African contemporary artwork featuring the San people and other creative pieces are being exhibited in the small seaside village of Wilderness on the Garden Route. More than 60 artists, including primary school children, are displaying their work at the inaugural Wilderness Art Festival. Organisers want the area to become an art mecca for up-and-coming artists.

Much of the quaint town has been transformed into an art walk. The idea behind the festival is to promote artists from Wilderness and other areas on the Garden Route. They range from already established artists to novices.

Learners, Emma Nyembe and Sasha Adams from Hoekwil Primary School were among those exhibiting their art at the festival:

“I like my shark that I drew, and I like my picture and teacher Amber helped me.”

“What I did with my art? I found it in a book I was reading. It was full of stories and pictures. I found that one piece and just really like it.”

Local post office worker and hobby artist, Eldret Canary says he feels very proud to be able to showcase his talent.

“I had a younger brother who did art at school. He gave me some pointers so I started working on my first art piece and it came out really well. That’s where the bug actually bit me.”

Businesses such as hotels and restaurants support the event. Festival organiser, Carole Durant, says that they want business to use the art pieces on display at the Art Festival.

“That’s why we created the art walk through wilderness. We got the estate agents, restaurants, all giving a platform for a very young art community. We’re basically trying to build it and trying to just establish acceptance from the business community that they actually need the artists to get business. It works both ways. It’s a win win situation for the business and the artists.”

Organisers hope that the art on display will inspire other artists to not give up on their talent.