03 Feb The Art of Connection with KZN-Based Sculptor Peter Hall
A classically trained sculptor living in the Karkloof Valley, Peter Hall has fulfilled some of the most important commissions for public and private sculptures in KwaZulu Natal. To Hall, artists today have the opportunity to effect positive change in society and, through his own work, he weaves stories of connection: to a complex history, to our fellow human beings and to the earth. We spoke with him to learn more about his creative background and artistic practice.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Addington Hospital, Durban in 1961 and at the age of three my family immigrated to Australia on the Northern Star. After Living in Sydney for 10 years we sailed back to South Africa on the Canberra and I then started my high schooling at DHS, Durban. I went on to beach bum for six months and then did my “national service” for two years. Many varied memories come back to me from those years and they certainly have an influence on my artwork.
Tell us a bit about your background and what has led to your life as an artist.
My mother Dell Hall painted beautiful oil paintings and watercolours and she drew wonderful drawings in pencil, ink and crayon. I grew up watching her at work and she was always showing me techniques and giving me tips while she worked. She introduced me to the artwork of many great artists through her large collection of art books. She took me to see exhibitions of Picasso, Van Gogh, Mattisse, Henry Moore, Rodin, Brancussi and Giacometti to name but a few! Dell’s passion rubbed off on me and it has very much led the way throughout my career.
How did you come to sculpting as your medium of choice?
I learnt a great deal about manufacturing and building and engineering from spending long hours in the garage or on the land with my dad, John Hall, who was an outdoorsman and a farmer and a photographer. My brother, Mike Hall, is an outdoorsman, sportsman and photographer. His unique creative spirit has been with me from the start. He taught me about style.
These skill sets given to me by my family, combined with a romantic idea that it would be cool to be a sculptor, is what led me to being a sculptor.
Your work adheres uncompromisingly to the classical discipline of sculpture. Why is this important to you?
I love the ambient dynamics that are created by placing a sculpture in any given space. I enjoy physical fitness, so I enjoy the physical exercise inherent in making sculptures and feeling my body at work. For the future, I will also be making paintings, drawings, mosaics and prints as well as sculptures.
What are you most interested in conveying through your work?
That we are all connected, that there is a spirit world woven into our lives. That it is great to be alive! That sustainable living is achievable and that a beautiful work of art makes the world a better place to live in.
What is the role of art in South Africa today, as you see it?
I personally respond the best to artwork that delivers a positive influence on the society that it serves. Our echelons of artists wield a powerful tool of influence with their art. With the state of the world as it is today our artists have an opportunity to create works that affect a positive change in a myriad of ways for our suffering society. The artists can record history as it happens in the most profound way.
Are you working on any interesting or exciting projects at the moment?
I have a series of table top cultural Zulu pieces which will soon be ready to cast in bronze. These include a kneeling and singing Zulu Queen with her toddling little Prince holding her hand, a Zulu Warrior King leading an impi into battle, a Nguni Cow and Calf. Also as part of this collection I have already cast my bronze Nguni Bull which is currently available for purchase. I also have my 330mm high, Angel of Abundant Love. She will also be available soon as limited editions in bronze, white concrete and resin. My friend Gerald has asked me to make the skull for his T. Rex skeleton that he has been building. I am currently building the skull as a lightweight ferro-concrete sculpture.
A selection of Hall’s work will be exhibited at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre from mid-March. To keep up with his work, follow @peter.hall.art on IG.