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Art & Design Flourishing in Cape Town

BY Lisa Lindblad

October 29, 2018

Cape Town is one of the world’s great cities.  The setting alone is worthy of top billing.  And then you have a vibrant culinary scene, a fascinating flora and fauna representative of its microclimate, a diverse population and the logistical advantage that makes it a gateway for visits to the wine lands, to the garden route and north into the bush.  In spite of the aforementioned, what makes me vibrate with anticipation in Cape Town is its flourishing art and design scene, its world class museums and galleries, its artisans, many of them passionately committed to ensuring that hand and design skills endure.  The person who knows as much about this sector of the Capetonian landscape is Marion Ellis whose company, Cape Insights, designs whole or partial itineraries that feature – among other subject matter – the flourishing arts of the city.  Marion’s knowledge has both the breadth and depth to take you on a meandering journey across the media – from paintings and ceramics to photography and art installations –  and behind the scenes to meet with collectors and artists, teachers and innovators.

array(1) { [0]=> object(WP_Post)#3050 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(8394) ["post_author"]=> string(2) "17" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-09-14 10:20:27" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-09-14 10:20:27" ["post_content"]=> string(1792) "[caption id="attachment_8395" align="alignnone" width="3024"] Honda Shoryu, Timber bamboo and rattan, 2000[/caption] There is a period missing in the timeline of human development, that of the Bamboo Age. Bamboo's widespread use since earliest times - particularly in East and Southeast Asia - elevates this extraordinary plant to almost mythic status.  It has been used as transport (wheeled vehicles), building material, food, weapon, musical instrument and, even, poison. For hundreds of years, simple, everyday utensils as well as refined bamboo vessels were made according to local traditions and techniques passed down from generation to generation. Most ubiquitous of all, perhaps, is the basket. It was not until the end of the 19th century that bamboo craftsmanship began to be recognized as one of the traditional Japanese decorative arts, and, later, as an art form.  As with other handmade arts in Japan, there were lineages of craftsmen who handed down techniques and developed their personal styles; Masters emerged, recognized as National Living Treasures. Six of these artists are represented in this stunning show of 90 baskets collected by Diane and Arthur Abbey since the 1990s.  The show comes to a close soon at the Met Museum. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="8396,8397"] FYI:  The 64th Japan Traditional Kogei - Art Crafts - Exhibition will take place at the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum between February 23 and March 11, 2018
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Bountiful, Beautiful Bamboo