Artist Halter invited to prestigious art residency


Zimbabwean-born, Cape Town-based artist Dan Halter is the latest southern African artist to be invited to the Scottish Highlands for the Glenfiddich whisky artists-in-residence programme, one of the world’s prestige art international projects.
Halter, who took part in the 10th Havana Biennale in Cuba last year, is one of the featured artists in the current, highly-selected Spier Contemporary 2010 exhibition at Cape Town’s city hall where he has two videos on show.
For Halter, who works in a variety of art media and is highly-regarded for tracing an individual, serious art career, the Scottish trip, at the invitation of Glenfiddich, offers not only an opportunity to extend his humanist, society-rooted art explorations, but to contribute and share with other international artists personal inter-active aesthetic experience. There is no restrictive brief for the residency.
Reticent by nature, Halter’s art-original inventions by a razor-sharp mind are said to be boldly engaging, eye-catching and thought-provoking. He places a strong accent on materials and methods of production, “preferring to use appropriate styles and play down the artist’s hand in the creative process”, he says. Yet his art is unmistakably individual.
It is this that makes him an ideal candidate for the Glenfiddich artists-in-residence programme, according to Glenfiddich marketing manager, Grant Sayers.
“Glenfiddich Scotch whisky is sold in over 180 countries and artists from any one of these markets could be invited. Halter’s growing reputation makes him an ideal candidate. The residency, a tremendous opportunity, may well take his art and career to another level through this opportunity and global exposure,” said Sayers.
Established in 2002, the prestigious Glenfiddich programme has seen 35 leading international artists from various countries living and working at the distillery at Dufftown.
The intention is that the distillery, Glenfiddich, the world’s leading single malt Scotch whisky, the process, the people, as well as the local Scottish environment will provide inspiration for the artists.
Artists have no set brief and have fairly open access to the distillery complex and production facilities and are able to create whatever work they desire.
Halter is the fourth South African to be invited since the Glenfiddich programme was established in 2002. Last year, another Capetonian, Dathini Mzayiya, joined seven other artists from around the world for the seventh annual creative get-together in Scotland.
The 33-year-old artist is well suited for this kind of artistic residency, working, as he often does, with inter-person issues set in highly-politicised social contexts.
His art is also media-driven and strongly founded in language, upping the potential connection with other artists from around the world at the Scottish residency. He has previously completed two international residencies, one in Zürich, Switzerland and one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Born in Harare, of Swiss parents (the African/European matrix is important in his progressive, acclaimed art endeavours), Halter graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town with a BA (FA) in 2001.
He had his first solo exhibition, Take Me to Your Leader at the João Ferreira gallery in Cape Town in 2006.
A serious theme, which continues to run through his work, is that of displacement.
Since graduating, he has participated in a number of important group exhibitions.
He has shown in Milan and Berlin, and at the Iziko SA National Gallery (which acquired a work for its permanent collection) and Johannesburg Art Gallery.
Other invitations included significant shows such as the MTN New Contemporaries at University of Johannesburg and the Festival Africain d’Images Virtuelles Artistiques in Bamako, Mali.