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Farming community all set for Bathurst Art Fair

20 October 2016
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Aspiring artists with a wide range of skills will get another chance to exhibit what they have to offer when the second Bathurst Art Fair (BAF) is held in the Eastern Cape farm village on October 29 and 30.

Initiated last year by Bathurst resident Tharine de Vos, this two-day exhibition extends far beyond the established concept of art, with formal and informal categories allowing a wide spectrum of creative talents to display their material.

De Vos said the fair was all about offering an opportunity for artists across the board to show their flair because “you don’t know what somebody likes until you put it out there”.

From displays of fine art to blacksmithing, the fair, she said, was an opportunity for a diversity of creative artists to illustrate their talents.

“The fair is so much more than just fine art.

“It includes crafting, artificers, traditional skills, sculpting as well as gourmet cooking and the art of developing micro-breweries,” she said.

“We offer a platform and environment for anyone to become involved, either in the formal or informal sector.

“We also use a concept called creative licence, which means that, where appropriate, the BAF have come up with ideas to involve visitors in some creative process.”

De Vos said they were incorporating the Agricultural Museum as one of the venues.

“I am also getting the guys who look after the vintage tractors to have them up and running to give some demonstrations.

“The museum off course will be open and it has the most remarkable collection of old farming equipment, dating back to Settlers years.”

She added that the Agricultural Museum was the first stop from the Grahamstown side of 22 venues.

“For visitors it will offer the museum, the Ploughmans Pub with steak specials, a Featherstone micro-brewery, as well as blacksmiths giving demonstrations.”

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The BAF’s long-term agenda, she says, is to develop into a fair not to be missed.

“This is where you will see the new, the unique and the thrown-together assimilation of atoms and stuff that are for your viewing and cognitive pleasure.”

De Vos said the exhibitors were mostly from the Eastern Cape but they were keen to develop the fair as an attraction for all South Africans.

“We would like to build the event to a point where the shakers and stirrers from all over the country want to exhibit their material.”

De Vos insisted they would continue to help amateur artists and give creative talents the chance to exhibit as they were strongly focused on presenting the new and the unique.

She said the BAF was largely a meander around the village in a 5km radius.

“We use indoor and outdoor facilities, including local businesses, artists’ homes and historical sites.

“A numbered BAF map, with the listed offerings on the reverse, will be put online a few days before the fair. It will also be available at the individual venues.”

She said the fair was also an opportunity to showcase what Bathurst, established in 1820 by the British Settlers and situated between Grahamstown and Port Alfred, has to offer.

“One of my inspirations for the Bathurst Art Fair was to attract people to come to see this rather unique and diverse little town of ours, along with showing off its historical value.

“There are so many hidden talents and offerings by people within this town that the BAF’s agenda is to give people the chance to present their offerings for the appreciation of a wider audience.”

View some more attractions in the Bathurst area here.