New work

We have decided to exhibit in a more relaxed manner over the next few months, probably until around Easter next year. The reason is twofold: Hennie and I have both shamefully been neglecting to produce work for Ibis and there will be a lot less running around and organising to do, so freeing us up to do even more work!


Hennie has recently worked his way through major commissions and will now be making smaller items for the shop as well as tall and narrow cabinets in spruce, ash and cherry wood. We hope to have these in Ibis by the end of September.


I have recently completed a task I set myself to force me to learn to use acrylic paints and have 12 small landscapes framed and hanging. A valuable experience - acrylics handle very differently from oils, and Jirre, did it teach me patience, discipline and how to paint faster! I have emerged from the experience a  braver and faster painter, and simply loving the medium now that I have learned to use it passably well. In the pipeline are two larger canvasses. All the landscapes are local or semi-local - Montagu, De Hoop, Overberg, Churchhaven and Hoeko. 


On show too will be some older work - drawings and paintings, and works by Raymond Andrews, Jaco Coetzee and Cathy McShannon. Our doors will be open from tomorrow.

Vic Andrews Paintings

Ibis Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of works by the late Vic Andrews from 10 July to 10 August 2017. Twenty-eight paintings will be on show and will be sold by internet auction. The reserve prices put on these paintings are very low, making the acquisition of a work by this renowned wildlife painter very affordable. Please use this link to view more information regarding the auction.

Vic Andrews was born in East London in 1922.

He had worked variously as a copywriter, cartoonist and commercial artist with a Cape newspaper and in advertising agencies in Johannesburg.   Though always interested in wildlife, Vic spent many years painting seascapes and landscapes along the Ciskei and Transkei coast, and in Natal and the western Cape.

After settling in the Transvaal he started roaming further afield.   He sketched and painted in the wilder regions of Rhodesia, Northern Mozambique and in the grass reserves of the Eastern Transvaal, the Usutu River region of Northern Natal and in Zululand.

When access to Northern Mozambique became more difficult, Vic moved his researches across to the western desert areas of Botswana and worked in the Chobe reserve and on the Kasane River.   Amply rewarded by the vast expanse of desert and its plains game, he spent many years mostly in painting the animals and birds of the Etosha Pan and the Kalahari Gemsbok Park. 

Though primarily adept and skilful at capturing the various moods of the African bush in oils on some impressive and panoramic canvases, Vic had turned rather naturally to the faster and more direct medium of pastels. 

Perhaps the most evident and welcome quality which will greet the viewer of Vic's paintings is the sincerity and integrity with which each work is executed.   This concern for his subject is reflected in his various donations of paintings in fund‑raising efforts to several wildlife organizations during his life time.

In 1985 Vic and his wife Dulcie, left Gauteng to settle in the small Karoo town of Montagu.   Seduced no doubt by the quiet charm of the western Cape, Vic had once again started to paint the surrounding lanscapes and the flowering expanses of Namaqualand.

Vic passed away at Huis Uitvlucht in Montagu on the 27th of December 2014.

Bismillah and carpets

In the West we have for so long now been used to seeing Oriental carpets all around us, freely available at very reasonable prices. I believe we have as a result of this become spoilt and blase, and no longer give much thought and appreciation to  what makes these textiles the rare and priceless art objects they in fact are.

The political and social turmoil in the areas that have traditionally been producing this extraordinary work will lead to the diminishment, if not the cessation of supply at source. Local dealers and auctioneers are finding that much of what passes through their hands goes overseas - the current exchange rate makes South Africa a very attractive source of carpets.  Our pool of carpets will get smaller and smaller, and inevitably much more expensive. 

Bearing this in mind, one should perhaps consider making the most of the present affordability and reasonable supply to lay in some carpets while one can. And of course, treat the ones you have with great care as replacing them might be a little difficult in the future.

The most recent addition to the collection of vintage oriental carpets available from Bismillah at Ibis Gallery is a venerable wool-on-wool Juntdag prayer rug (130 x 98cm) with double mihrab. Hand-woven and knotted by tribal people living in the mountainous Juntdag area between Manisa and Bergama, it has the date of it's making woven in just under the upper mihrab - 1958.  This is a rare feature and makes its age - 59 years - indisputable. Another feature is the finishing off of top and bottom with a broad band of stripey flat-weave, the two sides not matching, before the woolen fringes. 

This beautiful carpet is, in spite of its age, in extremely good condition, self-edging end fringes in exceptional condition. It is priced at R10,000.00.


Also in our collection at present is a beautiful Azarbeijan (286 x 141cm) This Caucasian carpet is wool on cotton, beautifully faded - due to the lovely vegetable dyes - and in excellent condition. R7400.

Wings Exhibition

Our Wings exhibition finally opened with an open day on 15th April 2017. We enjoyed hosting our many visitors and sold quite a number of the works on show.

This exhibition will hang for approximately three months but will constantly change and shift as new works replace those sold. A bit unorthodox as exhibitions go but we have decided to be experimental and see how this format works. 

We have really lovely and affordable works at Ibis right now, please drop in to have a look!

The Latest Exhibition

Ibis Gallery’s present exhibition is a holiday feast of toothsome and tempting treats. The central fare of this elected spread are four pieces by Raymond Andrews. These Prelleresque works with their intriguing mix of imagination and artistry have an unabashed SA-60s-retro feel about them. Debby Scrivens’s pencil drawings of birds are austerely and simply put, especially those where only a hint of colour is used. Flipside to Debby’s fragile birds are two watercolours by Pierre de Wet. Pierre’s fresh compositions with their winning motive foreshortening are immediately engaging. Following this lighter course are the charged and appealing canvasses of Jaco Coetzee who remains a favourite at Ibis.

Providing gravity is Montagu’s own Francois Krige (1913-1994) and Dutch genre painter Bernadus Blommer (1845-1914). These small quiet masterworks could reassure forevermore tucked in close to a bedside or a favourite easy chair.

To all this is asserted the work of gallery owners Carolyn Metcalfe and Hennie Kok. Hennie’s fine woodwork provides furniture that is bespoke and contemporary. Carolyn’s sublime staple of pottery remains constant. But it is her artwork: Her portrait oils and her exquisite nude drawings which illuminate the gallery and her talent.

Pair to artwork and furniture the essential of carpets: Bismillah has stocked Ibis in a fine selection of splendid oriental carpets at reasonable prices. These are the images of the loom; the welcoming rugs and the appreciation of the naked foot.

If this is all too rich there is less: The charming arrangements of artist Trudy Brain’s tiny painted birds perched in small branches; redolent camphor-lined boxes made by Hennie; Carolyn’s hand stitched Shwe Shwe pouches and sister Felicity’s warm and fancy socks, join together to pile on the berries at Ibis’s regaling table.

G Gundersen


On carpets and unicorns

The last Oriental carpet talk was all about the symbolism inherent in the designs, the main themes one can expect to find, cultural and functional meaning, messages and reminders.  Even choice of colour used is not a random decision - this too carries specific meaning!  After an introductory discussion, Deryl divided the attendees into four groups and set each the task of interpreting a specific carpet in the gallery.  Doing the work and later, listening to the results was enormously entertaining.  I doubt that anyone attending these lectures will ever view carpets in quite the way they did before.  Speaking for myself, what I have learned is just how little I know, how much there still is to learn, how much pleasure is to be derived from observing more carefully and with due respect these extraordinary works of art. And one has to ask the question - for how much longer will the making of these carpets and rugs in our dramatically changing world, and especially in the Middle East, be possible?  It is important, I think, to realize that we may be on the cusp of the passing away or diminishment of a great and significant art form which we and previous generations have simply been taking for granted all of  our lives, believing the endless supply of beautiful work to just be there, and that it will continue so forever.  I suspect it is more vulnerable than that at origin, unlikely to be with us as a river constantly flowing with freely available excellence than we like to think, dependent as it is on dedicated hard work and the persistent willingness to put in the daily grind it takes to turn ordinary materials - wool, cotton, vegetable dyes - using experience and skill handed down over generations, and patient time given by simple people usually for a pittance, into such things of beauty. Given the changes we are seeing in the world, the great shifts, especially in the countries which are the source of these carpets, I am beginning to think that what we are now seeing might be the last unicorns of their kind which we should be getting to know and understand better, and appreciate fully, before they go the way of all other endangered things while we stand complacently and ignorantly by.


This exhibition is now over and we are still getting used to the absence of the lovely carpets, but  pleased to announce that Deryl is happy to continue collaborating with our gallery and offering her valuable advice and expertise, working closely with Macushla, in the future.  Meanwhile we are in the process of gathering and hanging paintings for our next exhibition. We will post information about this very soon.

Francois Krige's easel

A moment of great pleasure yesterday; I was asked to repair Francois Krige's easel. Very old, and imbued with the grace and dignity that old tools carry. Encrusted with dried paint, the lower canvas support shows earth colours while the top support is all blue and white from the painting of endless skies, the lower strut carries a kaleidoscope of colourful brushstrokes, possibly to clear excess paint from brushes.

A very agreeable way to spend a few hours working and musing about the great works painted on this, the easel is ready again for many more years of work.


IBIS expands

During the past winter, the house at 11 Barry Street was given a face-lift by builder Attie Jas when the ugly face brick enclosed veranda was removed, giving the lovely old house it’s beauty back.  The dogs were restricted to the back garden, a hedge was planted and a garden is beginning to take shape.  Then during October Attie did more work, breaking through from the existing tiny Ibis gallery which formerly housed work by Carolyn Metcalfe and Hennie Kok, into the house itself, so more than doubling space available and allowing us to run a more formal gallery showing the work of others as well, and more of Hennie’s larger pieces of furniture.  At the same time Sue Kok and Macushla Falkiner were welcomed on board.  We now have a democratic, hard-working and enthusiastic team of four in place,  bringing different strengths, skills, abilities and vision to the gallery and its future life.  

On the evening of Friday, 11th December we opened our doors.  It is our privilege be hosting a show of remarkable photographic images by Andre Schoon, the first artist to join our stable.  The event was well attended by an enthusiastic crowd.  It will continue until 23 January, 2016.   A good beginning and we are hoping to create something very special here.

We already have plans for at least two further shows during the coming year, the first one a group exhibition which will probably to take place around Easter 2016.  As these plans unfold we will keep in touch via this platform and we will keep posting updates of new work done by ourselves as well.

In Ibis Gallery we have created a peaceful and pleasant space where people can take their time viewing what is on show without having a sense of being pressured to buy or move on. Within these walls you will find not what is merely trendy but only that which we ourselves love. This space provides room for discussion and debate, for contemplation, for clearing one’s mind and simply being quiet. Our artists and crafters love what they do and they are prepared to put in the time it takes to do it well, and it is this quality in them that makes the work of their hands rare and valuable.  Our mark up is modest for two reasons:    We wish to support our artists by keeping their work affordable so that they can flourish and continue with their good work, while our clients can be assured that here they will find only beautiful things of great excellence that are reasonably priced.


Montagu: a fine and plain place

Born out of the farm Uitvlught, today’s Montagu still allows and provides for, the eternal and philosophical quest for escape. The town’s western advance only adds to this feeling of seclusion and departure when, after travelling Kogmanskloof’s spectacular glowing formations, the road abruptly doglegs, then barrels through the fort castled rock face.

Just like that, the refinements of the Peninsula and the Overberg are left behind, and one has entered the once secret and still protected valleys of the Klein Karoo. A kilometre or so further the road rounds the last bend and crosses the confluence of the Keisie and the Kingna, Montagu’s variable rivers. An identifying sign says welcome, but there is no habitation in sight. The road flattens and widens, and slowly signs of settlement fill the immediate landscape. This is Long Street, considered by many, with its intact mix of vineyards and historic buildings, to be one of the most important historic stretches of road in the country.

Montagu is foremost a working town; a supply point to the far-off labourers and farmers who work the broad stretches of vineyards and orchards that form the town’s immaterial backbone. It is a modest, practical place not spoilt by pretence or unbending dictate. More than most pleasing South African towns, Montagu has retained its near perfect mix of imperfection and rightness, and an amenability to all. In the streets young families can ride their bikes without restraint, as do grey-haired ladies file from their neat 60’s modernised abodes and walk to bible study, their good black books shielding their firm hearts.

Like the distillation reduction in the process of dried fruit or a muscadel, Montagu’s singleness is condensed out of the high-drama of its sheltering mountains; the density of its hunkering greens in winter, the cut-glass light, and its Arabian night skies. These wild contours with all their plants and creatures, perpetually framed in doorways, or which sweep out and up before the walker, are a daily bank of reserve for each inhabitant.

Montagu is a fine and good place to live. A place just large enough to disappear in or to be seen, and not so small as to feel like a member (or a failed one) of a sorority. It’s a demi-Eden where all the fruits are edible, that has a Lover’s Walk and a romantic name with no unnecessary ‘e’. Add to these affections the sweet or harsh language of birds and the tinkling temple murmurs of Strongylopus grayii, the clicking stream frog princes, and one is hopelessly lost—or found.