Quin Sculpture Garden, Between Bush and Sea in Alexandria
Piet Koerant, Roaming Reporter
Quin Sculpture Garden
5 Suid Street, Alexandria 6175
0827708000 or 046-6530121
Garden evokes many memories from childhood to the end of remembrance. Somehow, I have now discovered why. The root of a garden lies in its eternal bond.
Think back to gardens and many spring to mind: Garden of Eden, Garden of Gethsemane, Botanical Gardens, Gardens of Remembrance, Gardens of Pleasure, Gardens of Theatre – Covent Garden and, more locally Kirstenbosch, Maynardville. I cannot resist mentioning one of my favourite’s abroad, Yu Yuan.
There is always something happening in a garden. People choose them for duelling, chopping off ears and stuff, healing, making pacts, forgiving, secluding, meditating, but most of all, something always grows there. Here, it is all indigenous.
Recently, I was invited to tea in a garden in Alexandria. No, not there in Egypt somewhere close to Cairo or Giza, but right here on the doorstep of Kenton and Boesmans, between the bush and the sea, there where they grow chicory and milk cows.
As befits a garden, it is hidden behind a wall with a door that opens to unfound mysteries and new pleasures. This, you see, is the Quin Sculpture Garden, the soul of which is a strong woman of beauty, called Maureen.
On tea-day, the door opened to revelations, most of all to the heart and spirit of my neck of Africa, and with it, a masterclass of the sculptural art.
Quin herself is one of a rare species of artists who enjoys engagement. For the first time in my long existence, I at last heard, and saw, and felt, how abstraction is formed from realism. I learnt how hard and physically demanding sculpting can be, what art really is, or supposed to be.
By now, a group of us had formed around tea and scones. The tour started. We saw Flamingo, we saw Wildlife, such as Cheetah and Cubs, Black Rhino, Impala, White faced Whistling Duck, Springbuck, Blue Crane and a golden bear, Jack Nicklaus, waving handsomely and determinedly at us after a splendid hole-in-one.
The most difficult part of such a tour is looking for favourites in your mind. My advice is, do not even try. The Xhosa Woman and the story of how she was formed at the Grahamstown festival, stole my heart. The visualisation of her transforming anguish is beautiful and harrowing.
Well, my journalistic heart was stolen in the portraits section. Gordon Mulholland. I can hear your clear and melodiously handsome voice crackling over the radio and sounding from the stage. Margaret Bakkes. “Jou forse figuur met jou trotse, betaamlike skrywershouding. Dis so lekker om jou te ontmoet.” And then I ran into something so familiar to my Kaapse mood, the Klopse in front of the Grand West Casino. I went from a racing heart to the flicking heels of my own personal, Cape Minstrels.
These are only a few corners of the Quin Sculpture Garden and Gallery. There are more I shall explore – the Ballet Dancers, such nimbleness is exacting to a foundry, yet you can hear the music and see the choreography, Interaction, Trapeze Artists.
Let me end, for now. I plan to return, many times, and encourage my closest friends to join me.
After a few goodbyes to our group, I left, exhausted with the comprehension, nowhere, at no exhibition, make with art what ye may, will I ever realise this passion. I feel at home. I am in my African garden. Mandela’s bust. That, that bust, that is the man I met at Groote Schuur. Xhosa Warrior, embodiment of manhood, Bheki, The Hunt, the titles will give you an inkling of what to expect – The Chase, Hunted, The Kill, Pieta, Grief, Remorse, Devastation, Supplication – The Ultimate Sacrifice.
Lady Sally Oliver, the wife of Sir Michael Oliver, Alderman, City of London, art connoisseur, wrote about The Hunt and The Ultimate Sacrifice: “I love the fact that this series is so magnificently idealistic, yet, with this one piece it literally comes down to the level of a kitchen and our daily lives and makes us review the cause and effect of our daily choices.”
I saw a pinnacle, Alderman, the bronze sculpture of a mother holding her newborn child aloft towards the heavens, a sacrifice to life, to time without end – The Eternal Bond.
Here, back on earth with Space X, I have formed a never-ending love for the Sculpture Garden of Quin. There are so many corners there left to explore, thank heavens, yet so little time to do it.