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FEATURING extraordinary lifelike portraits is the solo exhibition titled Images of Africa by Holly Kavonic. The exhibition, which opened at the Artisan Gallery last week, is of oil paintings which are so realistic that they could pass as photographs. According to a press release, Kavonic captures the beauty and nobility of the human spirit through her portraits.
In an interview with Tonight, Kavonic explained her passion for art and how her journey began: “I have been painting and drawing since I was a small child. I began to take painting more seriously as soon as I entered Danville Park Girls’ High School in Durban in 1999 and that’s when I began to use oils. I was just starting out as a realist then, but progressed into hyperrealism in 2007 when I took four months off work to complete four paintings that I was planning to exhibit in the future.”
Specialising in oil, the artist says she is fond of “hyperrealism” which is a style of painting resembling a high-resolution photograph, but the paintings are not strict interpretations of photographs, as in photorealism. “Oils are the most difficult paints to work with, but I find they are the most malleable. They stay wet for longer, giving me more time to work on a specific area of the painting at one time. It is also possible to speed up or slow down drying time by adding certain drying oils to the paint.”
In terms of her work in Images of Africa, she shares her reasons for depicting the world of Africa through her work: “There is a beauty and nobility in the human spirit that surpasses understanding and defies simple explanation. We are filled with such complex emotions, but no matter what a person has been through, we can relate on some level to them. There is so much to capture in a person’s soul, so much which speaks through our eyes, our expressions, and our body language. I want to capture and preserve this on canvas. I have started with Africa and hope to eventually cover races and cultures from many different countries and ultimately help people all over the world connect to each other and create a deeper understanding of how we are all inherently the same and able to relate to each other. Through my portraits, I wish to inspire compassion for those in need.”
What’s interesting about Kavonic’s art is that she uses her work to fulfil a deeper purpose. For instance, she also has wildlife paintings. “I hope it will encourage people to support wildlife foundations working to preserve these animals and their habitats,” she says.
Those who attend Kavonic’s exhibition will find numerous prints on display as well as a few originals owned by certain collectors in South Africa.
“My original paintings have all been sold over the past three years and due to the high demand, I release 50 limited-edition prints of each painting.”
• For information about the exhibition, call Ingrid at 031 312 4364 at Artisan Gallery. Or visit www.hollykavonic.com.