It was a double celebration for Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Development and Alumni Relations Division recently at the launch of its 2021 Alumni Art Exhibition and the official opening of the much-anticipated Alumni Clubhouse at Die Stal.
The exhibition, attended by among others Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers and Toyota SU Woordfees programme director Saartjie Botha, consisted of a blend of different artists and genres and most of these are up for sale. The Alumni Art Exhibition features works by 25 artists, including Paul Emsley, Tamlin Blake, Gregory Kerr, Louise Gelderblom, Mariambibi Khan, Theresa Jo Wessels and Carine Terreblanche.
Alumnus and honorary professor in Economics Rudolf Gouws delivered the opening address and also exhibited a number of his sculptures at the event. These included thought-provoking pieces of his grandson entitled “Nicholas” and the bronze bust “Sonskyn”.
He said the exhibition is just one of the reasons why art lovers living in and around Stellenbosch are so privileged.
“Other reasons are SU’s Department of Visual Arts; the more than 20 art galleries in and around the town and in neighbouring towns Franschhoek and Wellington; the University Museum; the Rupert Museum, the Woordfees’ visual art division that provides artists with the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work; and the natural beauty surrounding the town which not only inspires landscape artists but everyone who wants to create art.”
Gouws also had some sobering, but constructive advice for artists hoping to make a living from their work.
“Something will only sell if there is someone willing to pay the price for it. An artist’s opportunity costs (the loss of value or benefit incurred by engaging in an activity, relative to engaging in an alternative activity offering a higher return in value or benefit) and own view of his value are largely irrelevant. Plato said that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. In this instance, the beholder is the potential buyer. One can be philosophical about what constitutes value, but in practical terms the value of an art work, as with most other things, is the price that somebody is willing to pay for it.
“It is true that only a small fraction of artists become really wealthy. A larger proportion of artists will do well financially, but the majority will merely get by. But most are happy with that. They are doing what they want to do. They are not driven by money.”
“Creativity at SU is booming and the first Alumni Exhibition at Die Stal is proof of that. It was indeed an honour to launch this exhibition with Ilse Schermers and Anne-Ghrett Coetzee. The standard is high, but we are looking forward to even more exhibitions by talented alumni,” said Pieter Swart, Director: Major Gifts and Transformational Giving and the driving force behind this exhibition.
It is envisaged that the Alumni Art Exhibition will become an annual event.
The Alumni Clubhouse at Die Stal, inspired by Karen Bruns, Senior Director: Development and Alumni Relations, will provide the first point of connection for all alumni when they return to the Stellenbosch campus. They can expect a welcoming environment that serves as a gateway to the alumni network and that fosters relationships. Information and informative resources will also be on hand, and alumni merchandise and memorabilia will be on offer at the retail store. Campus tours will also start and end there.
“We plan on hosting a variety of social and professional networking events. This can include book launches, guest lectures, small alumni reunions, major alumni events such as Homecoming, residence sport, Varsity Cup, graduation celebrations and our annual Welcoming Day for first-years,” said Bruns.
- The Alumni Art Exhibition is open to the public from 9 November to 31 January 2022, Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 15:00.