The Kalk Bay Modern has recently acquired some exciting new work by the artist Zak Benjamin.
The etchings featured in this blog, now part of the KBM collection, are intricate depictions of the most ordinary household scenes, naturally occurring still lives. There is however, something delightfully quirky about them, elevating them far and above a simple study. Their humbleness is the basis for an extremely genuine quality that, to me, seems to stem from a deep love of life and shrewd sense of humour.
Born in 1951 in Pretoria, the son of a typical Afrikaans family, Zak Benjamin’s artistic and spiritual path has led him to struggle enormously with the social systems he grew up under. Though at one point a member of the Voortrekker movement and the Nationalist Party Youth Movement, his deep seated Christian values could not coexist with the policies of the Nationalist Government.
He dropped out of University and spent the next few years doing odd jobs and living in Europe before returning to South Africa and university where he did a BA in Fine Arts.
In the mid 1980’s Zak experienced a profound religious conversion that led to his friendship with sculptor Gert Swart. Together they have worked on many projects, continually working through what it means to be committed Christians and contemporary artists.
In 1991 Zak was able to start working as a full time artist. His work is varied in theme, some involving a personal iconography set in fantasy, whilst others look into the simplest aspects of everyday life and unearth their subtle poignancy.