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Week 23   

by Andries Loots



Cape artist Willie Bester achieved a new highlight in his career this week when one of his works was sold at a Sotheby's Auction in London for  10 000. The work came from a private collection and was sold with some others by well known South African artists like David Koloane,  Ester Mahlangu. After the sale the comment was made that the world should start investing in  South African art that has been neglected like Latin American Art,  but which is still very affordable.

This unleashed a new interest in our local artists who can feel proud that they  achieved this during their careers.  Willie Bester is a fine example of one of these young artists.

Willie Bester was born in 1956 in Cape Town. As a young boy he started making  his own presents for friends.  He started by utilizing the objects from the township that he came from as inspiration for his work and  pieces of scrap metal,  coke tins and any odd objects found their way into his collage works. These works are three dimensional creations and portray the objects found around the everyday existence of the people of the township. During the struggle years of Apartheid,  he was seen as one of our major Resistance artists.

Willie's started his first career as a dental assistant but  soon started earning more  from his paintings. He is currently managed by his wife Evelyn.

For somebody with no formal training Willie has been doing very well locally and Internationally and had more than seven solo-exhibitions and more than forty group exhibitions in countries like France,  Italy,  Germany,   USA,  Senegal and Switzerland. Willie is a consistent worker and hardly ever  finish his day empty handed.

sculptureAs he puts it,  " It is very difficult to throw away anything as I always need these things in my paintings later." Willie sees rubbish dumps as symbols of the community in which he lives and to show people that something can come from this, he assembles pictures from it. His rich vibrant works are combinations of found objects which he gathers from the very townships he depicts. His pictures  also comment on everyday life in the township of people in the Western Cape.

Willie is not a solitary artist,  and this   reflects in the many different philosophies and approaches in his work.


Willie decided to create a home which would reflect him as an artist and with the help of Carin Smuts of CS Studio Architects they designed a work of art. The end product resembles  one of his artworks in every way.