Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.” If he were alive today, he would probably say, “An artist’s home in Johannesburg is at Melrose Arch.”
Art is important to Melrose Arch, as can be seen by the inclusion of various elements throughout the precinct, such as the beautiful Gaudí-inspired mosaics between Orient and Moyo restaurants and the tiles on the Square, as well as the solid blocks of coloured tiles on the High Street Tower, reminiscent of Mondrian’s work. Melrose Arch is also home to The Melrose Gallery, which focuses on contemporary African art.
Melrose Arch believes art must be easily accessible and enjoyed often, and artists must be encouraged and supported whenever possible, which is why August and September are being devoted to a celebration of art at Melrose Arch.
An outdoor exhibition of bronze sculptures of women by Jean Doyle 9-27 August, 2017
Being immortalised in a work of art is reserved for people of stature, so it was with great delight that Melrose Arch learnt of renowned sculptor Jean Doyle’s latest work, The Ladies of Melrose Arch, which will be unveiled at an outdoor exhibition of bronze sculptures of women at Melrose Arch from 9-27 August.
Jean Doyle is one of South Africa’s leading sculptors. Internationally renowned, Doyle has had a number of solo and group exhibitions and her work is in private collections all over the world. South Africans will know her statue of Just Nuisance, the famous Navy dog, which stands in Simon’s Town’s Jubilee Square, and her statue of a jubilant Nelson Mandela at the gates of Groot Drakenstein (formerly Victor Verster) Prison that pays tribute to the country’s most beloved statesman, standing on the spot where Madiba took his first steps as a free man.
Doyle’s veneration of the fuller female figure has become a trademark of her work. To celebrate Women’s Month, there will be 30 Jean Doyle bronze sculptures of women dotted around Melrose Arch from Women’s Day on 9 August. Bold, capable and confident, with curvaceous bodies, the women exude resilience, strength and warmth, and depict the cultural diversity of our country.
The Ladies of Melrose Arch comprises two magnificent pieces so far, the first being of two beautiful Johannesburg women taking some time out during a shopping spree to enjoy a glass of wine. An extra chair at the table allows members of the public to join the women and have their photographs taken. The second piece is of a woman at the start of a shopping trip, carrying a parcel.
“I had an exhibition at Melrose Arch in 2005, during which time I spent many hours in various coffee shops and restaurants watching sophisticated people go by,” Doyle says. “I was particularly taken with the beautiful women I saw, their elegance, poise and energy. I decided then I would do a series of sculptures of The Ladies of Melrose Arch.
“I believe Melrose Arch is one of the best meeting places and business centres in the country. I envisage this to be the first of about five sculptures in the Ladies of Melrose Arch series, all celebrating multicultural friendships and the beauty of the women seen in Melrose Arch.”
“We are honoured that an artist of Jean Doyle’s stature is paying tribute to Melrose Arch in such a manner,” says Mike Vermaak, MD of Melrose Arch. “This sculpture captures perfectly one aspect of Melrose Arch, and we look forward to seeing the rest of The Ladies of Melrose Arch sculptures in years to come.”