Captivated by nature

Octayvia Nance

ART lovers in Port Elizabeth will be able to experience Namaqualand in bloom without leaving the city as the Alliance Française presents a photographic exhibition capturing the beauty of nature.

The exhibition, titled Namaqualand Colours, opens at noon today.

It is a group photography exhibition of Namaqualand’s famous spring veld flowers in bloom by Laurence Savary, with help from Siegfried Schafer and Steven Smuts.

“My project in Port Elizabeth is a fusion of my recent (2011-2012) art findings, exploring new uses of photography.

“Namaqualand Colours is a portfolio of the natural beauty captured during Namaqualand blooming season last year by two visitors and myself and curated to share our experience in a photography exhibition,” Savary said.

“Returning from a nature camp in Namaqualand, I found that macro photography guided our interest to understand the botanical functionalities of flowers.

“Plant colours, shapes and textures for insect pollination fascinated us. Also interesting about them was wind protection and water retention to survive in the desert climate,” she added.

The exhibition features 60 prints of Namaqualand plants.

It is a colour-structured layout which reveals colour as a tool to make connections.

Savary moved to South Africa in 1994 and started photography in 2011. She began to explore different uses of photography in 2012.

“Photography allows us to capture, transport and display beauty far from its source.

“Through the sharing our travel experiences and inspiring people who have not yet visited Namaqualand, we can promote tourism,” Savary said.

“I trust this development will empower the potential photographer in all of us to share the beauty we capture,” she said.

Her new uses of photography were summarised in four stages: to capture and share Cape beauty; to use colours to call spiritual messages into life; to inspire artists, and to develop tourism.

Alliance Française communications officer Sandra Jeannin said the idea was to share the artists’ journey through Namaqualand, without leaving Nelson Mandela Bay.

“NMMU botany professor Richard Cowling, author of Namaqualand, a Succulent Desert, will lead art lovers like they are on a visit,” Jeannin said.

“Guests will be invited to title pictures, provide anecdotes about them and associate positive messages with colours.

“Artists attending will be given the opportunity to interpret and perform Namaqualand photography into their art,” she said.

Savary’s work will be showcased for two weeks.

“On Monday, her work will be joined with ceramics creations and decor inspired by the botanical photographic exhibition.”

The five ceramists who are set to participate are Lisa Walker, Lee Hensberg, Bianca Whitehead, Billie McNaughton and Delphine Niez, Jeannin said.

From August 17 to 24 the ceramists’ works on display can be purchased.

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