‘Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art. Working is art. Good business is art.’ These sentiments of best-selling 20th century artist Andy Warhol resonate with our Director of Investments, Alwyn van der Merwe – although the creative craft of fine art is of course only complementary to the discipline required in the world of finance and investments.
‘Traits and notions normally associated with artists, such as inspiration, innovation, hard-learned skills, lifetimes of experience, repeated practice, time and care – even the guts to take calculated risk at times – seem to ring true for our own trade,’ Alwyn says.
‘Let’s not forget the powerful instinct that moves artists in the first place: to make something meaningful and of real value that will persist into the future – this is exactly what we as wealth managers do every day. What guides, equips and inspires artists to create cultural wealth is the same spirit that drives us at Sanlam Private Wealth (SPW). Just like art, money also doesn’t grow in value easily, or overnight.’
At SPW we decided to turn this simple, yet powerful insight into a big idea. We’re taking select pieces in Sanlam’s impressive art collection, one of the largest corporate repositories of art in South Africa, on a journey into the future – by asking a new generation of creative minds, artists and designers to ‘reinterpret’ the original works afresh in their own, unique ways.
This exciting project, titled ‘Again and Again – Inspiration and Excellence in Perpetuity’, aims to grow and enrich the cultural wealth of South African art, while enabling SPW to become an active partner in empowering young artists. ‘We want to inspire them to continue the excellence and craft that we believe echoes our own promise, “Your wealth. Our craft”,’ Alwyn says.
WALK OF NUMBERS
The first artwork we singled out is a work on canvas by Cape Town artist Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi, painted in the early part of his now acclaimed international career. A highly personal work, it also expresses something potently universal: the human journey. According to the artist, its title, ‘Walk of numbers’, refers to ‘counting’ the steps, people, experiences, challenges and milestones in his life en route to the future.
‘The work, spread across four panels, doesn’t seem to begin or end,’ remarks Puso Fisher, SPW’s Johannesburg Branch Manager. ‘Looking at it, one gets a sense of repeated endeavour and continuity, the artist’s will to progress, and, as he himself noted, “to grow… again and again”.’
CONTINUING THE JOURNEY
The project’s first ‘reinterpreter’, Capetonian Michael Chandler, is a multi-disciplined creator working in a variety of media, including ceramics, paper and paint. Continuing the journey begun by Ngqinambi, his new work is a six-metre ‘reimagining’ in cobalt inks on paper recalling the minutely detailed, illustrated decoration of Oriental porcelain pieces found at the Cape since the 16th century.
Up next is artist, architect and designer Renée Rossouw, who inhabits a quite different creative sensibility. Her geometric style absorbs both global and African influences in pattern and form, which finds expression in pieces ranging from fine art and printmaking to textile, murals, objets d’art, furniture and interior architecture. Rossouw’s interpretation of the original work, in contrast to that of Chandler, is a bold, graphic monochrome linocut.
And waiting in the wings, currently working on their own recreations, are two more artists who will also express the original work in their own crafts and creative disciplines.
The work from the first creators in our ‘Again and Again’ project is already being absorbed into the design of SPW’s marketing materials and collateral. Anèl Grobler, our Head of Marketing and Communication, says, ‘We’re thrilled to see this new injection of creativity and craft become a regular part of the way we at SPW express ourselves. Our clients and partners will see the work of these artists in our 2017 catalogue of bespoke gifts and items, and soon, in various other printed and electronic communications.’
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