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New on the 'Circa' circuit

“The world is not well,” declares artist Beezy Bailey. His prophetic statement comes weeks before the opening of his exhibition and Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections.

“The earth is sick and the sky is vomiting mud,” he says. He doesn’t mean this literally – he is referring to the metaphorical world that pervades a new series of paintings. The exhibition sounds gloomy, but the art and the event that launched the new Circa gallery in the refurbished Unlundi House on the Portswood Ridge, was surprisingly festive, despite the inclement weather.

Cape Town’s well-to-do turned up in droves filling the cavernous two floor building overlooking the harbour. Where once in the 1800s port engineers rattled around in the stone building, it was filled with socialites, art buyers and industry people spying each other and the art of

Bailey and young upstart Liberty Battson.

It was a good idea pairing a senior artist well known in moneyed social circles in Cape Town with a virtually unknown Joburg-based artist working in a minimalist abstract language. In this way gallerist, Charles Shields, had both bases covered, delivering on both the expected and the unexpected and cheeky– Battson’s exhibition is titled I bet you wish you did this.

I bet everyone there was wishing they were in Battson or Bailey’s shoes as the dots gathered next to their works, indicating sales or at least serious interest. The two artists work might be united by their bold use of colour but it could not be more different.

Bailey’s 1000 year Dance Cure exhibition is driven by intuition and relates to primordial mythology – that dance is a necessary form of expression and humanity. Bailey’s solution for this “sick” world is dancing. Lots of it. The theme is overstated, manifesting in dancing figures in almost every artwork on the exhibition. You find yourself attaching different feelings to these figures; some appear lonely, withdrawn and lost in their own worlds, while others look carefree and joyful.