Artists Open Houses talks to AfricArt’s Renate Braimah:
AfricArt: 18 Redhill Dr. Brighton BN1 5FH
1-Your Open House is called AfricArt. Can you tell us about your open house artists and the media they use?
Our artists are a bit different from those in other houses as most of them come from Africa. Some of the stone sculptures are by internationally recognised artists such as Joram Mariga and Moses Masaya, others by young and upcoming sculptors. The same is true of the art from Nigeria. Again work by artists such as Twins Seven Seven which has been on show in most major modern art museums around the world rubs shoulders with more affordable works by less well-known artists.
New for this year are local guest artists Bob Webzell with his stunning photography of the luminous Continent and Francesca Herrera with her exotic jewellery. A late entrant into our Open House is Moira Houston with her wonderful sculptures. Moira used to come to our workshops as a student many years ago but has become so good at stone carving that she is now a successful selling artist.
Last but by no means least we have just been selected by Born Free as the most suitable house to display a wildlife painting by Craig Roberts which they hope will fetch £1000 for their charity.
2-Can you tell us a bit about African stone sculpting workshop that you will be running?
Our stone sculpting workshops take place in our garden surrounded by wonderful sculptures for inspiration. Participants can choose from 8 different types of soft serpentine stone of exquisite colours. They are open to beginners as well as experienced participants, even children from 10 plus. This is a hands on class without much theorising. Everyone comes away with a finished sculpture. The course is run by one or two experienced tutors who are sensitive to people’s needs and know how to engender a creative and fun atmosphere.
3-What do people need to bring to the workshop with them?
Nothing apart from enthusiasm and a bagful of imagination. But even when people haven’t got an idea of what they’d like to sculpt, just starting the process of chipping away at stone often leads to an idea; it’s as if the stone tells you what to do!
4. Sunday 21st May is Africa Day – do you plan any special events for this day?
We will be celebrating Africa Day 2017 on Sunday 21 May from 11-5 by inviting visitors to enjoy a free glass of fruit punch whilst wandering around house and garden looking at the art and sculpture on display. In the garden they can observe an African stone sculpting workshop in progress. If they feel like it they can have a go themselves at using a hammer and chisel on a small piece of stone.
AfricArt’s artist-in-residence, Philip Kotokwa from Zimbabwe, will run the workshop that day.
10% of all sales proceeds on that day will be donated to the Born Free Foundation who have chosen AfricArt to display a painting by international wildlife painter Craig Roberts. This fabulous painting of a Silverback Gorilla will be for sale in aid of Born Free’s conservation work in Africa.
The aim of our celebration is to draw attention to the extraordinary creativity emerging from Africa, a small part of which is on view at our Open House.
5- You’ve taken part in AOH for many years, what do you most like about doing it?
It’s the highlight of my year. It’s a way of connecting with people through the arts. Since I’ve started AfricArt and my participation in AOH 22 years ago I have made so many friends which I would never have been able to make in any other walk of life. So that has enriched my life no end. And I just love meeting new people and talking to them about the art on show. And then there is the whole other aspect and that is going out to Africa to select the sculptures and meet old and new artists including workshop leaders. I could go on …
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Idil C. Bozkurt
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