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"My Roots Have Never Left Me"

Born in South Africa I immigrated to Canada with my family in 1987.

 

As a child I was part of a nomadic family and lived also in Francistown in Botswana, Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and Johannesburg, Durban and Roodepoort in South Africa.

 

I together with so many others, see Colonialism as one of “earth’s” most despicable happenings. It would not have been as cruel if the Colonisers had not been so indifferent towards the indigenous people.

Elie Wiesel said (and Pope Francis quoted in Canada in 2022):

“The opposite of love is not hatred, it’s indifference…and the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference”.  

 

What I have always wanted, was equal rights for everyone and for all people to be treated fairly and with respect. Oliver Tambo of South Africa said it so well, “We have a vision for South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity”. Alas that has not happened.

 

The influence of the sounds, colours, rhythm, vibrancy, art and artists of Africa has never left me and my life experience in Africa is still expressed through much of my art.

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Still Life in Coloniser's View
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Colonialist's View

My Creative Process:

The theme of much of my work develops during the sketching process.

Once a theme is decided, detailing is added which is intended, together with the colours, to attract the viewer to look more closely and thereby get to feel and appreciate the beauty and details within the “geography” of Africa.

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The iconic hut of Africa appears in much of my work. 

 

 

Huts represent something greater than a mere "round structure with walls of clay or wood, a peaked grass roof with a central support pole".

They were easier to build from a circular foundation with cheap readily available raw materials: mud, clay and tree branches.

But the logic was not just in the architecture; it was mostly in the communalism and complimentary nature of society as described by Alex Taremwa  in a 2016 article:

 

Click to go to the Article Wisdom from an African Hut"

"In most, if not all indigenous cultures, social gatherings and councils took place in circles around a focal point. Usually a warm fire. Within the hut, families would sit and eat together in the same way, tell stories in their circles, excluding no one. They would sit , eat together.

I believe Westerners can learn a lot from this system if they tried it". 

Abstraction

I have always flirted with Abstract Art and find myself often crossing over to this form.

As I continue on this journey in Abstraction, I have spent wonderful times discovering what I can create without emotion or reality.

Let the creation be a visual and cerebral experience of colour, shapes, forms and texture.

Opus Dwelling
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Opus VII
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"Stained Glass" Doors

While in Israel in 1967 I was fortunate to spend a day with my cousin "decorating" the windows of a house he had designed.

On my return to South Africa, I convinced my parents to allow me to "decorate" the entrance doors of the hotel's dining room. 

I used the same technique I had learned in Israel & my parents never disowned me.

To me art is everywhere, in the formations of trees and rocks, in the lines, shadows and details of a building, in the graffiti on street walls, on advertising billboards and packaging, in a child’s drawing, in a doodle.

Architect Louis Khan said "The sun never knew how great it was until it hit the side of a building".

One Other thing you should know about me, I love colour!

We know that artists have changed the colours of a work by using different techniques and media such as silk-screen, etching, lino cuts, wood block & more.

 

My interest differed. I wanted to know and understand how different colours affect a viewer's response to the same work.

 

I began experimenting by first creating a line drawing. A printer was used to reproduce the  drawing and then colour was added by hand and/or computer. 

 

 

 

A computer monitor became a second canvas and an app became my brush, paints, pastels, inks and pencils.

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Biography:

Artist and Industrial Designer. 

 

Studied at the Johannesburg College of Art and Design.

Thereafter I concentrated on the design & production of office and hotel furniture.

Design Experience includes:

    * Office Furniture
    * Interior Design of Offices and Banking Halls
    * Hotel and Hospitality Furniture and Product Design and Production

In 2000, I incorporated my own business for design and production of hotel and hospitality furniture.

Projects included hotels, airports and restaurants such as W Hotel in Atlanta GA, Disney Cruise Lines and Delta Airlines’ holding area restaurants in MN, LGA among others.

Exhibited in:

    * Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition -1995, 1996 and 2019. 

    * Riverdale Art Walk - 2019, 2020

    * Art Walk Square - 2020

    * Leslie Grove Gallery - 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

    * Riverside Common - 2022

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Toronto Outdoor Art Fair 2019

Younger and Older Collectors

My work is in Private Collections in Canada, Australia, South Africa, US, Israel and England.

 Email: r.k.cohen@rogers.com      Call: +1 647 449 0489

As the old adage states, “Earth without art would be “Eh”
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