By Renee Moodie

 

Cape Town - In the village of Riebeek Kasteel there is a young man who travels, by taxi and train, 160km every day to study art at Stellenbosch university.

Also in the village live a number of established artists whose works command high sums in the galleries of the world.

These disaparties are nothing new in South Africa - the advantaged have access and the disadvantaged do not.

Now, a brother-and-sister team who live in the town are aiming to do something about it.

Astrid McLeod owns The Gallery, which adds art to the town's olives-and-wine tourism formula, She and her brother Klaus Piprek are planning an event in July which hopes to bring people who are interested in art to the village.

“It's an arty town, but it is also a small agricultural community,” Piprek says.

In that community live many creative people none of whom would usually open their studios to the public. But - shy and reclusive as they are - they have agreed to do just that on the weekend of July 29 to 31, for a series of intimate art encounters.

Solo Studios is a collaboration between artists, curators and galleries, and offers people a unique opportunity for a weekend of art - and fun.

On the Friday evening, the experience starts at The Gallery where, along with some wine, people will be given their catalogues, maps and “passports” to the studios. On Saturday, they can then visit the studios of their choice (where there will be art on sale, not all of it necessarily bank-breaking). Thirteen artists and four galleries later, there will be a “bit of a street party”, says Klaus.

One of the venues will be the local tourism office, where the art of the town's local artists will be shown. “These people are creative, and making great art, but they have no access to platforms to show their art,” says Astrid. It is hoped that the People's Gallery will do just that, and a percentage of the Solo Studios Event proceeds will be allocated to an Arts Development Trust to facilitate a sustainable growth programme for The People’s Gallery.

If you go, you will need to organise your own accommodation, and there’s a fee of R275 for festival attendance. Booking is on Webtickets.

* More details on www.solostudios.co.za

Renee Moodie, IOL Lifestyle Editor