an arrow facing downwards

Jo Roets really took wing as an artist on the cusp of her 40th birthday. In 2017, aged 38, and after 14 years as a senior lecturer in a multimedia film school, she stepped away from academic life to focus on her own art. A year later her work was selected for three prominent South African competitions, and she won the inaugural StateoftheART Gallery Award. Other shows and accolades quickly followed, resulting in her first solo exhibition, Mantra Mãe, at StateoftheART Gallery in 2019. By 2020, recognition for her delicately considered sculptures took her work internationally.

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The Chimera Gallery in Mullingar, Ireland, is surprisingly large, and shows a breadth of artistic works that belies its unpretentious setting. I spoke to the owner- gallerist Dave O’Shea about the space and the artists he represents.

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Gregory MacCarthy sourced his first range of Ghanaian baskets while shaded by the leaves and branches of a baobab tree. It was the seed of a global export business that’s today recognised as one of a select few creative social enterprises that has lasted the distance.

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Actor, composer, playwright, director, author, student of psychology, hatmaker … these are some of the titles linked to JonCha the multidisciplinary artist behind a range of hats that retail under the Agave Road label. His original interest in hat-making began on a US road trip from Austin to LA with his wife, the Swedish photographer Anna Malmberg. He found himself falling for old hats imbued with character and stories, discovered in small desert towns along the way.

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Jessica Bosworth Smith’s paintings depict sumptuous interiors, exotic exteriors, verdant jungles, cosy kitchens and cats, cats and more cats as she explores her interest in spaces both familiar and fantastical. She opens up about topics from creative discipline to creative block and answers the Safari & Living Proust(ish) Questionnaire.  On her choice of subject matter  […]

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After graduating with a diploma in graphic design and briefly working in that field, Buhle Ramalepa took a leap of faith to earn her way as an unknown artist. Five years on she's painting walls... Building on her portfolio of bold, large-format surface patterns, she was commissioned to paint murals for the chic urban Black […]

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Paul Kristafor's turned wood vessels are as delicate as porcelain and seem to hum with an inner life that dictates their forms. I called on him in his Porterville studio to talk about his work. Paul Kristafor has been turning wood as an art form for close to four years. “The first two and a […]

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The wanderlust life of Divya Aurora Zeiss-Cohen, the name behind the design agency Swantribune, has paused - for now - in the shadow of the Italian Alps, but her work continues to evoke the romance of travel in bygone eras. With a name as beautifully evocative as hers, it’s fitting that Divya Aurora Zeiss-Cohen would […]

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A Spanish master artisan weaver, Javier Medina has revived a traditional craft by giving it a contemporary flair. Esparto grass weaving is a traditional craft native to Spain's large inland Extramadura region, where he grew up. For centuries, esparto was plaited and woven to make everyday functional items and furnishing. With the rise of convenience […]

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Although she’d far rather be in her large studio that floats at tree height dappled in autumn leaf and music, Sue Martin welcomes me warmly at her front door. Martin is an established mixed-media contemporary artist whose work has headlined in group and solo exhibitions. One of her trademarks is her daring with materials and […]

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Safari Girl


I’m Bev Tucker, a lifestyle journalist living in Ireland. I grew up in various far-flung corners of Africa where I had the privilege of being taken on long expeditions to wildlife reserves and other interesting places in the trusty family Land Rover, which was loaded with everything we might need for the duration. These were my first safaris and sparked my love of nature and an enduring curiosity about the world. Safari is a Swahili word that means 'to explore, away from home', which prompted the name of this blog. Please enjoy browsing and feel free to contact me with ideas, queries or commissions.

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