After months of restrictions that have seen South Africans craving the chance to get out and about, current lockdown measures allow for excursions to resume once again. An outing to the beautiful Riebeek Valley to soak up art, wine, good food, and artisanal wares is a must for Capetonians looking to take a short road trip.

From July 9, an exciting new solo art exhibition entitled “Grounded” will be on show at the RK Contemporary gallery in Riebeek Kasteel and features the works of renowned local artist Jenny Parsons.

All of the paintings in Parsons’ Grounded exhibition were painted during lockdown and were initially inspired after a trip to India and the many temple gardens found here. “My paintings explore the significance of the garden as a place of refuge from the outside world. For many people gardens have been an important part of their lives since childhood, holding happy memories of playing games such as hide and seek, tea parties, building tree houses and much more,” says Parsons.

“Once the reality of the virus sank in I battled to paint and the only place I could find refuge during lockdown was in my garden – a space that helped calm my rising depression and anxiety, caused by the global pandemic. Working in my garden I was able to ground myself and gain a new perspective of a changing world – my garden helped me to return to my easel.”

Astrid McLeod, owner and curator of RK Contemporary, advises that this will be the first time that she is conducting a physical art exhibit since lockdown began, having done all the exhibitions since March as online offerings.

“I am extremely excited to hang these stunning paintings by Jenny Parsons on the walls of the gallery, bringing them to life once again, and to be welcoming visitors back to RK Contemporary and indeed the Riebeek Valley – where there is so much to see and do, particularly for art enthusiasts. The Grounded exhibition will also be available to view online for those who don’t wish to visit just yet.”

Riebeek Kasteel has been dubbed the “Arts Town” due to the fact that a colony of acclaimed artists, poets, writers and actors have made their homes here – a development which has seen arts tourism become a booming form of industry in this predominantly agricultural area. In fact, the valley plays host to one of the premier annual art events in the country, Solo Studios, which due to Covid-19 was unfortunately postponed this year from its usual August slot in the events calendar. “Excitingly, discussions are in place to possibly hold the event in December 2020, with all necessary safety measures being implemented to ensure a safe and successful event. Organisers are assessing additional options such as taking Solo Studios online and making it a virtual art event. Watch this space!”

“With our local shops, wine cellars, bakeries and restaurants etc. now also allowed to welcome visitors once again, a visit to the Riebeek Valley is highly recommended. Added to this, the N7 highway from Cape Town is now a dual carriageway, making the drive out quick and comfortable.”

McLeod reiterates that all required hygiene protocols will be followed, social distancing will be adhered to, and visitors to the gallery are required to wear a mask at all times.

For more information and a compete catalogue of works on the Grounded exhibition by Jenny Parsons and on RK Contemporary art gallery click here. 

Picture: Facebook / RK Contemporary

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