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Friday, December 4, 2009


(Pic: ”Red Eye”, oil on canvas by Lionel Smit)

Lionel Smit spearheads this year’s much-anticipated exhibition at Artisan.

South African arts sensation, Lionel Smit spearheads this year’s much-anticipated Collections exhibition which opens at Durban’s Artisan Contemporary Gallery on December 9.

“Fittingly, the famous sculptor, Anton Smit will be opening his son’s first showing in KwaZulu-Natal”, said gallerist, Sue Greenberg.

Having had a sell-out exhibition at Grande Provence in Franschhoek early this year, Smit was invited to submit one of his larger-than-life portraits for Christie’s famed annual charity auction. Surrounded by the works of glittering internationals, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Banksy, Smit’s singular oil-on-canvass titled African Girl sold for a record-breaking £26,000 (R320,000).

“This was four times more than what anyone expected”, said Greenberg. “Christie’s president Jussi Pylkannen who conducted the auction has traditionally refrained from expressing an opinion about the work passing through his famed establishment. On this occasion, though, he surprised everyone by proclaiming that he liked Lionel Smit’s painting best.”

Anton Smit will be exhibiting both his large “gestural” portraits and smaller figurative work on paper at Collections 2009. Also on show at this annual exhibition will be ceramics, jewellery, fabrics, and turned wooden vessels by more than 20 of South Africa’s top artists and craftspeople. Included here are Clementina van der Walt, Clive Sithole, Bea Jaffray, Hennie Meyer, Karen Sinovich, Nicola Savage, Leigh Clark, Bongi Tshabalala, Marlene de Beer, Clyde Neumann and Winston French.

Collections 2009 opens at 18h00 on December 9 and runs through to January 20. Artisan Contemporary Gallery is situated at 344 Florida Road, Durban. Gallery hours are 10h00 to 17h00 on weekdays and 09h00 to 15h00 on Saturdays and public holidays. The gallery will be closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1. More information on 031 312 4364.