From Spier's public spaces to displays in the Manor House and wine shop, art is as much part of Spier as good food and fine wine is. Its collection of contemporary South African art is one of the largest of its kind in the country. These are five more must-see artworks on the farm:
6. Wild Dogs I and Wild Dogs II by Liza Grobler in collaboration with Qubeka Bead Studio
Location: Walkway between Eight Restaurant and the organic Werf Cellar.
Beads on board, 1 150 x 1 950 mm
Grobler blurs the traditions of craft and fine art, breathing new life into discarded, mass-produced materials through traditional craft techniques like crochet, beading and weaving. Her work explores the tangible qualities of materials and the connections between people, artworks and the world around us; her installations creating dialogues with the spaces in which they are displayed. The viewer is encouraged to travel with her into an imaginary world where fact and fiction become one, everything is in flux, and anything is possible.
The Qubeka Bead Studio is a self-sufficient, owned entirely by the bead artists themselves. Currently run by three dynamic artists and businesswomen – Neliswa Skiti, Mandisa Masina and Nolababalo Kanku – it collaborates with professional fine artists to produce signature works
7. Ouroboros by Bronwyn Lace
Location: River Walk
Rhinoceros skeleton, steel, steel cable
Ouroboros is the ancient Egyptian symbol of the serpent eating its own tail. For her artwork, Lace used a donated skeleton of a rhinoceros killed some years ago during a lightning storm in the Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng. Through a process of dismantling the bones and reconfiguring them (using steel and steel cable), she has created a newly articulated skeleton – an artwork that embodies ancient symbolic meaning – eternity, infinity and rebirth which stands in stark contrast to what we are currently witnessing in relation to the rhinoceros, an animal soon to find itself on the extinction list.
The rhino has found her final resting place at Spier. At midday, the shadow cast strongly resembles the snake – and, as snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing.
8. Songsmith (The Great Karoo)
Location: Next to the dam at the wine tasting room
Interactive sound sculptures, stones
Artist Jenna Burchell has transformed pieces of ancient rocks into twelve interactive sound sculptures. The collections in the three part series are named after three geographic locations where rare and significant prehistoric events occurred: The Cradle of Humankind, Vredefort Dome, and the Great Karoo.
9. Night of the Mongrels by David Koloane
Location: Tamboers Lounge in the Conference Center
Oil on canvas
Koloane often uses a dog as a metaphor in his work, as in the case of this work. The artist was born in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, and was instrumental in the founding of the Bag Factory, a collection of artists’ studios in Fordsburg.
“My work can be said to reflect the socio-political landscape of South Africa both past and present,” he says. “The socio-political conditions created by the apartheid system of government have to a large extent transfixed the human condition as the axis around which my work evolves.”
10. The Mosaic Kraal by Various artists
Location: Near Wine Collection Point
The Spier Mosaic Kraal features the works of 16 contemporary South African artists including Selvin November, Lindile Magunya and Pierre Fouché.
In close consultation with each artist, the images were interpreted as mosaic artworks by apprentices of the Spier Arts Academy (which offers employment-based training in professional mosaic and ceramic in Cape Town).
Taking an average of two months to produce, each mosaic artwork was crafted by one leader and four apprentices – in total, a group of 25. They used a variety of natural and man-made materials to bring these images to life in mosaic form.
While the Kraal doesn’t have a specific theme, together the artworks illustrate the variety and vibrancy of mosaic as a medium – a contemporary African reinvention of this ancient European art form.
Find more must-see artworks at Spier here.