Monday, July 07, 2008

Getting around....

We're on the road again... first a quick visit to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown...


This is a highly regarded annual event in the South African art world, with a wonderful selection of theatre, music, fine art, dance, craft, and a huge selection of stalls selling all sorts of goodies, gathered in the picturesque historic town of Grahamstown, an hour and a half inland from PE.

My friend Julie and I took a day off last week and decided to check out as many of the art exhibitions as time and our feet would allow! The views as we approached Grahamstown, in its "bowl" between hills, were lovely.




The art exhibitions are housed in various churches and school buildings around town. It is a really pretty little town, established in the early 1820s by the British Settlers who were brought in to help defend the Eastern frontier of the Cape Colony. Many wonderful buildings went up in the early years, with good old fashioned pride in the craftsmanship and attention to detail....



It was a perfect winter's day, clear blue skies, crisp but not too cold.

A few autumn leaves were still clinging tenaciously to the trees, and it was a delight to stroll around the streets, going from one exhibition to the next.


One of the things that gives the festival its atmosphere are the show posters attached to every available surface....

.....and even some surfaces that are not available! (Locals hate them, because they usually end up having to remove them at the end, when everyone has packed up and gone home!)

Here is a tiny selection of the many art exhibitions we saw............

We eventually arrived at the Cathedral, which is the centre of town. When I was a potter in the 80s, the Festival was in its infancy, and far less regulated than it is now. I used to make the trip each year, and set my pottery out on the lawns in front of the Cathedral. Now it is a no trading area.

In this area is the "container village", with the sort of crafts that tourists seem to love, but which are available on just about every street corner throughout Africa.

Going down a little alleyway, one heads for the Village Green. This is a large lawn, set up with white marquees containing more commercial handmade goods. This is a great place to fing unique handmade jewellery, glassware, pottery, clothing, leatherware etc.

Everyone gets in on the act, even Jack and Jill the donkeys, who stand around looking cute and hoping for handouts!


Ok, that's it for today, later this week we'll go whale watching in St Francis!

4 comments:

For The People said...

Good Morning from Mississippi! Hope you have a great week. Keep up the good work here! Looks good!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Excellent post loved all the pictures.. the brick and stonework caught my eye... both me and Jane wish you well with the whale watching... we will be watching for the pictures of your whale watching.. :O)

sonia a.m. said...

A very interesting post, Sue! Love all photos and the 2# and the 3# are really amazing buildings.
Sounds you had a great time.
I am looking forward to see your whale watching!

amanda said...

mmmm....I have memories of many cold July days at the festival in the 80's and 90's. But so much fun we had!