19 March 2017

South Africa: Artist Barend De Wet Has Died

Photo: SMAC Gallery
Barend de Wet.

Renowned South African artist Barend de Wet has died, his long-time friend and fellow artist Brett Murray said on Sunday.

Murray, who created the controversial "The Spear" painting of President Jacob Zuma, said De Wet, who was in his 60's, died in an accident.

"I have known him for the past 35 years. We studied together."

Murray described De Wet as an enigmatic, colorful and honest person "to the point of it being hilarious and dangerous".

He was a yoyo world champion "in his age group", Murray said.

"He had tattoos from head to toe, including his penis. He was hilarious and people loved him, he was full of life."

As an artist, Murray said he loved and admired De Wet's work.

"He was a hero amongst artists, especially the young and upcoming artists. He had an out there approach and was multi-dimensional in terms of the kind of things he made."

De Wet was a keen knitter, "he...[would] crochet, then he would play with the yoyo, show you his tattoos and share hilarious stories," Murray reminisced.

Murray said the art fraternity would miss De Wet dearly.

De Wet is survived by his 93-year-old mother, his son who is overseas and his brother, Murray said.

According to his profile on the Smac Art Gallery website, De Wet was born in 1956 in Boksburg.

He studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town.

According to Smac, De Wet's work was currently included in an exhibition entitled Women's Work, curated by Ernestine White and Olga Speakes, at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town.

The exhibition is running until April 2017.

Source: News24

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