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June 2010 
Inside this issue ...
Holiday courses!
Culture comes to the vultures
Urban biodiversity?
Dr Emily Lane wins award
Director's comment
New arrival at Emerald Animal World
Stringent measures protect King penguins
NZG staff master penguin conservation skills
Maintaining an inland marine aquarium can be challenging!
First genetic assessment of pangolins in SA
Outbreak of deadly primate disease controlled
NZG hosts wildlife medicine courses for vets
ZooClub members investigate SA's biomes
Conservation Grapevine
World governments fail to halt biodiversity loss
Lions targeted for Chinese 'medicines'

Culture comes to the vultures

From 2 May 2010 visitors to the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (NZG) have had a lot more to take in than the wildlife - leading South African artists are exhibiting their work there as part of the Mandril Art@Zoo exhibition project.

The month-long opening exhibition, from 2 May to 1 July 2010, features artists that have supplied artworks and sculptures to ensure an exhibition of the highest standard. For the future, exhibitions are planned on a rotational basis; these projects will include paintings and sculpture exhibitions, performance art, installations, theatre productions and musical events.

Detail from "Water lilies" by Ryan Loubser.

"Oerdier" (primordial animal) by Retha Buitendach.

"Nude" by Hülgard Vos.

"Bamboo Blues" by Jan-Henri Booyens.

"Proteas" by Jan-Henri Booyens.

"Township" by Ezekiel Madiba.

"Tribesman", a metal sculpture by Johan du Plessis.

Among the artists participating in the Mandrill Art@Zoo exhibition are Diek Grobler, Hardus Koekemoer, Ian Redelinghuys, Annette Pretorius, Artemis Angelopulo, Madeleine van Manen, Marinda du Toit, Marna Schoeman, Gordon Froud, Diane Victor, Branko Dimitrov, Alice Elahi, James Harris, Ryan Loubser, Loeritha Saayman, André Naudé, Andre Prinsloo, Lucas Bambo, Ezekiel Madiba, Retha Buitendach, Jan-Henri Booyens, Hülgard Vos, Mimi van der Merwe, Michael Mogale and Johan du Plessis.

Animation films and laser drawings

While several of the artists' work has been on display from the start, the initial focus of the Mandrill Art@Zoo exhibition is on the animation films of Diek Grobler and unique laser drawings by Hardus Koekemoer.

Diek Grobler works in a variety of media and disciplines, such as ceramic sculpture, oil, gouache paintings and scraperboard drawings. He also works in time-based disciplines, including performance art, computer-aided 2D animation and stop-motion animation. He lives and works in Pretoria.

Hardus Koekemoer, who has also organised the exhibition, is currently employed as a lecturer in lighting at the Tshwane University of Technology, and takes part in various solo and group art exhibitions in South Africa and Europe.

As an artist, Hardus works with various mixed media such as oils, encaustic wax, fire and smoke burns, and various enamel-based paints on canvas, metal, paper and wood. He also produces sculptures made of cement and found materials, and uses cement and other non-traditional painting materials in his paintings.

"Visitors can expect an exciting collection of paintings and sculptures of the highest standard, contributed by a large group of some of our most respected contemporary artists," says Koekemoer.

"The beauty of this exhibition, apart from the quality of the artwork on display and the unusual setting, is that it is fluid and changes constantly - so every time people return to the National Zoological Gardens, and we hope that they will come back frequently, there will be something artistically new for them to experience."

NZG Commercial Services and Business Development Manager, Craig Allenby, says that the zoo is very excited at the opportunity to collaborate with celebrated South African artists. "The Mandrill Art@Zoo exhibition allows the NZG to offer its visitors something completely fresh and intellectually stimulating. There is no doubt that they will find great pleasure in enjoying the wonderful natural treasures we have on display, as well as the cultural feast for the eyes thanks to the contributing artists - all in one venue," says Allenby.