Von Candy Collaborative in partnership with Christopher “Steam Punk” Smith created a feast for the eyes on July 27 at a local restaurant in Rynfield.
Artists from across the country were invited to be part of the art exhibition that celebrated the work of all ages, styles and eras.
Smith, who is a born-and-bred Benonian, saw a need to promote local talent.
However, according to him, the local art world is under attack by exorbitant fees.
He says exhibitors charge artists fees as high as 60 per cent to showcase their work.
Included in these fees are commissions and overhead fees that have to be paid to the relevant parties.
Seeing this as one of the biggest challenges stifling the growth of local artists, Smith and his team organised an event to exhibit artwork at the fraction of the cost.
This is to ensure the artists enjoy the full benefit of the exhibition and are able to earn a higher commission for work they produce, said Smith.
Artists of all ages were invited to exhibit on the night, at the function held at Jerry’s Cafe. They ranged from professionals such as Norbet Schling to newcomers like Ricollin Moodley.
Moodley (17), who was accompanied by his mother to the event, creates art pieces in order to support his family, which has incurred many financial hardships.
“The idea behind art is to evoke emotion,” said Smith
“But at the same time, some individuals need to be able to make a living from their work because this is their livelihood.
“Take Ricollin, for example.
“He has talent and also needs to support his family.
“This is why we say that exhibition fees should be much lower.”
Smith, a bladesmith by profession, said that although his craft helps pay the bills, he is highly intrigued by Steam Punk and the works of art that can be produced from it.
He explained that Steam Punk was inspired by the Victorian age. Although it is not entirely a new concept, it does have a substantial amount of growth to cover in South Africa.
A singer and belly dancers formed part of the entertainment on the night.
Art lovers and artists alike were served a three-course meal. They stood around the bonfire to keep the chill factor away so that they could relish the artwork on display.
Smith, whose work has become a national wonder, said he hopes to host such events on a regular basis (once every two months) in a bid to see more artists gaining the recognition he says they so rightly deserve.
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