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FOR his first Durban showing, artist and body boarder Andre Botha brings his solo exhibition to The Upstairs on Florida Road. Titled Andre’s Funny Farm, it’s a showcase of Botha’s recent works on canvas, as a representation of who he is.
Originally from Cape Town, Botha was raised in Durban from the age of four and soon developed a passion for the ocean.
At 15, he packed his bags and travelled to Hawaii’s North Shore to surf. During years of travelling and surfing – returning home regularly in-between – his love for art blossomed and he spent his surf trips scoring massive waves while racking up a hefty collection of his own artworks.
“In high school, I did some A+ worthy artworks that were graded below a C by a middle-aged, failed-artist teacher. It was only at 22 that a lightbulb went off in my head. I bought a cheap sketchpad and pen and filled that whole book up in one night. That’s where it all began and I’ve not looked back since,” he said.
“I think it is important for young people not to get discouraged, it is really up to each individual to stand up for what they enjoy doing.
“Art is extremely beneficial, deeply moving and educational for all ages. There is no reason for anyone to get in the way of this natural progress in life.”
Shedding light on Funny Farm, the artist says: “What I have learnt from life is that things are not always what they seem and my art, to me, is breaking down those barriers and giving my honest opinion. These would be grounds for a valid opinion: I believe that my mind is clear and my principals are strong and that I work with honour.”
Explaining his creative process, Botha says most of his work is inspired by skulls: “It seems to me skulls are just a by-product of life and death on Earth, they are a reminder of what once was and still is. Other than that, the skull to me is purely aesthetic. Finding the skulls is an elaborate process; they are not found where people live.
“With that said I do have a monkey skull that I found in Durban. I saw him lying dead at the roadside while I was running and I put the body in the bushes. Six months later, I went back after the body had decomposed, removed the skull and now it has found a home within one of my paintings.
“The rest of my skulls come from remote places, mainly along the west coast; these were found when I went walking for several hours in the desert with the eye of an eagle and the wit of a lion.”
• The exhibition runs until October 16 at The Upstairs on Florida Road. Call Trish at 073 513 0928 or 083 799 2626.