It was once known as ‘Village of the Sea’ (Ardene Tredgold’s delightful ‘story of Hermanus’, still an entertaining read after nearly 60 years). Now not so much a village anymore, the town has secured a reputation for art. And, of course, the centrepiece is the annual Hermanus FynArts Festival which creatively warms up mid-winter. So here we happily go again…

Scheduled for June 10 to 18 June, a tight gild-edge programme of exhibitions, talks, demonstrations and alluring cultural sideshows will give the “village of the sea” its tourism boost. (Which, of course, doesn’t mean the loyal locals aren’t first in the queues.)

Katja Abbott

By now an anchor event is the project known as Sculpture on the Cliffs (SOTC) which will have its eleventh outing this winter. The artworks stay up for a year, to the delight of many. Based at the panoramic lookout of Gearing’s Point, the sculptures always engage with the environment and the changing moods of the sea is part of the aesthetics at play.

This year the SOTC theme has taken on an upbeat. Visualising the glorious seaside space as a playground for hearts, minds and inventive-sussed visitors, the curator, Melvyn Minnaar, has come up with a (not too tongue-in-cheek) jingle of  “Walking Back To Happiness” for the popular public art show.

He explains: “All over the world people are noting again the curative and therapeutic power of art. After the pandemic’s isolation, during an era of deep political and social uncertainty, artists have a special role. It’s a function they’ve always fulfilled: showing the power of invention, of creativity, as a means of dealing with upset and upheaval.

“That theme underpinned great international art events recently – such as the last Venice Biennale. And there is no reason why we can’t dance to that tune here in Hermanus.

“As a youngster I heard Helen Shapiro pumping it out over the radio in our house in Marine Drive. (Near the SOTC site, by the way.) So why not?

Walking Back To Happiness was written by the British duo John Schroeder and Mike Hawker  in 1961.The elegant title of then suggests a return to a state of betterness now.”

Participating 2023 artists are Kevin Brand, Hannelie Coetzee, Wilma Cruise, Jacques Dhont, Guy du Toit, Conrad Hicks, Jaco Sieberhagen, Frank van Reenen, Sophia Van Wyk and Ashley Walters . They have been asked to engage with the concept of cheer, because art can lift the spirit, inspire. Like the song, the sculptures will take on nostalgia, optimism and a physical dynamic for engagement in a special environment.

Most of the artists will participate in an open discussion at the Windsor hotel on Saturday, 10 June 10 at 11:00, priot to the opening of the exhibition at 12:30 at Gearing’s Point by Bina Genovese, Director of Strauss & Co.

All previous participants in SOTC are also invited to take part in Art in the Auditorium, an exhibition of smaller work and  some of this year’s debuting sculptors will also take part in this exhibition.

Ceramics have always been a great attraction and this years, under the curatorial eyes of Liz Coates. Thirty-nine well-known artists are featured in this  year’s exhibition, Earth, Wind and Fire.  This time the curator has  chosen as the theme a legendary band, described by Rolling Stone magazine as ‘innovative, precise yet sensual, calculated yet galvanising. This exhibition will once again take place at the Windsor Hotel and will be opening on Saturday 10 June at 11:30.

Many art-related presentations are included in the Strauss & Co Series of Presentations and Interview. Apart from Walking Back to Happiness, a panel discussion by artists exhibiting on the Cliffs, facilitated by Melvyn, there will be a second presentations on sculpture,  Mind through Matter, by Angus Taylor.

Other art-highlights are Kayleen Wrigley’s talk about the history of art-making in Hermanus, Hermanus through the eyes of the artists and Women Artists by Jean le Clus-Theron, I’ve Seen That Face Before by forensic artists, Kathryn Smith, Into Plato’s Cave, about the remarkable art and life of Kevin Atkinson presented by Melvyn Minnaar, and a discussion on the art and artists of The Grootbos Florilegium with artist Vicki Thomas and writer, Colleen Naude. Undesirable LIterture is the topic of art writer, Sean O’Toole.


The full program and e-booklet are available at as well as the link to sign up for the FynArts newsletter. Bookings can be made on, also via and telephonic with Chantel Louskitt, administrative coordinator on 060 957 5371.


Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!