I visited Lorraine Loot’s new exhibition 365 Postcards for Ants over the weekend and instantly fell in love. I’ve been looking forward to seeing it for a while and it didn’t disappoint – tiny circles dotted the walls in individual frames made from African woods and each guest was provided with a magnifying glass in order to appreciate the immense level of detail in every work of art.
The paintings are Cape Town themed in a nod to the Mother City’s reign as the 2014 World Design Capital, and span from the 1st January to 31st December – the only one Lorraine didn’t do on the day was when she took a break to get married! I was convinced that she must use a magnifying glass to paint, but apparently she does it all without the aid of any magnification which is a pretty mind-blowing feat in itself when you consider the scale of the pictures, most of which are smaller than a R5 coin.
I love to paint and I used to think that I painted with a certain amount of detail, but Lorraine takes it to the next level with supreme mastery over her size 00000 Daler-Rowney brush. On a larger scale the images would be beautiful, but it is their tiny size that makes them remarkable. It’s also the character, humour and intensity invested in every image – they carry a sense of Cape Town’s creativity and wonderment, from the immaculate linear perfection of iconic buildings to the half smile on the face of a contented-looking seal pup.
The idea of postcards for ants makes me happy. The execution of the idea makes me happier. It’s a feel-good reminder of all the best things in this country of ours. The owls featured below were my favourite – I was very sad the postcards for this particular painting were sold out. All the paintings have been sold but there are still a few postcards available for purchase at the exhibition if you’re quick. Lorraine even writes minute messages for ants on the prints to personalise them so it’s well-worth investing if you find one you love.
Lorraine let people purchase a day’s painting in advance – so if you bought the 3rd March, for example, you could ask her to paint something special for you on that day. It’s also this collective love and energy that’s gone into the project that makes it special – it’s not just the things Lorraine loves about Cape Town, but its images that are close to other people’s hearts as well.
You can find the 365 Postcards for Ants exhibition at 6 Spin Street Restaurant, just off Wale Street. The space complements the exhibition, both in the historical architecture of the building and its central positioning in the heart of the city. Exhibition times are: Monday- Friday: 10h00 – 18h00 and Saturdays: 10h00 – 17h00.
if you want to make a morning of it, you should pop into the Honest Chocolate Cafe in Wale Street en route. Because chocolate for breakfast is always a good idea.