Think Hout Bay is about horses, mansions and seafood? It is, but there’s an edgier creative side too. Venture all the way along Harbour Road to the Harvest Centre and a different world will open up when you meet Hout Bay’s Zimbabwean artists.
This is where you’ll find the Harvest Centre. It doesn’t look like much from the outside (and it’s somewhat eclipsed by the better known Bay Harbour Market next door), but it’s worth the journey.
A flicker of light, a hum and the whiff of burning metal. Something is going on behind a closed slat door. This is where brothers Mambakwedza and Chenjerai Mutasa make art from scrap metal like flash plates, bicycle chains, old radiators, brake shoes, exhaust pipes and whatever other junk they can find on their adventures in the scrap yard. ‘Everyone else is lining up to throw stuff away and they don’t know why we would be buying it,’ chuckles Mamba.
I want to know what stirs them to create. ‘I’ve been making things since I was about five,’ says Mamba. ‘We just follow the piece and it tells us where to go.’ He makes it sound so easy.
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Just across the courtyard is the sculpture studio and brand new gallery of Zimbabwean, Robin Kutinyu, who first learnt his technique from his artist and stone sculptor father. ‘When I came home from school I spent all of my time sculpting with him,’ he remembers. ‘I started with soapstone because it’s soft and easy to work.’ By the age of ten he had started selling some of his work, mostly turtles and birds.
‘I try to capture the essence of my subject, to immortalise a certain moment,’ he says. ‘My work is about the soul of my subject, not just the outer form.’ Asked where he gets his inspiration, he says it might be in a quarry where the stone ‘calls out’ to him.
See Robin’s website