Monday, February 8, 2010

Celebrating Rural Africa and the Overberg

There is an Africa many of us never see, a rural Africa of rolling hills, savannah grasslands and tribal huts, where mighty beasts roam free. I am not referring to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo or rhino, but to the majestic Nguni cattle who wander across the undulating landscapes as they have done for centuries, grazing in the tranquil plains and valleys, where the only sounds are the twittering of the birds and the call of the herd-boys. There is a beauty in these rural scenes that many of us would remain oblivious to, if it wasn’t for modern day adventurer and talented artist, Terry Kobus.
Terry, who has his studio in Vermont, Hermanus has spent years visiting usually inaccessible places on his mountain bike, armed with a camera and sketch pad and studying the Nguni cattle that form an integral part of African culture. Terry is fascinated by these gentle and resilient animals with their intricately patterned hides and loves the way the sunlight emphasizes their bony forms. He transforms his adventures with the Nguni in the grasslands and beaches of South Africa into breathtaking paintings that capture a moment in time so vividly that the viewer can almost hear the thudding of their hooves and the rustling of the wind.

Terry paints in a distinctive style on wood or canvas, applying thin veils of paint and gently adding layer upon layer of paint, smoothing, manipulating and feathering it to create the desired effect. His completed works are magnificent and seem to talk to the viewer, evoking an emotional nostalgic response. It is almost as if he takes you with him, into the fields of Africa to stand beside the mighty Nguni and to share in the culture which he wants so dearly to uphold.
Terry was born in Zimbabwe and his parents instilled in him a belief that passion equals excellence and that if you love what you do, you will succeed. Terry certainly took heed of these wise words and is a passionate artist who is consumed by his art. He loses himself in a painting as a result of the intensity with which he connects with his subject - this passion and enthusiasm is strikingly evident in his finished work.

He renders his beautiful paintings in his peaceful, light-filled studio in Vermont, surrounded by panoramic views of fynbos covered mountains on the one side and the sparkling Atlantic on the other. Since he has moved to our “small town, with a big heart,” as he calls it, he wakes up every day excited to paint. Terry has extended his subject matter and has found inspiration in the beauty of the Overberg, capturing subjects like children playing on Onrus and Grotto Beach. These paintings are exquisite and evoke intense emotions in the viewer who can almost smell the sea air and hear the crying of the gulls and the laughter of the children.

Terry has just returned from a very successful exhibition, entitled Hermanus 2 Here at the prestigious Bamboo Gallery in Johannesburg, where his work was showcased alongside fellow Vermont artist Ed Bredenkamp. It was a fabulous exhibition which received rave reviews and was a total sell-out!

His work is displayed in the Bellini Gallery in Hermanus where his paintings hang in all their splendour, bringing the very essence of Africa and the Overberg to life.

Leigh Bouwer - Whale Talk Magazine - HERMANUS