Art and Soul
With painting as her first love, Galia Gluckman extends her passion from exploring what it means to be human to empowering young creative talent.
As a child, I would watch my mom paint in her studio at night. I loved the mystery and going back in the morning to see what she had worked on while I was asleep. From a very young age, my dream was to be an artist, too, but my parents were adamant I should study something that could bring more financial security to my future. I chose to pursue fashion design as my career and this allowed me to stand on my own two feet and gave me opportunities that regular work allows. Designing lingerie, I enjoyed the intricate pattern-making and drawing, and fashion design eventually led me to London and then New York, but I began to find the industry too prescriptive. In New York, I reconnected with my first love: fine art. The timing was right.
During my time in the city, I was fortunate to win a Green Artist Challenge at Artexpo New York. A couple of months later, I was commissioned by the mayor to create a large piece for the train station in the Great Neck region. I returned to South Africa in 2010, to Cape Town, and I still live there today with my husband Gary and children Ella and Levi. I’m proud to have exhibited my works both locally and abroad, and to be represented in some notable art collections, including the one at the official presidential residence in Cape Town; the art collection at Leeu Estates, Franschhoek; and the Spier Art Collection. I’ve aligned with two great charities, auctioning off some of my work for the benefit of SAFIM’s curatorial graduate programme and ArtAngels Africa, which seeks to assist 1 million learners by 2022. As a mother, I feel passionate about donating to such worthy causes.
My work is inspired by investigating daily life’s order in opposition to its chaos, and represents notions of self-reflection and meditation, noting varied contemporary concerns. I explore themes of cellular memory, and what it means to be human. Through the use of various visual references and abstraction, I create my large-scale, multifaceted artworks by using pigment ink on cotton paper, collage and acrylic paint, occasionally using gold or silver leaf as well. My latest body of work, titled ora (edge), marks my second presentation with Everard Read/ CIRCA Cape Town and my first solo exhibition in its new CIRCA Gallery space.
The work on display in ora (edge) took nearly two years to complete. The title makes reference to pushing personal boundaries as well as referencing more physical land “edges”, borders and aerial views. I intend to further explore this theme in the body of work, which will debut at CIRCA Johannesburg in September this year – marking my debut solo in the Johannesburg gallery space.
TEXT Galia Gluckman PHOTOGRAPH Karl Rodgers