “I am uncomfortable with the label of ‘teacher,’” she says. “I prefer to think of working with groups as a sharing process: we share our energy, support and experience.”

Maggie, who has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions in the province, says that the content of her paintings to date, has been inspired by “a nostalgia for the undamaged beauty, mystery and diversity of my physical environment – and an acknowledgement of spiritually moments of memory, revisited on canvas.”

Lara, whose background is in Human Resources consulting, has been painting with Maggie for the last eight years and they have exhibited together in a number of recent exhibitions. She says that the creative process began for her as a child, working with whatever natural materials she could find. The works that she will exhibit in London are mainly landscapes with separate magnetized photographic images that can be moved to anywhere in each work or even removed altogether. “The concept intrigues me” she says. “I sense a lack of permanence in the images of people, contrasted by the timeless landscapes that seem to have no boundaries.”

The exhibition which they have called South African Connections will open on December 1. For more information, contact or on 082 694 9444