WORDS Malibongwe Tyilo IMAGES 99 Loop Gallery
A 140-year-old building on the corner of Loop and Church in Cape Town is currently being transformed into 99 Loop Gallery, the newest art hot spot on the Church Street strip. We caught up with gallery manager, Lena Sulik to find out about the new space, which opens on 5 August 2015 with an exhibition titled, Cape of Good Hope.
What did you do before the opening of the gallery?
I was a stage manager for a dance company after university, having studied English and Drama at UCT. I moved from theatre to fine arts in 2006 and haven’t looked back. I was lucky enough to work at Everard Read for a number of years, before being given the brilliant opportunity to develop this space with owner and director, Morne Marais. Morne brings the business acumen of a hedge-fund manager to an industry that needs it.
Which artists are you opening with?
Our debut exhibition is a nod to our surroundings – the city of Cape Town. We’re in the heart of the city and it’s a fascinating, beautiful, contentious place for shaping artistic gesture. The 15 artists on show range from sculptors and painters to photographers and GIF artists. We have Fayrooz Abader, Andrew Hart Adler, Chris Auret, Thomas Cartwright, Rayaan Cassiem, Michael Chandler, Katrine Claassens, Adriaan Diedericks, Robert Hamblin, Daya Heller, Lizza Littlewort, Johnson Tsoku Maela, Jenny Parsons, Khaya Sineyile and Karen Wykerd.
What kind of art can we look forward to in the future?
99 Loop will play host to a revolving series of solo and group exhibitions of various media, from the oil paintings of Zarah Cassim in September 2015 to the kinetic drawing machines of Gregory Stock in November 2015. The gallery is made up of a number of different rooms, so any one month will have two or three exhibitions running simultaneously.
What excites you about South African Art?
The same thing that excites me about South Africa in general, the diversity and opportunity. South Africans are starting to realise that art is something that you can engage with and enjoy, and something that is rewarding, because of events like First Thursdays, which we’re very much looking forward to being a part of. I’m also glad to see the new appreciation of painting that’s developed over the last few years.
Who is your favourite artist at the moment?
That’s like asking what someone’s favourite song is – tough! I tend to like individual pieces from different artists. But I’m really excited to be exhibiting the work of Daniel Clarke in September 2015. A complete unknown in the fine art world, he’s made a name for himself as a concept designer in the animation industry. He started painting only last year, and his work is already powerfully evocative. It makes my heart beat faster.
The Cape of Good Hope exhibition runs from 5 – 28 August 2015. 99 Loop Gallery is located at 99 Loop Street, Cape Town. For more information, visit 99loop.co.za.