Painting a way back to nature

On the 14th July, I received an email proposing a joint venture between an art gallery and Greenpeace Africa. The email suggested that an artist exhibiting there, Mr. Arie Vogelsang, intended to give all the proceeds from selling his art to Greenpeace Africa as a donation.

Of course, I immediately contacted the gallery to find out more, to start working on the details then the logistics.  The opening night of the exhibition was less than two weeks away and we had a lot of planning to do.  This is a generous donation for us and we wanted to make sure we could start working together as soon as possible.

Finally, on the 6th August I made my way to the scenic town of Muizenberg, just twenty minutes from Cape Town (not before my GPS led me in circles for two hours!), to meet the coordinators of the gallery and with the artist himself.  During my time at Greenpeace I have met with many kinds of people, scientists, doctors, socialites and Executive Directors among others.     I have never been so humbly touched by their ideas and thoughts concerning Greenpeace, the world and environment that they see as I was with Arie.  I picked him up outside “theWhite SPACE” art gallery at 1 pm and took him to a quaint sea-side restaurant in the town. Right from the start I knew I was about to meet someone who would change my view of the world forever and who would re-inspire my dedication to our earth. 

Mr. Vogelsang was born in Holland, but came to South Africa very early on in life.  He married Heleen and had four children who now live in Pretoria, Canada and America respectively.  His first exhibition was held at Gallery 101 in Johannesburg, which was followed by a few more, until he finally exhibited at the prestigious Hoffer Gallery in Pretoria, in 1987.  

When he first told White SPACE of his plans to donate the proceeds of his exhibition to Greenpeace they supported his effort.  We spoke of his life and how he has watched Greenpeace tackle issues most people wouldn’t have the courage to do, and how he related to the environment that surrounds him.  He expressed such an intense connection to the life of the planet saying that as we move forward and develop as humans, so should our ideas of the world we share with plants, animals and the earth.

Arie has found a new dedication now, as he prepares to travel the coast line and then further North into Johannesburg and Pretoria, holding exhibitions and donating to Greenpeace Africa.  This, he says, will be his new cause. 

The opening of the Arie Vogelsang “Still Nature” exhibition, named because of his ideology that no matter what happens we always need to come back to nature, is his first exhibition in many years and the first of many to come. The exhibition was widely attended by local artist groups and individuals.  It is a beautiful gallery, simple in design, and attractive.  Arie’s work which ranged from scenic views of the Highveld, Cape Town city at sunrise and the thundering ocean was truly magnificent.  I urge everyone to go to his exhibition and find yourself inspired. The show runs for another three weeks before closing. For more information visit www.whitespace.withtank.com   and Arie’s page www.ariev-art.co.za  or you can talk to one of the coordinators:  Haroun on 082 2599 098.