Prince Albert’s Piet Balelie, a colourful person. He is wellknown throughout the village for his bright and colourful clothing and unusual hats. He uses these as a means of communication. “Each hat in itself is a story. Each sums up Piet’s philosophy of life. He is illiterate, yet he has an enviable ability to use words, stories, rhymes, riddles and jokes to share his world with others. He also has an effective way of bringing his philosophies into his paintings,” says artist and SASA Fellow, Christine Thomas, who is presenting a special exhibition of his works, words and world.. Entitled Een Mens Het Baie Name (One Person Has Many Names) it opens in Prince Albert on April l. 2011 “This exhibition is a multi-dimensional portrait of Piet, his extraordinary clothing and colourful hats, many of which will also be on show,” says Christine.
Christine, who lives in Prince Albert, has long used local inhabitants and their stories as a theme. In the past her exhibitions have recorded the stories of forced removals and the riddles of Gamkaskloof, “The Hel”. So many residents in this area have so many wonderful stories to tell and Christine has captured many in her artworks. She maintains she has the ability to “paint in Afrikaans.”
She and “Outa Piet”. as Piet Balelie is fondly known, have been meeting for several years “These conversations have always been lively and over the years his clothing, especially his hats, have become more elaborate,” she says.