A bottomless buffet, free wifi and a vibey shisha lounge at Café Extrablatt
Worldart Gallery in Cape Town Proves That Size Doesn’t Matter
The small creative space that’s a big platform for urban contemporary artists
Small things can have a big impact. For example:
1. Believe it or not, termites may affect global warming (it has something to do with the methane they omit).
2. A tiny espresso shot can take you from a zombie-like state to a fully functional human being.
3. Christina Aguilera is a mere 1.57 meters tall but possesses a powerful 4-octave voice.
Similarly, the Worldart Gallery in Cape Town may be small in scale, but it seems to be having a big influence on the Mother City art scene by championing and focusing on urban contemporary art.
“Traditionally, it is the type of art that hasn’t been given the credit it deserves, and not many galleries are into it. From a personal perspective, I just love history, my hobby is history and I am always curious about that stuff and this art is just another form of that expression, and it isn’t afraid to make commentary on South African history,” says Bellville- born Charl Bezuidenhout, who owns and runs the space.
The crisp and wonderfully minimalist venue, which opened in 2004 and boasts a regularly changing programme of exhibitions, is located on Cape Town’s picturesque Church Street – a leafy, quirky side street just off of Long Street. Amidst the cobblestoned lane’s clutch of antique stalls and vintage vendors, Worldart prides itself on showcasing new and forward-thinking work by up-and-coming artists, including abstract portrait artist Dion Cupido, internationally acclaimed street artist Kilmany-Jo Liversage and evocative stencil and oil artist Khaya Witbooi amongst others.
“These artists’ work is what makes the world exciting, and that exposure to new and young energy makes life enjoyable,” asserts Charl.
Charl’s passion for art is obvious from the way Worldart operates; he runs the gallery himself along with one assistant and is involved in every aspect of the business, from finding the artists to marketing both their work and the gallery itself to working the gallery floor.
Not to mention, Charl is also focused on discovering up-and-coming creatives and both introducing them to the Mother City art scene and art lovers to their work.
And while his enthusiasm is all but contagious, he also doesn’t impress his perspectives on others: “I’m simply exposing you to painters that I’ve fallen in love with, and talking about it, discussing it with people who come in. It’s up to you to make the decision and find what you like. I’m not selling used cars here; you have to live with this painting and love it too.”
Needless to say, Worldart isn’t about walking in and simply buying a piece for the sake of it, but rather it’s about spending time immersed in spectacular South African art and going home with something special from a special street in Cape Town.
So while the gallery may not be as big the Stevensons and Brundyn+s of the world and faces competition from new venues that seem to pop up as frequently as Vida e Caffes, Charl is confident that Worldart has found its niche in the industry. Furthermore, he maintains that his “little gallery” doesn’t pose a threat to the bigger establishments, and can be considered as the “Switzerland” of Cape Town art galleries because he doesn’t “piss them off”.
And should an altercation of sorts occur, well we all know what happens when the smaller underdog is underestimated - David and Goliath, anyone?
2015 EXHIBITION SCHEDULE AT WORLDART GALLERY IN CAPE TOWN
2 April – 1 May: Rooiwolf’s exhibition, titled Leg’kaarte, consists of a series of prints featuring surrealist abstract forms and spaces. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition.
7 – 30 May: A solo exhibition featuring new works from Black Koki, who is known for his illustrative design work on different mediums.
4 – 29 June: Group exhibition titled Street Level and curated by Andrew Lamprecht. A selection of work interpreting the genre urban contemporary art by Cape Town-based artists.
2 – 31 July: Solo exhibition by Lady Skollie, illustrator and gender activist.
6 – 28 August: First solo exhibition by exciting young Claude Chandler, a top 40 national finalist for SPI National Portrait Award.
3 - 25 September: Solo exhibition by Kimathi Mafafo. A unique interpretation of the floral still life for this artist’s first solo exhibition.
1 - 30 October: Solo exhibition with Catherine Ocholla, who is known to incorporate humour and wit in her work.
3– 27 December: Solo exhibition featuring Khaya Witbooi’s edgy, urban stencil and street art -influenced paintings with an African edge.
TIP: Worldart participates in First Thursdays, so be sure to pop in and check out work by edgy artists, sip some vino and bop your head to some great tunes (the gallery sometimes hosts a DJ as well). Be sure to follow the gallery on Twitter (@WorldartSA) and Instagram (@worldartgallery) for updates.
Watch a sculptor in action at Donald Greig’s Gallery at the V&A Waterfront.
View prolific Cape Town artist Norman O’Flynn’s powerful images in this online art exhibition.
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