Life is so full of challenges and hardships these days, one could argue that art and storytelling are more important to society than ever before. Award-winning North Coast author Dianne Stewart recently launched a short story collection and used a painting by acclaimed Ballito artist Jane Digby for the cover.
Art, they say, influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experiences. It’s a means of communication, allowing people from different cultures to connect through images and stories.
How fortunate we are then, to have a wide array of skilled and talented artists, ranging from painters and sculptors to writers, dancers, singers and actors, living right here on the North Coast.
In her newly released book, Nuances (a collection of short stories), Dianne combines her skills and expertise with artist Jane’s in a beautiful, meaningful way.
An author, lecturer and academic, Dianne has written over 40 books for both adults and children. Not only have her short stories been included in a literary journal, but one of them, The Crash, has been prescribed in the education system in both South Africa and Namibia.
It was during lockdown last year that she compiled her collection of short stories for Nuances.
“A book is a collaborative effort. When I needed to source a cover, I remembered a beautiful abstract oil painting I saw at Jane’s solo exhibition at Simbithi Estate in 2019. The painting was called Abstract Thorns 11.”
Jane has been an artist for over 24 years and is well known both locally and internationally for her exquisite portraiture and atmospheric landscapes. She prides herself on creating works that she says ‘begin a dialogue between artist, painting and viewer’. “My artworks are a cultural dialogue that concerns larger contextual frameworks such as personal and cultural identity, family, community, nationality and a journey with my own physicality and spirituality,” says Jane.
Having exhibited in the UK and around South Africa for a number of years, Jane participated in the XIIth Florence Biennale in Italy and hosted two solo exhibitions in 2019. Both her solo exhibitions, she says, were about celebrating life and ‘living in the now’.
Last year was an exciting one for Jane, when she got the opportunity to own, manage and curate the 800m² pop-up gallery at the Lifestyle Centre Ballito over a three-month period. Here Jane exhibited over 30 of her own artworks as well as work from over 120 other artists.
According to Dianne, the book cover designer skilfully adapted Jane’s painting to form the front cover and back cover for Nuances. “It’s such a privilege to have Jane’s superb oil painting as a cover for this short story collection. It also synchronizes well with the title and content of the short stories.”
Dianne says she especially loves writing short stories, because they can be read in one sitting. Nuances is a collection of stories reflecting significant moments and events in the character’s lives.
The introduction was written by Professor Lindy Stiebel of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “I first met Prof Stiebel when she co-authored a definitive work on literary trails, including one for the North Coast, called A Literary Guide to KwaZulu-Natal. When the short story text was complete, I asked Professor Stiebel to write the introduction for Nuances. It’s such an honour to have collaborated with these two amazing experts, academic Lindy and talented artist, Jane,” says Dianne.
Win Nuances is available at Exclusive Books and Bargain Books for R240. We have two copies to give away. To enter, find this post on our social media platforms (@GetItMagNC) and follow the instructions. Good luck!
Details: Dianne: www.diannestewart.co.za, 0832889204, [email protected]; Jane: @digbyfineart,