Newsletter January 2012

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Sunday, 1st January 2012

The big news for February is going to be the Walter Battiss Exhibition at the Suidoosterfees in Capetown, starting 14th February. Thirty-three of the Battiss artworks, donated by Battiss to "the people of Somerset East" when the Walter Battiss Art Museum was opened in 1981; as well as photos; have been borrowed to take this unique collection to Capetown for the first time. This tribute to one of South Africa's most famous, iconic, and newsworthy artists comes thirty years after his death in 1982.

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With the Tourism office now situated in the Battiss Museum, and a lot of people passing through Somerset East East specifically to visit the Museum, it was of concern to suddenly find ourselves with a depleted collection. These concerns have been laid to rest, as, by judicious positioning of the artworks remaining, and by displaying the wealth of family memorabilia and photographs which was sent to the Battiss Museum by his adoring sister, Doreen Eaton, the gaps in the Museum have been adequately filled.

Artworks donated at the time of the opening, and at a later stage, by friends and colleagues of Battiss are now fully utilised. The six drawings and etchings by Battiss's pupil and friend Zakkie Eloff, mainly of wildlife, make a wonderful display on an upstairs wall. Two oils by Maud Sumner, donated by the artist after Battiss's death, are a very important part of the guest artist collection. The bronze by Sidney Kumalo, donated by Linda Goodman, as well as the bronze head by Phil Kolbe would be an asset in any art museum.

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Items such as the bench, and the two elegant chairs made by Battiss's grandfather in 1858 from Zuurberg stinkwood; and Battiss's mother's desk, add interest to the Museum, and any Battiss enthusiasts who visit the museum while part of the collection is away on loan will not be disappointed.

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