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Kirstenbosch Botanical Art Biennale 2010 focuses on rare and

endangered species

Chiliza S.B._Kalancsoe luciae subsp.luciae

Kirstenbosch Botanical Art Biennale 2010 focuses on rare and endangered species
Now in its tenth year the established Kirstenbosch Botanical Art Biennale has become a
well 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 September
at 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 species
indigenous to southern Africa.

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) recently launched the
new Red List of South African Plants, an evaluation of the conservation status of
species 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 to
highlight and stimulate interest about the plight of these plants to the public.

The theme provides an invigorating artistic challenge and encourages artists to build
relationships with conservation organisations, scientists, artists and horticulturists

The exhibition, which was the brainchild of Merle Huntley, wife of previous SANBI
Director Professor Brian Huntley, has become one of the highlights on the Botanical
calendar and without 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 our
natural heritage. Whilst the paintings are complex the viewer is drawn into the simple
beauty of the plants that surround us and visitors will appreciate the detail that the artist
has to render.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens has long been a centre for the study and
appreciation of plants and, through its national and international affiliations, artists have
been assisted with material, (where possible) lists of growers and flowering times of
chosen 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 introducing
ceramics, tapestry and embroidery and the work of renowned artists working on the
themes of conservation and destruction of the environment.

The selection process of the botanical art submitted is rigorous and the panel of judges
is 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 Christopher
Peter, John Manning, botanist at SANBI and Professor Keith Dietrich, Head of Visual
Arts at Stellenbosch University.

There has been a distinct revival of interest in Botanical art in recent years which is
reflected 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 whilst also showing the
extraordinary 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 of
different artistic media.

New to the Biennale is a youth programme encouraging high school pupils to enter an
art competition and the public will be able to view and purchase beautifully made
ceramic pots made by the ceramicists from Light from Africa (a non profit organisation
based at Constantia Nek) and filled with succulents. In addition,
Ardmore Ceramics from KwaZulu Natal are preparing an exquisite range of their highly
original pieces for the occasion which will include beautiful evocations of local flora and
associated pollinators.
Finally, the artists from the Keiskamma art project who produced the tapestry now
hanging in the Constitutional Court, will be making unique wall hangings featuring the
rare and endangered plants of the Eastern Cape and including the flora found in the
different regions of the Eastern Cape such as the estuaries and wetlands.

Barbara Pick - aloe Dichotoma (Vulnerable)

Carol Reddick - Nymphaea nouchali var caerulea Kruger Park
Barbara Pick - Ochna Pulchra
Chiliza S.B. _Aloe arborescens Mill
Chiliza S.B._Gasteria bicolor var.liliputana
Chiliza S.B._ Plectranthus oertendahlii
Ebraime Hull_Haemanthus canaliculatus
Ebraime Hull_Liparia splendensssp comantha
Ebraime Hull_Mimetes hirtus
Ebraime Hull_Witsenia maura
Garth McQuillan - Conophytum fulleri
Gillian Condy - Erythrina Acanthocarpus (Narrow Endemic)
Gillian Condy - Erythrina Decora
Gillian condy - Erythrina Latissima NFS
Linda Hampson
Lynda de Wet - Protea cynaroides
Pat Bowerbank1