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About Stephen

The Artist

Stephen was born in Cape Town. He completed his secondary education at Rondebosch Boys’ High School and graduated from UCT with a Bachelor of Social Science degree. In 1988 Stephen gave up his full-time career in the corporate world and pursued a career in painting.

Today he is a specialist in the field of Southern African rock paintings. His primary interests lie in the accurate full colour documentation of the art as well as research into pigments, paints and implements used by early hunter-gatherers of the region.

He consults with landowners on the conservation and management of sites too. Stephen has become increasingly well known for oil studies too. His time in the Eastern Cape, living on a working sheep and cattle farm, as well as his specialist abilities in the accurate documentation of rock paintings has allowed him explore his oil paintings with similar accuracy. Stephen has held exhibitions both locally and overseas and has been commissioned by organizations such as Caltex Oil Company SA, Rooibos Tea Ltd, Clanwilliam and Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve. In 2009 the South African Department of Arts and Culture purchased two of Stephen's works as gifts for two foreign countries.

His artworks hang in private collections, such as those of the Oppenheimer, Ward, Barlow and Fleming families. His latest genre of work is called Dreamlines and pathways through the African Landscape . His Dreamlines allow him self expression, in a manner different to his rock art documentary works.

Video

Coverage on CNN International’s “Inside Africa” series in July 2016.

Achievements

Rock Paintings of South Africa - Revealing a Legacy is Stephen’s first book on the rock paintings of SA. Published in 2001, the book consists of 58 full colour plates reflecting the art from rock art sites Stephen has visited. The book includes 10 essays by leading academics in the field of rock art study in southern Africa. The essays offer explanations and insights into the meaning behind the paintings.
The full colour plates of Stephen’s documentary paintings, reveal his meticulous attention to detail as he attempts to capture not only every detail in the paintings but also the nuances and features in the rock background at each site. Often San artists would incorporate natural features in the rock, into their paintings so it is essential to the author that these features be present in his paintings.
Rock Paintings of South Africa – Revealing a Legacy won joint second prize in the Noma book awards for publishing excellence in Africa.

Reservoirs of Potency - In 2008, a selection of Stephen’s most striking documentary paintings was exhibited at the Origins Centre Museum at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa. Each of the 30 artworks on display was accompanied by an explanatory text panel written Professor David Lewis-Williams, one of South Africa’s leading academics in the field of rock art research. A selection of the implements used by Stephen to create the documentary artworks was on display for public viewing. These included natural materials collected in the field such as various coloured ochres, and raw materials Stephen collected and fashioned into painting implements such as hair and feather brushes.The book, Reservoirs of Potency, that accompanied the exhibition, was written in such a way that it could be enjoyed as a, “stand alone” publication well after the exhibition was over.

The Rock Art of Misgund Orchards - In 2012 Stephen was commissioned to document 10 paintings from a unique site in the Langkloof Valley in the southern Cape. The landowners were concerned that the paintings, were weathering and one day would not be visible to future generations. The project took several months and concluded with documentary paintings and a privately published book, entitled, The Rock Art of Misgund Orchards. This book is not for sale to public. However, Stephen can produce similar style books for landowners who want to record their rock art in the same way.

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