18 May Celebrating 25 Years with Artists and Friends
Step with me if you will, through the back door of the Rossouw Modern in Harbour Rd, Hermanus’s artistic heart …A gentle sea breeze wafts through the white-walled rooms as a an immaculately dressed and groomed man comes forward and greets us with a huge smile, a handshake and a question, skillfully wrapped in a compliment: Where have you beautiful people come from? Welcome to my gallery! Take your time and let me know if there s anything you would like to take back with you to remind you of our wonderful country and this amazing town we are so privileged to live in!
And Jozua Rossouw, gallery- owner -extraordinary means every word of it!
One look around at the skilled and colourful works and I – an untried and un-exhibited painter from England recently now settled in Hermanus – knew that of all the galleries I had visited this was where I wanted my paintings to hang, and this was the person I wanted to promote them. But even then, in 2009, he was inundated with artists like me who saw how special he is and aspired to be part of his stable. In fact, although we became friends early on it took 3 years for me to produce works that were strong enough for him to accept. I will never forget the day he visited my studio and with tears of emotion running down his cheeks he declared “Yes, you’ve found your voice! I will take that, that and that painting now and we will discuss your first solo exhibition tomorrow!”
From that moment on both my personal and professional life changed in an almost fairy-tale way. Thanks to Jozua’s endless enthusiasm, positive drive and friendship no week passed without lunch on the Gallery stoep or an indulgent dinner with potentials clients at the elegant Marine Hotel. Exciting news about a new buyer for my latest work was a regular occurrence, and life became amazingly fulfilling. I have since opened my own gallery in the High Street, but we remain close friends and I am honoured to still be represented by him, whether at the Rossouw Modern or his recently -opened, impressive Space Modern just across the road.
But JR is much more than my friend the gallery owner. If you wander under young trees through the once-neglected Village Green and admire the stimulating contemporary sculptures..stroll along the Cliff Path and be excited by bronze and steel images outlined against the sea….delight in the multi-coloured facades of art galleries, studios and shops in The Art Alley you may wonder who was behind these initiatives to catapult a quiet seaside town like Hermanus into the art focus of the Western Cape? No prizes for guessing.
Lots more images next week!