Artists unite to save wildlife heritage

Danger Lurks, by Debbie Le Sueur, will be up for auction at the Milnerton Golf Club.

This weekend, local artists will auction some of their best work to save endangered wildlife.

The Investment Art Auctions take place at the Milnerton Golf Club on Saturday October 29. They are the brainchild of artist Pieter Johannes Oosthuizen, who is also known as Santorini.

The auctions are in aid of the I Will Be Your Voice, a non-profit rhino conservation organisation.

Wildlife artist Debbie Le Sueur, photographer Alistair Jameson, ceramic artist Nieke van der Menlem and landscape artist Fanie Scholtz are also auctioning their work for the foundation.

Photographer and poet Gerda Louw will be donating to a different cause.

Oosthuizen will also auction paintings by Pieter van der Westhuizen and Father Frans Claerhout, who died in 2006.

Oosthuizen, from Bellville, said he had been introduced to Rozanne Visagie, founder of I Will Be Your Voice, through one of the artists and felt the foundation would be a worthy beneficiary.

“Doing an auction for a worthy cause is always nice and it draws people’s interest,” said Oosthuizen.

Le Sueur, of Table View, has donated six paintings to the exhibition. The self-taught artist has a passion for wildlife conservation.

“I first experimented with painting on leather. My family bought a guest house in Table View many years ago, and they asked me to paint some things for the walls,” she said.

Coming from a family filled with painters, sculptors and photographers, La Sueur took to canvas easily. Using gouache, her painting style includes painting thin layers upon layers to create the desired effect.

She said her grandmother and parents had strongly influenced her style.

“My father was an architect so everything was structured and there was precision,” she said.

It can take her six weeks to do a single painting. “I could spend two or three days just painting leopard’s spots.

“They are such beautiful animals, but they also have such strength. They can kill a prey their own body weight and carry it up a tree. They are so elusive.”

Her structured painting style has not always been well accepted in the art world.

“I’ve had people who did not want to exhibit my work because they didn’t believe I painted it. They thought it was prints on canvas,” she said.

Now a mother of two and running a small business, she no longer paints full time but this has not deterred her from lending a helping hand at the upcoming auction.

WhenOosthuizen approached her about the auction it forced her to finish a striking painting of a lion.

Once complete, the painting will be one of the six works by her to be auctioned.

“Even if people just want to come to appreciate the artwork and buy a key ring to support the rhino foundation, that would be nice,” she said.

Ms Visagie praised the artists for their efforts. “Any monies I Will Be Your Voice receives from the artists, will go towards its various rhino beneficiaries, which include the Chipembere Rhino Foundation, the SanWild Wildlife Trust and the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.

“They decide how they want to spend the money donated to them, but I will request some of the income be used for the rehabilitation of rhino orphans specifically,” said Ms Visagie.

She will also do a short presentation on rhino issues at the event and have a table with items for sale in aid of various beneficiaries.

Viewing at the Investment Art Auctions starts at 10am and bidding starts at noon and ends at 6pm. Call Oosthuizen at 079 520 3026 for more information.