Laura paints through pain

Laura Wenman, 65, of Parklands.

Parklands artist and art teacher Laura Wenman, 65, hopes to inspire others through her paintings being exhibited at a gallery in Parliament Street, Cape Town.

The exhibition, Out of the Blue, started on Wednesday, May 4 and will continue until Thursday June 2 at Axis Art Gallery.

What was supposed to be a “month to remember,” which Ms Wenman had been working towards for the past 35 years, turned out to be one of the most traumatic, yet transformative months she has ever had, she said.

On Saturday April 23, after painting for many hours in preparation for her exhibition, Ms Wenman was watching a movie in the living room with a glass of champagne, when an intruder came through the double doors leading to the yard.

She immediately screamed and woke up her partner, and the intruder hit her with a plank which had two nails in it.

After chasing after the intruder, Ms Wenman caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and realised she needed medical attention, but all she could think about was her exhibition.

She called the police, but said she was informed that there was a shift change happening at the time she called and the other officers would come back to take her statement, but they never did.

With two black eyes, just over 20 stitches in her forehead and broken teeth, Ms Wenman decided that she will not let her experience derail her from what she “had worked so hard for,” she said.

“There were times I spent almost 36 hours on paintings that are currently being exhibited,” she said.

She put on some make-up, pulled out her Sunday best and pitched up at the opening of the exhibition.

She said the attendees of the event were shocked to see her and expected her to cancel the event, but she said her experience with the intruder had made her more resilient and is giving her the power “to do more.”

Ms Wenman said she “needed the wake-up call,” which inspired some of her paintings she rushed to finish just before the exhibition, specifically the painting , Let It Bee (sic).

“This is my message to my attacker, just let it be, because you have made me stronger and wiser,” she said.

Ms Wenman explains that she did not really enjoy school and at the age of 15, she joined the Johannesburg School of the Arts, where she started “feeling alive.”

Her peers praised her work and she was happy to “finally be good at something,” she said.

She then went on to be a graphic designer for various advertising agencies for nearly 15 years but said she became bored and knew she would like to teach others.

Ms Wenman has done paintings for various charity campaigns, including The Kholisi Foundation.

When Tabletalk caught up with Ms Wenman, still with two blue eyes and plasters on her face, her Parklands home welcomed you with bright paintings.

In her studio in the garage, she showed us her certificates of more than 30 awards she had won from 1993 to 2021, most of them were for winning first and second place.

Ms Wenman said while she had been healing from her traumatic event, painting and teaching were very therapeutic and helped her through the toughest times.

Table View police spokesperson, Captain Adriana Chandler, said there is a record of the complaint being received and dispatched. However, she advised the complainant to report the non-attendance to the complaint so that the incident could be investigated.

“It is unacceptable not to attend a complaint,” she said.

Captain Chandler said the management of Table View police station view unprofessional conduct in a serious light, and will investigate allegations of misconduct where a statement is provided by the complainant.

Laura Wenman at the exhibition in Parliament Street, shows off her painting, My Devine right to Stretch (sic).