The eagerly anticipated ‘Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters’ returns to the Riebeek Valley in August with what promises to be another highlight on the cultural calendar.
CALLING THE EVENT ‘Intimate Art Encounters’ means exactly what it says. Seventeen artists’ studios will be open to the public over the weekend of 18–20 August, with eight of these artists having invited external collaborators to co-exhibit in their personal spaces.
A further seven group exhibitions will be held at various galleries and venues, including two private art collections in exclusive guest houses. Spending time in the intimate spaces of the artists’ studios will offer pass-holders an insight into their processes and inspiration.
“We don’t merely sell art at Solo Studios. We sell an experience,” says Klaus Piprek, co-founder and director of Solo Studios. These experiences go much further than the visual arts. Apart from the art exhibitions, there is so much more to enjoy in what has become known as Arts Town Riebeek Valley, encompassing the twin towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West. Prepare to be lured away from your planned art route by the aromas wafting from a coffee shop, by the scent of essential oils from the locally produced botanical range or by a tantalising wine tasting at some of the most acclaimed Swartland wine producers.
“As always, the Riebeek Valley will put on its best dress in anticipation of the influx of art aficionados to this prestigious event and visitors can expect a host of venues offering food experiences and wine tastings,” says Shawn Hewitt, project manager for this year’s event. “Entertainers will flow onto the streets and pavements and creative community development projects will be showcased in plentiful fringe activities. Add to that the richness of local flavour from the olive producers, the abundance of restaurants, the village bakery and the profusion of craft and artisanal outlets.”
“The best way to fully appreciate what we have to offer is to make a whole weekend of it,” Klaus advises. “There’s simply not enough time in one day to fully absorb all that Solo Studios and the valley have to offer.”
The record-breaking ‘Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters’ event of 2022, with 183 art pieces sold, valued at R2.5 million, resulted in stiff competition to participate in this prestigious event. For the 2023 edition, 17 local artists were selected from the large number of worthy applications.
A highlight of this year’s event is a charity fundraising concert by the Winelands Philharmonic Orchestra and featuring the Riebeek Kasteel Steelband. Expect original compositions to form part of this collaboration!
World Film Premiere
MONOMANIA – 7 Chambers of Obsession
MONOMANIA is defined as possessing an exaggerated or obsessive enthusiasm for or preoccupation with a one topic. 7 Riebeek Valley based (past and present) artists were invited to produce a short film on their MONOMANIA, and the result is a diverse compilation covering topics from womanhood, sexuality and erotica; to poverty, mental illness and depression; to motion, artificial intelligence and literature. The 7 short films are woven into a collaborative production of 1 hour, making its world premiere at Solo Studios 2023.
In Plot’s Possession, Cristina Kirstein unveils the lighter depths of obsession; where we possess stories, and stories possess us.
Art fundi Tamzin Lovell-Miller tells a story of art and technology from the past into the future, through a combination of poetry and AI-generated art video, in Pixels and Poetry – A Journey into Art Technology.
Riaan van Zyl captures motion in his paintings, often depicting freeze frame-like imagery in his subject. In Eulogy to Motion, Riaan provides insight into his obsession with traditional film making and the influence it has on his art.
In My Beautiful Brein, the narrative of poet Donker Jonker provides a stark, disturbing view of disturbance of the mind.
TONG: Die Gekleurde Vrou is a collaborative production by The House of the Second Shadow, and explores “Womanhood, Sexuality and Poverty of Coloured Woman in B&W kaleidoscope and deconstructed video”.
For her 53rd birthday, Lean Bakker invited her friends to do this work with her. The gentle caresses of 26 hands activate the flow of Kundalini, life-force energy in her body. Sensation is about the movement of life-force.
Shugga produces Impassion: the ancient war within, exploring a theme of approaching darkness with holy reverence and the transformative nature of self-exploration.
Thought Leadership Talks
A recurring highlight of Solo Studios has been the inspiring talks by leaders in their respective fields. The 2023 edition promises to add to that legacy.
Tamzin Lovell-Miller is the founder and CEO of Artfundi, a software platform that empowers art businesses through technology. Tamzin presents two talks, namely Art and Technology: Transforming Cultural Life and the Future of Artists, and The Living Legacy of Uche Okeke: Bridging Past and Present in Artistic Expression.
Dr. Nicky Terblanche is an academic, researcher and entrepreneur. He has a master’s degree and PhD in Leadership Coaching and a master’s degree in electronic and software engineering. He is a Senior Lecturer in Coaching and Research at Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa where his research interests include leadership coaching with a focus on Artificial Intelligence Coaching. He also runs an executive and leadership coaching practice.
Nicky has published more than 30 research articles and book chapters and regularly presents at international conferences as keynote speaker. He is also the founder and CEO of the company CoachVici.com that creates AI Coaches for organisations and research lead at Ovida.org
Dr. Terblanche will be presenting an interesting talk on Artificial intelligence (AI) – what’s all the fuss about?
AI is the talk of the day. Since its inception in the 1950s AI has gone through a number of peaks and “winters”, but the current resurgence of this disruptive technology seems different and could have major implications for humanity. Dr Nicky Terblanche is an academic, researcher, leadership coach and AI entrepreneur who has been studying AI for a number of years, culminating in coachvici.com, an AI-assisted coach. Join Nicky for a discussion on the history, recent developments, ethical issues and relevance of AI to the art world.
These talks promise to inspire and inform art lovers and professionals alike.
Wine tasting and film
The inspiring rise of Wine Sommelier Joseph Dhafana is well known, and his participation as captain of the Zimbabwean wine tasting team at the world blind tasting championships has recently been captured in the film Blind Ambition.
Joseph started his unlikely journey in Riebeek Kasteel, where, as an economic refugee from Zimbabwe, he got his first job as a gardener before being promoted to barman. Today, Joseph produces his own range of wines, and his meteoric rise to one of the most recognisable young figures in the wine industry is nothing short of remarkable.
Joseph returns to his roots in Riebeek Kasteel for Solo Studios 2023, where he will host two screenings of Blind Ambition, whereafter he will engage with the audience and give them some insight into blind wine tasting of some of his wines.
The Nights of the Long Tables
Another activity which has become a favourite at Solo Studios is an opportunity to be invited to long tables presented by some of the valley’s finest hosts and chefs. The 2023 edition includes offerings by Aardvark Eats, Kokos Huis, The Valley Deli, Olive and Vine and The Royal Hotel.
Due to previous popular demand, some Long Tables will be hosted on both Friday 18th and Saturday 19th August.
Solo Symphony Concert
This year, Solo Studios will reach a crescendo on Sunday afternoon 20 August, with the performance of the Solo Symphony Concert by the Winelands Philharmonic Orchestra and featuring a collaboration with the local Riebeek Valley Steelband. Early booking essential
The scenic Riebeek Valley is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town and other cultural centres such as Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Accommodation in the two small towns is limited and patrons are strongly encouraged to book tickets and accommodation well in advance.
There is a variety of options of passes, from a Day Pass at R150 to a Premier Weekend Pass at R395. Peripheral activities may incur a surcharge.
For ticket sales and more information, visit www.solostudios.co.za. You can also phone Shawn at 082 528 6785