Centre goes green with French flair

Thulani Gqirana

A RUSTIC-LOOKING Green Focus exhibition at Richmond Hill’s Alliance Francaise aims to show ordinary people that being eco-friendly is not only cool, but doable.

The exhibition, which includes green architecture, a durable stage made of pallets, insulation and an indoor ceramic garden with living art, is an extension of World Environment Day.

Last year, the Alliance Francaise extended the celebrations to a week-long programme and this year they decided to make the Green Focus a month-long initiative.

Eight Eastern Cape female artists worked on the ceramics exhibition, each creating an indoor garden.

Alliance Francaise’s Kevin Kimwelle said all the pieces were created just for the occasion, to show that going green can be beautiful. “Green Focus is a month of green initiatives, which started on the 5th, with a music festival this weekend to be the highlight. The festival itself is going to focus on green living.”

Kimwelle said they had quite an extensive programme in place for the month, which included talks on “going green”, exhibitions and film screenings.

“It’s a great and innovative way to create awareness, free of charge. We want people to come and be motivated to do this at home. All this green work is a statement, it’s making people realise that they can and should recycle,” he said.

Kimwelle, who is in charge of the Indalo Portfolio at the Alliance Francaise, said it was the first time they had had exhibitions of this scale.

Indalo, which means nature, is a sustainable development project initiated by the Alliance Francaise of Port Elizabeth which aims to reduce their carbon footprint to serve as an example for the Alliance’s members and students.

“The women who put this together are incredible. They came in, power tools in hand, and just knocked it all together.”

The indoor gardens, which are created mostly from recycled material, include a variety of low-maintenance plants and herbs. The pieces, which include vertical herb gardens made from plastic bottles, are all for sale.

The indoor garden exhibition was created in a tranquil, fairytale-like setting that was sectioned off into corners for artists to showcase their living art.

Artists Donve Branch and Nicole Langston put together a towering exhibition of succulent balls for either side of the door, which is meant to maximise daily succulence and create a space bursting with joy and life.

Lynnley Watson’s quiet windowsill pieces are to encourage one to have an environment for contemplation, created with low- maintenance cacti and succulents.

Margie Higgs’s Zen-inspired red table has clean lines that are meant to signify a trail of beauty. Lydia Holmes’s living chair and chandelier are an invitation for one to “take a load off” and relax.

The Green Focus programme ends on Saturday and entry to the exhibitions is free.

The Alliance Francaise is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 5.30pm.

Leave a Reply