GREAT MINDS ART ALIKE
Benguela Cove & Anton Smit
Article written by Samarie Smith
Photos by: Erwalt De Beer
Art is a business and doing business is an art. This should be the motto when an awarded business entrepreneur and world-renowned artist joins forces to establish something they love.
The South African landscape is a spectacle of beautiful and innovative spaces and wine farms are instrumental in bringing different art forms together. Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate is no stranger to this creative realm, poised on the right hand side of the R43 en route to Hermanus, colloquially referred to as the gateway to the Walker Bay.
This estate itself has become a landmark for wine tourism and supporting local artists with regular events that feature the kingship between art, food and wine as an extension of this objective. While wine remains the centrepiece of this estate, the larger than life sculptures by world-renowned sculptor Anton Smit, create an awe-inspiring rippling effect of the estate’s philosophy that life should be celebrated and embraced. Benguela Cove’s Sculpture Park and Gallery opened on 1 October last year with its second chapter due to open in the United Kingdom later this year.
Greeted by an impressive piece called Kungwini’s head at the entrance to Benguela Cove, sets the bar for a creative experience.
Once inside the estate, the sculpture called Oblivion of the Waves is placed like their patron saint on a hill, guarding a heave of activities below. It is when visitors approach the front door under the gaze of three large scale multi-coloured faces called Agapé Effervescent that the collaboration between Smit and the owner Penny Streeter OBE, invites more introspection.
With a prolific background as a sculptor, Smit’s work graces the premises of many wineries, but Benguela Cove is home to the largest collection framed by the unique location on the Bot River Lagoon.
The amalgamation of his art with both large open spaces and intimate corners, evoke conversation as one browse his work, strategically placed in the tasting room, courtyard, gardens, restaurant and in the gallery. While smaller pieces indoors, like curled up bronze figurines, echoes something about vulnerability, majestic pieces outside like Agapé, Reflect and Colossal Youth embrace the vast spaces representative of ideas beyond the extraordinary. A variety of Smit’s work is housed inside the gallery where guests often sit down with a glass of wine to simply enjoy being surrounded by the genius of this artist.
But it takes two progressive personalities to realise a space like this, curated to evoke meaning, emotion, understanding and enjoyment.
A visionary and keen art collector, owner Penny Streeter, was awarded her OBE title for service to the enterprise. This is evident in all her undertakings and investing in local art has been a key driver from the start. “Benguela Cove leans itself to merge food, wine and art on a collective platform. I want to celebrate the importance of art in the South African hospitality industry. These artforms embrace the rich heritage, natural produce and talent in South Africa. The terroir is celebrated through exceptional wine, local produce is honoured with delicious food and now the art of a master South African sculptor is gracing our premises.”
For Smit, the open spaces at Benguela Cove create a tapestry of natural and modern platforms in which his art can come alive. “As big and confronting as some of these works can be, they also communicate something vulnerable, Smit explains. Oblivion of the Waves celebrates this unique location so close to the Atlantic Ocean while it also investigates the landscape of the soul.”
Each work is accompanied by a poem or excerpt of a poem that reaches into Smit’s heart. “My work is driven by faith; the spiritual essence of every piece is an answer to that inner call.”
Smit’s journey is reminiscent of what Streeter faced as a young woman, driven by self-belief regardless of setbacks to make a dream come true. This exhibition is the first chapter of what is planned to become a world-renowned art and sculpture park at Benguela Cove’s sister property in the UK, Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens.
“Looking at the vast spaces and the spectacle of colour, I could envision the grounds being graced with similarly powerful works of art.”
The estate’s vast offering as part of the annual Hermanus FynArts festival has also been commended with another exciting program to be hosted between 5 and 16 June 2020. This will include Smit’s permanent collection as well as a collaboration with the Red Hot Glass Studio.
Visit www.benguelacove.co.za or contact the estate for more information:
+27 (0) 87 357 0637 or 021 091 0032
R43 Botrivier Lagoon, Hermanus, WC
Anton Smit website : antonsmit.co.za