The Riebeek Valley to the north of Cape Town is a distinct region with more wine and culture than the average visitor could ever enjoy. This reaches new heights with the return of Solo Studios’ Intimate Art Encounters this August.
An impressive line-up of 18 artists’ studios will be thrown open over the weekend of 26-28 August 2022 along with 10 group exhibitions and food and wine experiences at various venues across the twin towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West.
“We don’t merely sell art at Solo Studios. We sell an experience,” says Klaus Piprek, co-founder and director of Solo Studios. “There are few things more rewarding than being lured away from your planned art route by the aroma emanating from a local coffee shop, or the scent of the essential oils from the locally produced botanical range, or stopping off for an impromptu wine tasting by some of the most acclaimed Swartland wine producers.”
Visitors can expect a host of venues offering food experiences and wine tastings along with street entertainers and creative community development projects. Add to that the richness of local flavour from olive producers, a plethora of restaurants, the village bakery, and a myriad of craft and artisanal outlets.
“The best way to fully appreciate what we have to offer, is to make a whole weekend of it. There’s simply not enough time in one day to fully absorb all that Solo Studios and the valley have to offer,” says Klaus.
18 artists, 18 studios
The core of the event is the individual artists’ homes and or studios which offer visitors an insight into their processes and inspiration. Competition is stiff to participate in this prestigious event, and for the 2022 edition, 18 artists were selected from the multitude of worthy applications. Repeat participants include Sharon Bischoff, Tamlin Blake, Solly Smook, Gordon Williams, Louisa Gerryts, Greta McMahon, Ade Kipades, Andries Dirks, André François van Vuuren, Emma Willemse, Tanya Majo, Riaan van Zyl and Wiehan de Jager. New solo participants include Kevan Moses, Donker Jonker, Lizette Visser, Jacky Lloyd and Louis Nel.
This year, for the first time, successful applicants were allowed to invite creative peers as collaborators for the event. Collaborations include artists Wilma Cruise, Robyn Pretorius, Mariette Maarschalk and Shui-Lyn White, photographers Rudolph Willemse and Amy Moses, ceramicist Clayton Sutherland, and curators Elizabeth Miller-Vermeulen and Luan Nel.
Galleries and other exhibitions
In addition to the four permanent public art galleries (RK Contemporary, QStudio, Pictorex Photographic Gallery and Gallery 7 on Plein), six other exhibition spaces will be opened to accommodate the increasingly interesting offerings. These include The Riebeek Valley Museum, Ruby Rose Country House, Marras, The Royal Gallery, The Hub and Die Kunshuis.
Avid art lovers and collectors Mike and Lorna Spittal were first introduced to Arts Town Riebeek Valley during Solo Studios 2018. They fell in love with the creative community and subsequently purchased land in the town to realise their dream of building a structure, firstly to serve as a gallery, and secondly as their South African base. Die Kunshuis was completed in May 2022 and Solo Studios is proud to be hosting the first official public viewing of a part of the Spittals’ private art collection.
World premiere Sculpting This Earth
Following his multiple award-winning feature film Displaced, which featured the work of Riebeek Kasteel resident and Solo Studios artist Emma Willemse, director Victor van Aswegen returns with a film on the work of acclaimed land artist Strijdom van der Merwe. Solo Studios proudly hosts the world premiere of Sculpting This Earth, and Van Aswegen will present multiple screenings of the film throughout the weekend. The film Displaced also features with a single screening.
Book launches by Jacques Pauw and Obie Oberholzer
Investigative journalist Jacques Pauw, a Riebeek Kasteel resident, made waves with his revelations on state capture in his bestselling book The President’s Keepers, and his keenly anticipated sequel, Our Poisoned Land, is due soon. At Solo Studios, Jacques will present a talk on his findings, and pre-orders of signed books can be placed at the event.
Acclaimed photographer and writer Obie Oberholzer is difficult to find as he’s mostly somewhere else, riding the roads of his beloved Southern Africa. But he will be at Solo Studios, presenting a talk For the love of it, launching his latest book, Happysadland, and exhibiting some of his favourite work.
Urban artist Falko One
Arguably South Africa’s most acclaimed urban artist, Falko One, dazzled visitors at Solo Studios in 2020 with his debut solo exhibition of graffiti art titled After Life, held adjacent to the cemetery in some dilapidated ruins on the outskirts of Riebeek West. For the 2022 edition, Falko One returns for another display of his site-specific work, promising to surprise visitors in the high-end streets of the tourism precinct of Riebeek Kasteel.
Food and wine
The Riebeek Valley is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town and other cultural centres such as Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. The event is hosted primarily in the personal spaces of the participating artists and accommodation in the two small towns is limited. Those interested are strongly encouraged to book tickets and accommodation well in advance.
There are a variety of options of passes: from a Day Pass at R150 to a Premier Weekend Pass at R395. Peripheral activities may incur a surcharge.
For information and ticket sales, visit www.solostudios.co.za.
The Riebeek Valley Tourism offers a list of local hotels and guesthouses, or try Airbnb for private accommodation.