Design with a Midas touch: creatives honour SA's iconic Krugerrand

Top artists and designers have created special pieces in celebration of the Krugerrand’s 50th birthday

03 August 2017 - 14:39 By Emma Jordan
Jeweller Pichulik created a necklace inspired by the innate nature of the coins - the historical value and physical elements like the gold, the weight and the circles.
Jeweller Pichulik created a necklace inspired by the innate nature of the coins - the historical value and physical elements like the gold, the weight and the circles.
Image: Supplied

Since its launch in 1967, more than 53-million ounces of gold (more than 60-million pieces) have been sold in the form of the Krugerrand.

This year the revered bullion coin celebrates its golden jubilee and in honour limited edition weights and precious metals have been released.

These include limited-edition 5oz coins and, for the first time, a silver series.

Importantly, the SA Mint aligns itself with the arts by commissioning celebratory artworks and design pieces. These include the original design drawings for the Krugerrand alongside a selection of artists' work that will be on display at the Joburg Art Fair, plus a selection of curated design pieces shown at 100% Design next week.

Designers that take the stand at 100% Design include South African fashion and homeware creatives who were asked to reinterpret elements of the iconic Krugerrand. Originally displayed at the World Money Fair in Berlin in February, this is the first time they'll be on show in South Africa.

Jeweller Pichulik created a necklace inspired by the innate nature of the coins - the historical value and physical elements like the gold, the weight and the circles.

Ceramic Matters took its inspiration from the aloe that was originally drawn by lauded South African artist Coert Steynberg.

Debby van der Veer of Blandat studio's Krugerrand-inspired scarf.
Debby van der Veer of Blandat studio's Krugerrand-inspired scarf.
Image: Supplied

Debby van der Veer of the Johannesburg-based Blandat studio created a scarf that's a symphony of colour and texture. A bright representation of the best of South Africa with a pattern held together by the iconic coin.

"My designs are often about playing with contrasts and meaning," says the designer. "For this special commission I wanted to bring together colour and texture, underpinned by a unique history and culture."

Other designers include Thabo Makhetha, who created an elegant cape out of a Basotho blanket with gold highlights.

At the same time, in homage to the life span of the bullion coin, the SA Mint launched the Witness campaign and invited six South African designers to reinterpret momentous events that have occurred throughout the 50-year existence of the world's most covetable bullion coin.

The artists include Robyn Pretorius, Sindiso Nyoni, Mark Rautenbach, Lwandiso Njara, Nina Torr and Anton Karstel - all on display at the Joburg Art Fair next month.

Design star Nyoni, from Bulawayo, was part of the Making Africa exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao in 2015 and has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City.

A Krugerrand-inspired handbag by Okapi.
A Krugerrand-inspired handbag by Okapi.
Image: Supplied

•Revered South African painter Karstel was invited to paint the moment in 1967 when Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the word's first heart transplant. The painting is imbued with drama, the weight of the occasion carried through the expression on patient Louis Washkansky's face.

Equally laden, Mark Rautenbach's sculptural piece is a symbolic joining. Created by shredding a photo of the Berlin Wall and knitting this together, the Cape Town artist's piece is layered with a softness that gives a positive view on the transition forward following a complex political and social situation.

All these pieces will be displayed alongside a special installation of the original Coert Steynberg drawings and a rendering of the unique Krugerrand font.

"Celebrating the legacy of a coin that pioneered gold-coin investing is a great honour," said SA Mint managing director Tumi Tsehlo.

This article was originally published in The Times.

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