|Born 1932 in Durban, South Africa (passed away on 11 July 2009)
| From: The South African Art Times
The passing of Aidan Walsh
Durban artist, Aidan Walsh died last Saturday of a heart attack, after a long battle with illness and cancer. Walsh, who founded the successful Walsh Marais Gallery in Durban and spent many years as the curator of the NSA gallery (now the KZNSA), was also a respected artist in his own right. Walsh was known for his watercolours of bleak landscapes and historical buildings and was once commissioned to produce a portrait of former president, Nelson Mandela. Along with partner of over forty years, artist Andrew Verster, he was a central figure in the Durban art scene.
In an obituary for Tonight, friend and fellow artist Marianne Meijer says Walsh was “a gentle giant of the art world...In his earlier days he was the life and soul at parties, sometimes dancing on the table, at other moments sitting quietly and having an intimate chat.”
From Tonight online:
Walsh was a giant in art
By Marianne Meijer
Durban artist Aidan Walsh died last week on July 11. He and his life-long partner, well-known artist Andrew Verster, were the backbone of Durban's art community.
During the past year Walsh bravely fought a battle with ill-health. Born in Durban, 1932, where he has worked most of his life, Walsh was trained at the Natal Technical College and later in London at the Hammersmith School of Art.
He began Durban's Walsh Marais Gallery dedicated to regular monthly exhibitions of contemporary art, showing, among others, Walter Battiss, Cecily Sash, Patrick O'Connor and Andrew Verster.
A large number of today's established artists were given their first shows at the Walsh Marais - among them are well known names like Bronwen Findlay, Malcolm Christian and Paul Stopforth.
Primarily known for his seemingly desolate landscapes and outwardly empty buildings, he was also known for his fascination with places of history - not only historic spaces, buildings or sites, but also those spaces that hold memories.
He lived and worked in Paris in 1989, 1994 and 1998 and has worked fulltime since his return from his first sojourn in Paris.
He painted Parisian churches, gargoyles, empty parks and graves of long- gone important people. The many owners of his paintings can be very proud to own his art work.
He used to say: "I am drawn to stone - stone figures in parks, religious figures in churches and temples, rock formations, stone in decay, silent empty houses, dark churches, empty landscapes. I only paint things which affect me. If something does not touch me; it is not worth the effort."
He was influential in the South African art scene since 1961, as a gallerist and curator. His work is in the Durban Art Gallery, the Pretoria Art Museum, the Natal Technikon, the Wooltru Collection, France, UK, India, Australia and New Zealand. Aidan Walsh was not only a fantastic artist, he was so much more … a gentle giant in the art world. In sickness and in health he was loved and respected and his death leaves an enormous emptiness.
There will be a funeral service for Aidan Walsh in the chapel at Nazareth House on Monday July 20 at 4pm.
Would friends please bring a flower or two from their garden. At 5pm on the same day you are invited to a celebration of his life at the KZNSA Gallery, with music and song, poetry and words.On July 26, Walsh's birthday, Verster will plant a tree in his memory at the KZNSA.
Article published online at: http://www.tonight.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=356&fArticleId=5085476
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