New art studio set to boost St Francis Bay

Louise Liebenberg

NATURE’S INSPIRATION: Artists and nature lovers Gerda Hamm, left, and Annelene Terblanche have started a gallery and studio together
      CAPTIVATING WORK: This oil painting titled ‘Wild Side Lilies’,  by Gerda Hamm, is one of the works on exhibition at  Inside Art,  St Francis Bay’s new gallery and studio
CAPTIVATING WORK: This oil painting titled ‘Wild Side Lilies’, by Gerda Hamm, is one of the works on exhibition at Inside Art, St Francis Bay’s new gallery and studio

Gerda Hamm and Annelene Terblanche both previously worked from home in Cape St Francis, but said they experienced few opportunities to share their work locally.

This led to the establishment of Inside Art, which officially opened this month.

“The idea of creating and exhibiting in a singular space was generated by the desire to work in a communally inspired and productive environment,” said Terblanche, who was born in Uitenhage and has lived in Cape St Francis for four years.

She said the village had been a part of her family heritage for many years and so it seemed fitting to make it her home after completing her BTech in Fine Art Painting at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

Hamm, a landscape artist whose formal training was at Pretoria’s acclaimed Pro Arte School, added: “We’re both also keen hikers and it was during our many hikes, including in the Baviaanskloof, that this idea began to take shape.”

The space would serve as a creative environment allowing the community and patrons to interact with the artists and observe the progress of various projects, the two said.

The inaugural exhibition, which opened two weeks ago and may be viewed until the end of this month, shows a selection of oil paintings by the two.

“The response to the work has been wonderful,” Hamm said. “Quite a few people came to the opening, we’ve secured several commissions and have even had inquiries for lessons.

“As we complete work in the studio it will go onto the walls, so the art and space will be constantly evolving,” Hamm said.

Her passion for art and nature collided at the age of five when she completed her first oil painting – a garden scene with lizards, frogs and an aloe.

Today, she is still frequently outdoors studying nature and “recreating its moods and moments”.

“Since moving to the Eastern Cape seven years ago, I have found inspiration in the local land and seascapes,” Hamm said.

Terblanche, who also cultivated a passion for painting, drawing and sculpting from a young age, said she was activated by the “expanse of flawless environment and fresh air on my doorstep”.

Her most recent paintings have also found inspiration in the captivating movement of horses.

During her studies, Terblanche focussed primarily on themes concerning the primordial cycle of human life and death – “how we are put together and how we come apart”.

She has recently also been experimenting with non-figurative land- and seascapes.

Both artists are exploring new textures, methods and mediums and their future exhibits will also include drawings, prints and sculpture.

The Inside Art Studio and Gallery is in St Francis Drive, St Francis Bay. Gallery hours are from 9am to 4pm on weekdays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Contact Gerda on 082-574-2942 and Annelene on 072-483-8351.

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