Dave and I had no idea what the BAT Center was when we stumbled on it during an early morning walk. The coffee shop looked interesting so we went in and ordered breakfast. Very quickly we met the coffee shop owner and he took us on a tour of the artist's workshop. It looked like a place where a lot of 'real' art was being produced. We found prints, drawings, paintings, wood carving, silk screening, frame making, musical instruments, ceramics and bead work. The first artist we met was Manuel from Mozambique. He had his three year old son with him for the day. Manuel was working hard and Mduduzi was playing hard. Manuel is the same age as Dave and we immediately fell into very comfortable discussion about his art and how it reflects his experiences and feelings.
The BAT (Bartel Arts Trust) Centre is an art development and community center located within the small craft harbour in Durban. Here you will find retail art outlets, restaurant, bar, performance hall, art studios, exhibition galleries, music rooms, dance studio, conference center, resource and info center, and space for independent arts organizations. The BAT Centre is a private trust dedicated to impacting on the cultural life of South Africa, particularly by nurturing and promoting the vibrant music, visual arts, dance, craft, film and literature of KwaZulu Natal. The aim is to generate work for artists, to build new markets for the arts and their support industries and to contribute to the local economy by attracting domestic and international tourists to the innovative and exciting facility.
Manuel Mangue applying ink to the wood cut.
Pressing inked wood cut onto the paper.
Showing off some of Manuel's beautiful finished prints. We had a very difficult time choosing which prints we wanted, as we liked everything! The one we are holding is titled "the marathon" and was his very first print. We were honored to be able to purchase it and will proudly display it when we live on land (or get a much larger boat).
Clive Sithole makes traditional style ceramic pots with a modern finish. He recently displayed his work at an art show in Chicago and has won many awards.
On Friday evening we enjoyed the jazz music from a Cape Town band called Tsunami. The band had a drummer, guitar player, bass player, percussionist (our favorite), and a guest sax player. The music was excellent and the setting perfect. As the sun went down we sipped our wine and tasted a wonderful ostrich meat appetizer.
The percussionist jamming.
A view of the harbour.