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Solo Studios: Intimate Art Encounters

A weekend of art and culture at Riebeek Valley’s Solo Studios: The eagerly anticipated ‘Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters’ returns to the Riebeek Valley in August with what promises to be another highlight on the cultural calendar.
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Calling the event ‘Intimate Art Encounters’ means exactly what it says. Seventeen artists’ studios will be open to the public over the weekend of 18–20 August, with eight of these artists having invited external collaborators to co-exhibit in their personal spaces.

A further seven group exhibitions will be held at various galleries and venues, including two private art collections in exclusive guest houses. Spending time in the intimate spaces of the artists’ studios will offer pass-holders an insight into their processes and inspiration.

“We don’t merely sell art at Solo Studios. We sell an experience,” says Klaus Piprek, co-founder and director of Solo Studios. These experiences go much further than the visual arts. Apart from the art exhibitions, there is so much more to enjoy in what has become known as Arts Town Riebeek Valley, encompassing the twin towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West. Prepare to be lured away from your planned art route by the aromas wafting from a coffee shop, by the scent of essential oils from the locally produced botanical range or by a tantalising wine tasting at some of the most acclaimed Swartland wine producers.

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“As always, the Riebeek Valley will put on its best dress in anticipation of the influx of art aficionados to this prestigious event and visitors can expect a host of venues offering food experiences and wine tastings,” says Shawn Hewitt, project manager for this year’s event. “Entertainers will flow onto the streets and pavements and creative community development projects will be showcased in plentiful fringe activities. Add to that the richness of local flavour from the olive producers, the abundance of restaurants, the village bakery and the profusion of craft and artisanal outlets.”

“The best way to fully appreciate what we have to offer is to make a whole weekend of it,” Klaus advises. “There’s simply not enough time in one day to fully absorb all that Solo Studios and the valley have to offer.”

The record-breaking ‘Solo Studios – Intimate Art Encounters’ event of 2022, with 183 art pieces sold, valued at R2.5 million, resulted in stiff competition to participate in this prestigious event. For the 2023 edition, 17 local artists were selected from the large number of worthy applications.

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For the event this year some exciting and relevant peripheral activities have been included to enhance the weekend art experience:

Solo Symphony Concert
The event will reach a crescendo on Sunday afternoon 20 August, with the performance of the Solo Symphony Concert by the Winelands Philharmonic Orchestra and featuring a collaboration with the local Riebeek Valley Steelband.  Expect original compositions to form part of this collaboration!

World Film Premiere
MONOMANIA – 7 Chambers of Obsession:
One of the reasons for the continued success of Solo Studios, is an element of voyeurism.  Rather than purchasing a work of art from a gallery or even online, Solo Studios offers the opportunity for the art lover to enter into the personal realm of the artist, in many cases within the confines of their home studios.  It is here that the buyer gets to meet the artist, and gets to understand their processes and inspirations.

For this year’s edition, co-founder Klaus Piprek pushes the envelope a little further, by extending an invitation to the creative community of Riebeek Valley to participate in a collaborative film production project, and challenging the artists to expose a single element which inspires them, in a production titled MONOMANIA.

MONOMANIA is defined as possessing an exaggerated or obsessive enthusiasm for or preoccupation with a one topic.  7 artists, art fundis and poets participated in the project, all becoming amateur film makers in the process and exposing their inner obsessions.  The result is an eclectic compilation covering topics from womanhood, sexuality and erotica; to poverty, mental illness and depression; to motion, artificial intelligence and literature.  The 7 short films are woven into a collaborative production of 1 hour, making its world premiere at Solo Studios 2023.

Thought Leadership Talks
A recurring highlight of Solo Studios has been the inspiring talks by leaders in their respective fields.  The 2023 edition promises to add to that legacy.

Tamzin Lovell is the founder and CEO of Artfundi, a software platform that empowers art businesses through technology.  Tamzin presents two talks, namely Art and Technology: Transforming Cultural Life and the Future of Artists, and The Living Legacy of Uche Okeke: Bridging Past and Present in Artistic Expression.

Dr. Nicky Terblanche, an academic, researcher, and entrepreneur, holds a Ph.D. in Leadership Coaching and a Master’s in electronic and software engineering. As a Senior Lecturer at Stellenbosch Business School, his expertise lies in AI Coaching. He founded CoachVici.com, an organization creating AI Coaches, and leads research at Ovida.org. With 30+ published research articles and book chapters, he frequently speaks at international conferences on AI’s history, developments, ethics, and relevance to the art world.  Nicky presents a talk on Artificial intelligence (AI) – what’s all the fuss about?

These talks promise to inspire and inform art lovers and professionals alike.

Blind wine tasting and film 
The inspiring rise of Wine Sommelier Joseph Dhafana is well known, and his participation as captain of the Zimbabwean wine tasting team at the world blind tasting championships has recently been captured in the film Blind Ambition.

Joseph started his unlikely journey in Riebeek Kasteel, where, as an economic refugee from Zimbabwe, he got his first job as a gardener before being promoted to barman.  Today, Joseph produces his own range of wines, and his meteoric rise to one of the most recognisable young figures in the wine industry is nothing short of remarkable.

Joseph returns to his roots in Riebeek Kasteel for Solo Studios 2023, where he will host two screenings of Blind Ambition, whereafter he will engage with the audience and give them some insight into blind wine tasting of some of his wines.

Performing Arts
Georick fon Velt, known as The Mirrorsister, embraces small towns and the unconventional. With a diverse background in hospitality, writing, marketing, and performance art, she now heads “The House of the Second Shadow.” Engaged with The FOR LIFE Centre and local arts, she presents a thought-provoking one-person theatre performance called “Sosiaal – Who am I in relation to you? Is it better to speak or to die?”

The Nights of the Long Tables
Another activity which has become a favourite at Solo Studios is an opportunity to be invited to long tables presented by some of the valley’s finest hosts and chefs.  The 2023 edition includes offerings by Aardvark Eats, Kokos Huis with Intellego Wines, The Valley Deli with Allesverloren Wines, Olive and Vine, The Royal Hotel & Chef Giuseppe with Arbeidsgenot Wines.

Due to previous popular demand, some Long Tables will be hosted on both Friday 18th and Saturday 19th August.

Afterpiece
The official programme of exhibitions and events for Solo Studios 2023 closes on the afternoon of Sunday, 20 August.  Join the locals – artists, musicians, staff and other residents – for an afterparty at La Parrilla.

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Book early.
The scenic Riebeek Valley is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town and other cultural centres such as Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Accommodation in the two small towns is limited and patrons are strongly encouraged to book tickets and accommodation well in advance.

There is 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 ticket sales and more information, visit www.solostudios.co.za. Or call Shawn Hewitt on 082 528 6785.

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