You may have noticed some exciting exhibitions at The White River Gallery over the last few months. Dana MacFarlane of Halifax Art recently took over the reins as director of the gallery and we are very excited to welcome them as members of We Are White River.
“By building on the gallery’s existing foundation and countrywide reputation, my aspiration is to bring a new dimension to the art landscape in the Lowveld – further raising awareness for excellence in art and artistic practice.”
Dana recently relocated to the Lowveld, providing an opportunity for her to share her passion and purpose as a gallerist and promoter of arts with the Lowveld community. Her company Halifax Art, which previously directed and managed a gallery in Johannesburg, will now serve as the powerhouse behind the White River Gallery in terms of broader artistic projects, also offering an art consultancy and advisory service. In addition to showcasing established talent, Dana aims to raise the level of emerging talent through collaborative engagement with art educational institutions in the area.
“The White River Gallery will enable local viewers and art appreciators to sample broader South African contemporary and conceptual art on a regular basis,” continues MacFarlane.
Built in 2007 as an addition to the iconic Casterbridge Lifestyle Village, the White River Gallery was designed by architect and avid art collector Gavin Smitsdorp. The brainchild of Gavin and Louis van der Merwe, the gallery was built to provide a platform for visual arts in the Lowveld and has since seen countless group and solo exhibitions. In the last 10 years, under the guise of curator Marlize Meyer, the gallery has enabled artistic talent in the Lowveld to be viewed and appreciated.
With its contemporary exterior of concrete, glass and iron, the gallery has been a strongly recognisable feature in White River and surrounds, associated for many years with art-related events in the Lowveld. Designed as the quintessential “white cube”, its ingenious inverted ceiling allows the flow of natural light, the interior warmly reminiscent of church-like serenity facilitating the viewing of art in peaceful solitude. Although it is much loved by the community as an arts gem, regular visitors from further afield have fuelled its countrywide reputation as a gallery of standing and consistency.
What can we look forward to at the gallery over the next few months?
Dana aims to showcase a mix of local and broader South African artists. At the moment she is preparing for a group exhibition as part of the Innibos Arts Programme, called Mosterd na die Maal, paired with a cultural meal offering by Magnolia Restaurant . Felicity Bell is also currently working towards a solo exhibition of portraits (with a twist) later in the year, and Ingrid E Uys will be presenting her exhibition of hauntingly graceful birds in flight early next year. Dana plans a number of themed group exhibitions including a mix of artists.
Expect local names such as Erika Schoeman, John-Anthony Boerma, Winston Thekiso, Karin Daymond, and broader South African names such as Michael Heyns, Laurel Holmes, Sue Martin, Sue Pam Grant, Lebohang Sithole, and John Moore.
The gallery will also stock and display works by a few of our South African greats such as Deborah Bell, Nelson Makamo and Sam Nhlengethwa to name a few. Sculpture by Anton Smit and Guy du Toit can be expected.
We are so glad to have our own art gallery in White River and we welcome Dana to the Slowveld!
Dana MacFarlane dana@whiterivergallery 0827846695