Cape Town
, 03. June 2018
"The only way to experience art is to be there, to touch it, to get the feeling for it and to see it in real life"

Interview with Lydia da Silva

On our tour across Africa we sat down together with Lydia da Silva, one of the leading curators in Cape Town. Enjoy this interview and discover Lydia´s perspective on galleries, South Africa´s impact on non-African countries and why you need to feel art live and unplugged.

x-working Lydia da Silva´s Palette Art Gallery from inside, (c) Carina Lochner
Lydia da Silva´s Palette Art Gallery from inside, (c) Carina Lochner

x-working: Thank you, Lydia, for meeting you at your gallery for the interview today. I appreciate your time knowing that you are very busy. How and when was your gallery established?
Lydia da Silva: I have been sculpting for many years, but I never really had an outlet for my bronzes. When a gallery space became available in Church Street in Stellenbosch, I decided to invest in the space and so Palette Art gallery was started.

x-working: What has your gallery to offer to its visitors?
Lydia da Silva: I support local artists. They are not very well-know, but if I find the paintings ascetically pleasing, I will represent the artist. A lot of the University students don´t have an outlet for their art, therefor I try and create an opportunity for them.  When they are not motivated to actually paint, it is often because they don´t have a gallery to represent them. This way their art career is actually kickstarted.

x-working: What makes the art market so interesting for you?
Lydia da Silva: I find it very interesting because of the diverse audience that the art attracts. I love meeting new people from other countries and the appreciation in my work is very rewarding.

x-working: How many artists do you represent?
Lydia da Silva: At the moment, I have 54 artists in my three galleries.  A lot of the bronzes are from Antonio da Silva and myself.

x-working: African Art is on the rise. How do you consider African Art in the global context?
Lydia da Silva: I think Asia, Australia and America are now getting to know South-African Art. I think their perception of South Africa is changing and they realize that we actually are very art “rich”.

x-working: Thank you. You have a lot of contemporary art and African Art here in your Cape Town gallery as well as in Stellenbosch. Please tell us a little bit more about it.
Lydia da Silva: I find in Stellenbosch I have a lot of tourists that are there for a very short amount of time. I attempt to do more “Wildlife” Art to attract them to the gallery. My South African buyers can shop at leisure whereas the tourists have to decide very quickly if they are on a winelands tour or on a bus. In Cape Town, there is a different mindset. People that either live here or are in hotels close by have time to return a few times and think about a purchase and the nitty-gritty around shipping, etc.

x-working: That´s fantastic. What is your opinion about art fairs? Are they a danger to galleries at the moment?
Lydia da Silva: I don´t think so. The art fairs get the masses. We get discerning art lovers who know when they buy art it is an investment.

x-working: OK. Do you expect that the art online trade is going to be the way to go in the future or do you think South Africa is the spot to come to for holidays and for art fairs?
Lydia da Silva: It doesn´t matter how good a photograph is. The only way to experience art is to be there, to touch it, to get the feeling for it and to see it in real life.

x-working: Which projects will you go for in the future?
Lydia da Silva: I love Cape Town and the Bo-Kaap and have two art galleries here. In the Cape Winelands we have branched out to Franschhoek and in Stellenbosch.

x-working: Thank you Lydia, it was lovely speaking to you.
Lydia da Silva: Thank you very much I hope to see you again in the near future.

© 2018 – x-working

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