Abe Opperman has been inspiring us with his whimsical artwork for years, and now we have the pleasure of seeing his work whenever we want. At the beginning of February, Abe opened his second gallery right here in the Mother City. We caught up with the incredibly talented artist ahead of his opening to find out about his work, what inspires him and all about the Abe Opperman Gallery.
Firstly congrats on the success of your Joburg gallery and the opening of your gallery in CT. How are you feeling about the opening?
Thank you very much. We are extremely excited and exhilarated to be here, we have wanted to exhibit in Cape Town for a very long time and very grateful for the opportunity to finally have a space in this beautiful city.
What made you decide to open a gallery in Cape Town?
We have had a long time love for Cape Town, the city is alive with youthful energy and its nature is a powerful presence which is an inspiration to me.
What are your expectations for the new gallery?
We hope that we will enjoy the same interest and success we have in our Johannesburg gallery and it provides us with a platform to share the art with a broader and international market.
You have created new work specifically for the Cape Town gallery titled “Traces of time” – can you tell us a little about the work and why you decided to exhibit it in the new gallery? Cape Town has always provided me with the luxury of regenerating my energy levels, its immense natural beauty has a very powerful calming effect on my consciousness. It is here that I became aware of our imprisoned minds, imprisoned by time and how the debris of time has left traces on our consciousness.
Even thought you painted your whole life, and studied fine art, you chose floristry as a career. When did you decide to pursue art more professionally?
I initially displayed a few pieces in my shop which attracted a lot of positive comment and interest. This encouraged me to have my first exhibition in 2010 and have been blessed to exhibit annually with good success.
How did you feel during your first exhibition in 2010 and when you opened your first gallery in Joburg?
I was extremely nervous in 2010 and the nerves don’t disappear over time. I bare my soul with each exhibition, which is a very intimidating and vulnerable experience. Opening the gallery in Johannesburg was also an intimidating risk and endeavour as there are many amazing galleries in Joburg but it has been very well received and I am very grateful.
You have said that growing up in the Free State and the beautiful scenery have greatly influenced your outlook on life; has this outlook changed or evolved over the years, and has this affected your work?
My outlook very seldom changes while my perspective and understanding has matured over time. My observations and perceptions of our trapped minds saddens me and I use my art to escape and give whoever observes my art a chance to escape with me.
You once said that you store your childhood memories for years and then reproduce the shadows of those images; is there anything that triggers or inspires those memories that lead you to create?
Most definitely, memories may be triggered by having a conversation with someone, a vista, music, road trips to beloved places like the Karoo and exploring cities like Paris and Cape Town.
What do you hope people will get out of your work?
Joy and connection
What’s next for you?
Share more of my love and life in your beautiful city, Cape Town.