THE Miss Annabel Dee gallery is overjoyed with the fantastic response from local artists to its open arts exhibition... and is even including some which has travelled from South Africa.

It's the third open art exhibition the gallery in Leigh Road has held, this one titled Spring Fever, and has been more successful than ever, receiving praise from Robin Woodhead, chairman of Sotheby's International.

Well-known local artists such as Hashim Akib, Paul Alcock and Malcolm Perry submitted pieces, alongside many emerging artists. The South African artwork was included following Annabel's connection to London based curator Christian Ravina. Annabel met Christian at a ceramic exhibition at Sotheby's held to raise awareness of the talented potters and ceramicists at the ELC Art and Craft Centre in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The craft centre is said to be "home to many talented crafts people who, under the apartheid years, learnt to tell their truth whilst still concealing their personal stories and views of the world in which they were living".

Mr Woodhead, who was involved in the project, said: "I'm delighted that Annabel, an experienced artist with a thriving career in Britain, is opening her space to these artists. Here she has generated an interesting dialogue between their pieces and hers, both of which I have enjoyed over the years, some being commissioned for my family and friends.

"Through my association with the David Rattray Foundation, a Zululand based charity that supports the education of local children, Annabel's interest in this work has been realised. "And now there is the possibility of stimulating a new creative energy from these ceramicists in far distant Zululand, an energy that adds compellingly to their existing cultural identity."

Annabel Johnson, owner of the Miss Annabel Dee gallery, said: "I'm so excited for the public to see this exhibition - there is such a wide range of styles and subjects. We've had so many submissions - and we haven't got enough room!

"We will be putting some of the paintings on rotation so everyone's work gets seen".

The exhibition is open now until Monday May 2 at the gallery in Leigh Road, Leigh.

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