The Hermanus First Fridays (HFF) Artwalk made a comeback last week, six months after the last one on 6 March, before the Covid-19 lockdown put a lid on all events and social gatherings. “So many people told us how much they’d missed the Artwalk and how happy they were that HFF was back,” said Liz Coates, chairperson of the HFF committee, who was also doing duty at Rossouw Modern on Friday.
“It went better than expected in terms of feet, even if it was a little more subdued than normal. The atmosphere was not quite as festive as it was pre-lockdown, but we are glad that everyone was respectful of the rules, wore their masks and avoided crowding,” Liz added. There was a noticeable absence of visitors and especially foreign tourists, but the HFF gallery owners expressed their gratitude to the local artwalkers for their support.
“We had a steady trickle of people and everyone just seemed excited to be out and about again,” said Ian Macdonald of Lembu Gallery. “It was great to see so many familiar faces and no one complained that no snacks or wine were served. They also did not seem to mind wearing masks or having their hands sanitised.”
Terry Kobus agreed and said a steady flow of artwalkers were welcomed at Originals Gallery, despite the chilly weather. “It was definitely a step in the right direction, although I think it will take time for people to get back their confidence when it comes to going out. This will happen as the weather improves and a sense of normality slowly returns.”
One of the artwalkers who visited Originals was little Emily Oosthuizen, who was the lucky winner of the September HFF mask competition. The prize was one of Terry’s portraits of iconic figures in masks. (What a lucky girl!) “It’s never too early to start your art collection!” quipped Terry. He has also resumed his popular bookbinding workshops at his studio in Vermont, with a maximum of four people participating over two days – on the first Wednesday and Thursday of every month. For more information, Terry can be contacted on 083 259 8869 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leon Müller of Art Thirst hosted his annual September art auction on Friday, and art lovers were able to place their bids until 13:00 on Saturday. His gallery in High Street was very busy during the artwalk and his auction was just as successful as in previous years, he said. “It was a wonderful evening and we had a great turn-out, even with all the roadworks taking place right in front of the gallery.” Artwalkers still negotiated the booby traps to get to Art Thirst, where they were welcomed by the warmth of a roaring fireplace and glühwein on tap.
“Like most of the other artists, I sold many works online during the lockdown,” said Leon, “but it was great to see people interacting with my work in person again, and to see their faces, even when hidden behind a mask.” Leon had many new works on display, so he must have kept himself very busy during the lockdown. He also used that time to host art classes for children, which he says was a real eye-opener. “Those amazing children taught me so much more than I taught them,” he laughed. The classes were such a hit that he plans on hosting them every year during the winter months.
Artwalkers may have noticed the orange branded HFF masks worn by the gallery owners on Friday, and some even enquired if they were available for purchase. Well, the good news is that they are – and wouldn’t it be fun if we all wore them at the next Artwalk on 2 October? Just place your order at any HFF gallery or with chairperson Liz Coates by sending a WhatsApp to 072 367 4025. The cost is only R45 per mask, of which R5 will be donated towards the next Night of a Thousand Drawings charity artwalk in December. Charitable organisations in the Overstrand who would like to be considered as beneficiaries of the next Night of a Thousand Drawings, should send a motivational letter to Liz at email@example.com.