WWF Art Auction poised to raise record funds | WWF South Africa

WWF Art Auction poised to raise record funds

Posted on 28 August 2013
Baipei Informal Settlement by artist Vusi Khumalo
© Vusi Khumalo
Some of the oldest recorded works of art can be traced to archaeological sites from across southern Africa. Recent research suggests that this ancient art is synonymous with the very essence of being human – that the development of cognition allowed our ancestors to think differently and to express unique human traits through language, art and religion.

Art and nature have always enjoyed a natural synergy: The environment – animals and wild places have long been a source of inspiration to artists intrigued by the world around them. It is fitting therefore that more than 20 of South Africa’s most distinguished artists have offered some of their finest works for a charity art auction in support of WWF South Africa.

The WWF Art Auction, will take place on Tuesday 17 September in Rosebank, Johanneburg. The event is being hosted by the Everard Read Gallery’s CIRCA on Jellicoe and forms part of the gallery’s centenary celebrations. With a stellar list of participating artists, the auction will be a highlight on the arts calendar for serious art collectors and is expected to raise more funds than any previous charity art auction held in South Africa.

Nicholas Oppenheimer will be the patron for the evening and Stephan Welz will conduct the auction which will also include international bidders who will link via telecon. In addition to the support from Everard Read, Auctioneers Strauss & Co have generously agreed to conduct the auction proceedings while Nedbank continue to underline their ongoing support for WWF by joining as a co-sponsor of the event.

An abiding interest in art and conservation led to this partnership between the acclaimed gallery and this highly respected worldwide conservation organisation.

Says Dr Andrew Baxter, Head of WWF-SA’s Business Development Unit: “The auction is a significant demonstration that the link between environmental and human well-being is of critical importance. Given the depth and diversity of artworks to be auctioned, it is anticipated that a significant sum of money will be raised in support of the important work undertaken by WWF South Africa.

“Fundamental shifts in human behaviour are required in order to achieve an ecological balance in which humans can live in harmony with nature. WWF South Africa is concerned with issues that include the protection of natural ecosystems – particularly those that provide critical natural resources such as fresh water. Other focus areas include sustainable fisheries (SASSI), sustainable agriculture, including the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI), emphasis on driving a low-carbon economy, land stewardship in areas of biodiversity, and establishing new populations of black rhino under the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP).”

The difference between this and other charity art auctions is explained by Mark Read, owner of Everard Read. “Many of these artists are constantly approached by charities asking them to donate something towards a fundraising event, and because of this, the artworks donated are often not the finest representation of the artists’ work. In order to ensure that we received the best work from the best artists, every artist has the opportunity to reclaim a portion of their commission (Everard Read will not receive any commission). This will guarantee that every artwork on auction will be a collectable of real importance”.

Works by such luminaries as William Kentridge, Beezy Bailey, Dylan Lewis, Kerri Evans, John Meyer, Vusi Khumalo, Angus Taylor, Deborah Bell, Gary Stephens, Guy du Toit, Harold Voigt, Leigh Voight, Walter Voight, Lionel Smit, Neil Rodger, Nicola Taylor, Norman Catherine, Philemon Hlungwane Karel Nel, Rina Stutzer, Sam Nhlengethwa, and Velaphi Mzimba form the collection. These creative heavyweights are sending a strong message of their support for conservation in this line-up that will certainly attract bidders from across the country.

There is a lot of interest around the variety of works and the artists, setting the tone for a highly successful event and, with more unique and exquisite pieces available on the night, bidders have their pick of the best.

All proceeds will go towards supporting WWF-SA’s conservation work, which includes maintaining and enhancing South Africa’s rich natural assets, ensuring that our environments are preserved in a way that they support the economic well-being of our people, and addressing risks and opportunities of a changing environment. This mandate is enormous and in order to fulfil it, WWF-SA needs the backing of people who love and appreciate nature in all its beautiful and bountiful abundance and have the means to demonstrate that support.

A sample of the organistion’s work will be documented in the WWF Art Auction catalogue with a series of emotive stories told through the personal experiences of four WWF-SA staff.

Details: Tuesday 17 September 2013
Time: 5:30 for 6pm
Venue: CIRCA on Jellicoe

For more information, contact Frances Read 082 383 7558 / fread@wwf.org.za
Baipei Informal Settlement by artist Vusi Khumalo
© Vusi Khumalo Enlarge
The Sagole Giant by artist and conservationist Leigh Voigt
© Leigh Voigt Enlarge
Okavango Channel Blooms by artist John Meyer
© John Meyer Enlarge