Hotstix portrait stolen from KZN gallery
Durban - Two well-dressed men who entered Longmynd Art Gallery in Hillcrest on Wednesday and pretended to be potential buyers stole a painting of South African musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse valued at R20 000.
Gallery owner Bryan Goldie said the men arrived at the building and walked around looking at the exhibited paintings. They told the gallery manager they were interested in buying the portrait of Mabuse which was the work of Durban artist Dennis Woest.
The painting was part an exhibition called In the Zone which started on December 4 last year.
“The manager took the painting off the wall and put it down and then started processing the transaction. They produced a credit card, but the electronic transaction failed, so the manager tried doing a manual transaction. While she was busy with one of the guys, the other one sneaked out of the gallery with the painting,” he said.
Goldie said after the transaction failed the manager went back to put the painting on the wall but could not find it and the men had disappeared.
He said they reported the theft to police.
Police spokeswoman Nqobile Gwala confirmed the theft and said police were investigating, but no arrest had been made.
Goldie said it was the first time such an incident had happened at the gallery.
“We have seen it in movies but not in our gallery. This fraudulent credit card was their way to distract the manager,” he said.
The artist and owner of the painting, Woest, said there were plans to auction the painting and donate the proceeds to a charity Mabuse supported.
“I never dreamt that anybody would steal a painting, a piece of art. The painting means a lot because Sipho is a very special legend. There was a lot of effort I put into that painting. For me it is a huge loss that it will never again be seen in public,” he said.
Woest said he had painted other local artists and his theme was inspired by the love of South African music.
“Everyone was painting international legends and I chose to do our own,” he said.