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Creation continues incessantly through the medium of man, Anton believes. Man himself then is mouthpiece, medium and meaning all in one, and his challenge as an artist is to create himself over and over again, finding new connotations and new concepts in given shapes, figures and faces.
Man emulates and assimilates nature, producing poetry in word and form.
Some observers have noted that this is why so many of his pieces, even the most abstract ones, manage to communicate powerfully and emotionally and why his work is possessed of a raw, earthy power that feels innately African. His body of work comprises towering human figures, nudes, impressive heads, masks, hands, angels, floating and stretching figures, warriors as well as abstract works, using mostly steel, metal, fiberglass and bronze.
Anton likes to imbue his work with an illusion of movement or gesture, bodies curling up or limbs reaching out to the onlooker, inspirational action figures
projecting tremendous emotion, a call to movement. He works with metals and stones, also creating a unique iron and polymer cast mixture, which combines metal with several other mediums.
Anton spends and works the first three months of the year in his Cape studios in Strand and for the rest of the year in his studios at Bronkhorstspruit Dam,
where he oversees a dedicated work force of 14 people. They are like family.
Anton Smit in his creative prime is a force to be reckoned with.
Anton achieved his first artistic breakthroughs in 1977, he received special mention in the South African Art Associations New Signatures competition in Pretoria. Two years later he had a great boost when he won first prize in the New Signatures competition.
He was the Artist of the month in 1982 at the Pretoria Art Museum this was followed in 1987 with his first one man exhibition in the Beuster Skolimowski Gallery in Pretoria and in 1989 another one man exhibition at the SAAA.
Since then he has held numerous exhibitions of his sculptures throughout South Africa, in Witrivier, Nelspruit, Pietersburg, Johannesburg, Potchefstroom, Durban, Cape Town, in leading galleries such as the Crake, Kraft, Olivetti, Michaelatos, Beuster Skolimowski, Everard Read and many others. His work has been exhibited in Rome and Milan, Italy. The M-Net Head Office bought large sculptures, and he completed commissioned works for BMW's head office in Midrand.
In 1994 he put 35 sculptures on exhibition in New York at the Grand Central Station as part of the Strengthening the Link initiative to boost trade between South Africa and The United States, organized by SATOUR in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry, represented by former president Nelson Mandela. He considers one of the highlights of his career The Age of Grace, an eight foot high bronze sculpture at the Grand Central Station, which celebrated South African Heritage and was displayed on the front page of The New York Times.
Anton Rupert bought one of Smit's works for the Rembrandt Foundation. A collection of his work was exhibited during the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 1994. Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu and ex minister Pik Botha bought some of his sculptures. Anton Smit's work has been shown and lauded internationally in places as diverse as Rome and Milan, Italy (1991), the Sweeguan Art Gallery in Singapore (1993), Bonn and Wolfsburg in Germany (1994), the SA Embassy in Bonn (1998), Amsterdam (2004) and Cologne (2014).
In 2000 work was commissioned by The University of Pretoria. In 2001 his works were purchased by the Rembrandt Foundation in Stellenbosch and a large work was commissioned by MNT Developers for the Boardwalk Meander.
In 2003 Smit opened his own sculpture garden, at the spectacular Anton Smit Sculpture Park in Aqua Vista, with a breathtaking view of Bronkhorstspruit Dam. In the same year he created the enormous Sandstone Head (2 X 3 meter) for a European art collector.
Other landmark exhibitions and art commissions he completed include the Public Commission National library of Tshwane in Pretoria (2007); No Second Death exhibition in Franschhoek at the Grande Provance Wine Estate and Gallery (2009); a large sandstone head and other art commissioned by Graff-Delaire Wine Estate (2009);
Facets exhibition and Angels exhibition at the Anton Smit Gallery (2010); Transitions at Anton Smit Gallery and Faith at the Grand Hyatt Regency Hotel and Golf Estate Oubaai (2011); Transcendental Head/Kungwini public sculpture on the R25, a symbol of the
new SA (2012); Metal work exhibition in Stellenbosch and The Continuous Redemption of Man at the Gallery on Leviseur, Bloemfontein,
Innibos festival in Nelspruit (2013); Art Affair at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg (2014),
Transections in the Young Blood gallery in Cape Town and a monumental commission for Menlyn Maine (2014). Anton Smit's much-anticipated solo sculpture exhibition Reverberating Time was shown at the Youngblood Gallery in Cape Town in March 2014. Half of the pieces in this solo exhibition were displayed for three days, then sent to Germany, where Youngblood Europe was presenting them as part of the world-renowned contemporary art fair, Art Cologne.
1970: First prize in the nationwide Bible Year Competition.
1979: First prize in New Signatures Competition, SA Association of Arts, Pretoria
1982: Artist of the month, Pretoria Art Museum.
1987: One-man exhibition, Beuster-Skolimowski Gallery.
1989: One-man exhibition, South African Association of Arts (SAAA).
1991: Exhibitions in Rome and Milan Italy.
International exhibition of Two Worlds in Spoletto, Italy.
1992: Large sculptures commissioned by BMW Head Office Johannesburg.
1993: One-man exhibition at Sweeguan Art Gallery, Singapore.
1994: One-man exhibition at Omni Gallery, New York.
Exhibition at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela at the Presidency.
Exhibition in Germany, Bonn, Wolfsburg.
1998: Exhibition at the South African Embassy, Bonn.
One-man exhibition Artfolio Gallery, Singapore.
1999: Exhibition at the Inter Art Galerie Reich, KoIn.
2001: Exhibition Hamburg, Germany.
Works purchased by Anton Rupert for the Rembrandt Foundation.
2004: Exhibition Amsterdam
2007: Public Commission : National Library of Tswane / Pta
2008: "Revelations Wall "- Exhibition / Sculpture Park "Relate "-Platform on 18th, Pretoria /
2009: "No second death "Exhibition, Wine Estate / Franschoek - Grande Provence
Delaire Wine Estate Stellenbosch - main artist
2010 "Facet" Exhibition/ Anton Smit Sculpture Park & Gallery
Exhibition Grande Provence Franschoek / "Angels"
"Poetry " Exhibition Charity / St Lorient / PTA
2011 "Transitions " Exhibition Anton Smit Sculpture Park
2012 "Transcendental Head "- public sculpture on the R25 - Symbol of the New South Africa
2013 "Metal Work" - Public Art in Stellenbosch II
2014 "Art Affair " - Saxon Hotel Jhb
Cool Capital participation
"Spirit of Tswane " Public sculpture for Menlyn Main precinct
"In Retrospect" - Stephan Welz
2015 "Smit & Smit" - Imibala Gallery
"Cross section exhibition" - Jan Royce Gallery, Cape Town
"In Retrospect" - Menlyn Boutique Hotel, Pretoria
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