One of the most passionate characters to have emerged from the Karoo in recent years is artist Katie du Toit.
Her interests and concerns range from environmental issues to social ones, and are always grounded in practical action.
That’s why she is currently curating a Karoo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum entitled The Industrial Karoo – Fear & Loss, showcasing the work of more than 80 different artists.
The issue is resource exploitation of the Karoo (in particular, the looming threat of shale gas fracking of the Karoo) and the themes explored are conflict, capitalism and environmental destruction.
Each artwork on display at the gallery (the exhibition opened on March 4 and closes on April 26) investigates some of these aspects.
To quote Diane de Beer in her Pretoria News review:
“The works on display respond to the theme from various vantage points, presenting direct testimonials, personal experiences and references to historical moments.
“It is also the community’s state of apprehension around the sustainability of their present way of life, should fracking occur, that kick-started the artist’s motivation for creative investigation.
“She (Katie du Toit) is interested in the emotional factors of fear and loss, and uses material metaphors in her work to refer to valued aspects of community life.”
Just to add even more spice to the exhibition, Menlo Park’s Carlton Café Delicious restaurant has created three chef’s tables at the Pretoria Art Museum to celebrate the Karoo.
Diners are treated to dishes that used ostrich eggs, springbok, figs, olives and special interpretations of Karoo veldkos (what the Australians like to call ‘bush tucker’).
If you find yourself in Pretoria over the next month, call the Carlton Café at 012 460 7996, speak to Anneke and book your table for a special Karoo treat – and in insightful artistic exploration of the biggest issue to threaten the Karoo in the past century.