The traditions of fine French winemaking will be paired with the best young African art talents at the 18th Absa Champagne Festival in October.
Presented by Absa as a memorable client evening, the event is highly anticipated on the Johannesburg social calendar.
“There is a huge legacy to many of the champagne houses which will be at the event, and Absa has a long history of growing the arts on the continent,” said Winston Monale, Managing Executive for Absa Wealth and Investment Management. “We are counterbalancing the traditions of the one with the creativity of the other, meeting our clients in between as people who enjoy the greater things in life, from wine to art, food and lifestyle.”
For the second year, the art component of the Champagne Festival plays a vital role in creating a vibrant and entertaining event. Curated by Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa’s senior specialist art curator, the combination of wall hangings and sculpture will cater to diverse tastes.
“We have predominantly focused on a younger generation of artists from across Africa, most of whom have come through Absa L’Atelier, Africa’s most prestigious art competition. All works have been uniquely commissioned for this event,” Bayliss said. “Artists have been given freedom to create their own content, using topical issues or exploring their own identities as artists.”
With Absa establishing itself as a digitally-led bank, it should come as no surprise that for the first time, some of the artworks will have an augmented reality aspect. “There will be a QR code adjacent to the work which you can scan with your smartphone, this will either take you to a video of an interview with the artists or a behind-the-scenes of the artwork.” South African artist, Jenna Burchell has created a sound sculpture, a bone replica of a found tortoiseshell from Cradle of Humankind. This comes from her larger international project, Songsmith, and her series therein, Fragile Home.
Being a festival of champagne, a unique work commissioned out of champagne cork by Mandy Coppes Martin will be one of the centrepieces.
The works, which Bayliss describes as “for the investor looking to acquire future talent” will be available for purchase via Absa’s art team during the event, priced from a couple of thousand to several hundred thousand.
Guests at the festival will sip champagne while feasting on delicious cuisine by By Word of Mouth, including freshly shucked oysters with a variety of toppings, a sushi, salmon and tuna station, a French-inspired cheese table, the popular kebab braai and mouth-watering desserts.
“As always, we look forward to the Festival as a reward for our valued clients and an occasion to socialise with them in a relaxed and beautiful setting,” Monale said.
One of the world’s largest gatherings of champagne houses, the event boasts more than 25 of the big names and some smaller growers, including Drappier, Billecart-Salmon, Laurent Perrier, GH Mumm, Taittinger, Bollinger, Lanson and Louis Roederer. More than 50 champagnes will be available for tasting.
The luxury event will be held at the Polo Room at the Inanda Club from 16 – 18 October. Tickets for the public night on 18 October are available, cost R1,250.
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