The People's Post - 15 April 2013

Artist Commits to Rhinos

People's Post Article

By Teresa Fischer
Photo : Teresa Fischer
2013-04-15 18:00
Deziree Smith and Thandi Wiltshire with the painting Smith will auction at the opening of her exhibition in Kalk Bay. The full proceeds of the sale will be donated to the African Conservation Trust.

The plight of the rhino has galvanised artist Deziree Smith into action. She will be donating the centrepiece of her upcoming debut exhibition to the Rhino Fund of the African Conservation Trust (ACT).

She invites the community to the opening night of her exhibition, titled From the Ashes, on Thursday 18 April.

The guest speaker is Steve Newman.

Newman is known for having completed several naked stunts, including skydiving, to raise awareness for rhinos.

Perched on a bar stool and dressed in clothes fit for painting, an unadorned Smith pours coffee and chats about the pangs she feels when a finished painting “leaves home”.

Her brood of dogs stares in through the patio window.

She paints from home, sharing the space with the four dogs and four cats, and a tolerant husband, who allows her to hang her paintings throughout the house “whether he likes them or not”.

She wanted to be in a class with her best friend and, at the spur of the moment, signed up for an art class in high school. But, Smith says, she will never forget the moment she “got” painting.

“Shadow and light is everything,” she explains, adding she believes anyone can be an artist.

She describes her work as “a collection inspired by humanity’s influence on our natural world”.

Asked to define her style, she says even an experienced art critic was stumped about what to call it.

“It is definitely surreal,” she says, “but there are aspects of semi-realism.”

She adds: “I am proud to exhibit my most personal work to date. In this series I walked away from the commercial standards. I portrayed every personal thought and feeling with colour and line.”

Smith says she was awakened to the plight of the rhino after going to the Kruger National Park on honeymoon.

The centrepiece painting, called Docile Dreamer, depicts a white rhino face-to-face with a man seated on a chair.

The artwork has a retail value of R16000. The starting bid is R8000 and the bidding increments are R500, R1000 and R2000.

Readers who wish to place a bid may send their name, contact number and bid to

Alternatively, bids can also be placed on the opening night.

Her exhibition will be at The Studio in the Main Road, Kalk Bay from 18:30.

It is on from Thursday 18 April until Wednesday 1 May.

Smith wrote a blog ( to help raise awareness globally for National Geographic’s Project Noah that was published on World Rhino Day on Saturday 22 September last year.