Since announcing the cancellation of FynArts 2020 in its usual form on 27 March, Festival Director Mary Faure and the FynArts committee have continued to work tirelessly behind the scenes with performers, artists and other partners to develop creative ways of conceptualising this popular festival within the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We’ll be launching the programme for Hermanus FynArts Select 2020 as soon as possible – a programme of selected virtual events, both recorded and livestreamed, which will be offered during the festival dates of 5 – 16 June. As soon as possible after that, we’re also looking at presenting a few stimulating and uplifting FynArts Select weekends at a later stage. Many of the events that are not possible to bring to the festival this year, for logistical and other reasons, will be included in the 2021 programme.”

The other good news, says Mary, is that all the planned exhibitions will go ahead and that the artists are hard at work during the lockdown. If necessary, this will be in a limited and virtual format during the festival dates, with the actual exhibitions taking place during FynArts Select weekends as soon as the country has moved down to Level 1 of the lockdown. “In the meantime we will keep in touch and bring you news of the artists, performers and presenters on this year’s excellent programme.”

While more information about the dates and content of these events will follow once the future is a little clearer, Mary is also delighted to announce that the 2020 Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award and exhibition will go ahead this year when South Africa has reached Level 1 of the lockdown. “This decision has been made possible by the support and kindness of our loyal and generous sponsors who have once again graciously offered their private cellar as the exhibition venue for this year,” says Mary. “We are deeply grateful.”

The theme for the 2020 competition, Biomimicry, is both topical and relevant as it encourages artists to think about what we can learn – or maybe should have learnt – from nature to solve human challenges. This timeous topic, with a focus on sustainability, resilience and regeneration, was chosen by Peter Finlayson. “Throughout history artists have interrogated national and global events and provided comment, insight and interpretation through their art,” says Mary. “Biomimicry is proving to be the ideal theme as we all work our way through, and try to make sense of, this global pandemic.”

In previous years, the exhibition of the finalists’ tondo artworks has always taken place in the working wine cellar at Bouchard Finlayson and has remained open until the end of September, when the barrels are filled with the new season’s wine.

“The timing for the exhibition could no longer be guaranteed due to the logistical implications of social distancing and uncertainty around how long this restriction would remain in place. It would therefore be premature for us to set a date for both the submission of entries and judging, but we will keep everyone updated as South Africa moves down through Levels 4 to 1,” says Mary. “In the very unlikely event that Level 1 is not reached this year the theme, Biomimicry, will remain for 2021.”

Mary expresses her deepest gratitude to the loyal support of all the FynArts sponsors who have made FynArts possible over the past seven years, and especially the Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award and Strauss & Co Series of Talks. Pioneer Freight is the new sponsor for Sculpture on the Cliffs. “We particularly wish to thank Pioneer Freight, who, in their first year of partnering with us, will continue as the headline sponsor of this major exhibition despite this very uncertain time,” says Mary.

“Last but not least I’d like to thank and acknowledge our excellent artists, musicians, speakers and presenters who, even at this time of great hardship for so many, have agreed to move onward and upward together with FynArts. We look forward to welcoming festivalgoers to the FynArts Select 2020 line-up of exhibitions and virtual events.”

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