By: Schalk Schoombie
The American sculptor Richard Serra, famous for his large-scale sculptures made for site-specific landscape, urban and architectural settings, believes the experience of the work is inseparable from the place in which the work resides.
In the same way, the work of the celebrated South African sculptor Anton Smit enhances and transforms some carefully chosen settings.
One such environment is the Anton Smit Sculpture Park, a unique exhibition that is only 40 minutes drive from Pretoria and 60 minutes from Johannesburg. This art oasis spanning seven hectares adjacent to the Aqua Vista Mountain Estate, with a panoramic view of Bronkhorstspruit Dam, opened in 2002.
A selection of 600 sculptures is on display to maximum effect in a serene garden and two art galleries. The artist’s creative hub, consisting of his studio and workshop, is also located here.
Anton Smit’s powerful creations have been shown and lauded internationally, from Rome and Milan to Bonn, Amsterdam, Cologne, Singapore. His work has been included in private and corporate collections at home and abroad.
Towering over the landscape is the male figure titled “Faith”, an enormous sculpture standing seven meters tall. This uplifting installation presents a fitting introduction to the emotional impact of Smit’s work, exploring the spiritual yearnings of man. His great heads and monumental African sculptures evoke narratives of suffering, reconciliation, glory, and sublimation.
“Creation continues incessantly through the medium of man,” Anton believes. “Man himself then is a mouthpiece, medium and meaning all in one, and his challenge as an artist is to create himself over and over again, finding new connotations and concepts in given shapes, figures, and faces.”
The secret to Anton’s success could be attributed to his courage and determination to forge ahead in the face of great difficulty. “Take big risks. Don’t fret about what others think. Do the most difficult thing on earth for you – do it for yourself.”
Art lovers can explore the gardens and galleries at their leisure to discover the playful ingenuity of Anton’s work: floating and stretching figures, impressive heads, masks, hands, angels, warriors, and abstract works.
He likes to work with a variety of materials: steel, metal, fiberglass, and bronze.
The two galleries are connected by the Art Café Coffee Shop, where visitors can relax indoors surrounded by beautiful paintings and sculptures, or outside in the garden where one can sit down and enjoy a cup of brewed coffee whilst taking in the open-air art exhibition.
The menu offers a variety of light meals and excels in tasty breakfasts, scrumptious chicken strips & fish, as well as a selection of mouth-watering cakes and pastries.
A visit to the Park is the perfect outing for the whole family. Summer picnic baskets are available from the coffee shop, ideal for children and romantic couples. Book your spot and time in advance. No pets allowed.
The Park expands the traditional concept of an art venue, ensuring a truly inspiring experience.
The indoor gallery & art Café are only open during office hours, Tuesday to Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm; closed on Mondays, open on public holidays.
One of the galleries can also be booked for special weddings and other functions.
For more info:
WhatsApp Business: 065 511 6286
Tel. 012 8810004
Visit the website: www.antonsmit.co.za/
Facebook: Art Café at ANTON SMIT
Address: Black Eagle Ln, Aquavista Mountain Estate, Bronkhorstspruit, 1020