Kirstenbosch Botanical Art Biennale 2010 focuses on rare and endangered species
Now in its tenth year the established Kirstenbosch Botanical Art Biennale has become awell loved and attended show, drawing diverse and enthusiastic crowds to the gardens.The 2010 exhibition, the sixth since inception in 2000, will run from 5 to 24 Septemberat the Old Mutual Conference Centre at Kirstenbosch and is sponsored by Old Mutual.The main focus this year will be on rare, endangered and narrow endemic speciesindigenous to southern Africa.The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) recently launched thenew Red List of South African Plants, an evaluation of the conservation status ofspecies and the risks of extinction to species. Their Threatened Species Programme is
endeavouring to help conserve South Africa’s flora by assessing the conservation status
of all 20 456 plant species and, through the Botanical Art Biennale, SANBI intends tohighlight and stimulate interest about the plight of these plants to the public.The theme provides an invigorating artistic challenge and encourages artists to buildrelationships with conservation organisations, scientists, artists and horticulturistsThe exhibition, which was the brainchild of Merle Huntley, wife of previous SANBIDirector Professor Brian Huntley, has become one of the highlights on the Botanicalcalendar and w
ithout doubt this year’s theme will provide a thought provoking
conservation message.Botanical art works are intricate in the extreme and aim to mimic the full glory of ournatural heritage. Whilst the paintings are complex the viewer is drawn into the simplebeauty of the plants that surround us and visitors will appreciate the detail that the artisthas to render.Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens has long been a centre for the study andappreciation of plants and, through its national and international affiliations, artists havebeen assisted with material, (where possible) lists of growers and flowering times ofchosen plants to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy.
This year’s exhibition promises to be as invigorating as previous events and curator
Nicki Westcott has endeavoured to broaden the event as far as possible by introducingceramics, tapestry and embroidery and the work of renowned artists working on thethemes of conservation and destruction of the environment.The selection process of the botanical art submitted is rigorous and the panel of judgesis well versed in this field. They are Vicki Thomas, a world renowned botanical artist
with the distinction of having her work in Prince Charles’ personal collection, SANBI
botanist Professor John Donaldson, Irma Stern Museum director/curator ChristopherPeter, John Manning, botanist at SANBI and Professor Keith Dietrich, Head of VisualArts at Stellenbosch University.There has been a distinct revival of interest in Botanical art in recent years which isreflected in contemporary trends in interior décor and art collections.The Biennale provides a space where the public and collectors can view the best
examples of botanical art and where the individual artists’ contributions can be
assessed and acknowledged. This show is an important opportunity to create
awareness of Southern Africa’s endangered species whi
lst also showing theextraordinary work of top botanical artists.
The curator’s idea is to simultaneously create awareness of the threats and dangers to
biodiversity and to celebrate the magnificence of the natural world through the use ofdifferent artistic media.New to the Biennale is a youth programme encouraging high school pupils to enter anart competition and the public will be able to view and purchase beautifully madeceramic pots made by the ceramicists from Light from Africa (a non profit organisationbased at Constantia Nek) and filled with succulents. In addition,