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Sunday, June 19, 2016


(Andrew Verster. Pic by John Hogg)

The Arts & Culture Trust paid tribute to artist Andrew Verster on his 79th birthday on June 15, 2016:

According to Verster being an artist was not a choice. He simply liked to use his hands and to create things. Perhaps this is what has led to such a varied career; from internationally acclaimed visual artist to writer to award winning set designer, Verster has simply seized every opportunity to create.

His strength lies in his interest in materials, in exploring and experimenting, waiting to see what will emerge. Even as a playwright he does not start with a finished piece in mind but works with the material, in this case sentences and words, putting them together ‘like a collage’ until the piece emerges from it.

He speaks with pride about the way actors and artisans have taken his work and transformed it through their own skills. This openness to, and interest in, what happens in the spaces and connections between, as well as his humility and deep respect for others, make him a natural collaborator. Collaboration is to him an exchange which grows both parties. “I learned through my mistakes and through working with other people who have got the skills which I have don’t have and who might not have the vision that I have, and I form these wonderful liaisons and learning, watching them make things, I learn possibilities of extending my ideas, this is what you can do, which I didn’t do. Now I can do more, now I can do more and more, so it’s wonderful.”

Born 1937 in Johannesburg, he studied at Camberwell College of Art in London and Reading University before returning to South Africa to teach. He gave up teaching in 1976 to devote himself full time to art.

As a visual artist he has had over 50 solo exhibitions and two retrospective works. His work is included in public and private collections around the world and he has collaborated on many public installations such as the doors of the Constitutional Court. In 2012 he was awarded the Arts & Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award for Visual Art.

Today Andrew Verster turns 79 and the Arts & Culture Trust would like to wish him a very happy birthday and many more to come. – Pieter Jacobs, CEO, Arts & Culture Trust

(This information is published on the Arts & Culture Trust’s blog – see