Jo-an Peters has a deep connection with South Africa and its people, and she’s hoping an art exhibition in Qualicum Beach will help her continue her work there.
Peters was born in South Africa but has lived in Canada since 1967. She worked as a physiotherapist before completing a masters degree in epidemiology and biostatistics. At the age of 68, she completed her PhD and has been working most recently as a researcher focusing on prostate cancer and helping those who suffer from the disease.
When Peters finds time, she works on her art, both painting and sculpting. An African art show, held at the Art Worx Gallery in Qualicum Beach until Sept. 1, will have two sculptures and one mixed-media piece from Peters, and the rest of the paintings are by an African artist called Selesho. Peters’ sculptures are made with paper mache bases, they are bronzed in South Africa and then finished in Arizona, where she and her husband spend part of their year.
Peters returns to South Africa regularly, where she and her husband have been putting two black children, a brother and sister, through school for the past 12 years. Now one of the siblings, Yvonne Ngcobo, is entering her second year of nursing school and Peters needs to raise some funds to pay the fees. She has put together the local art show of her Seleshos work, with all the proceeds raised going towards Ngcobo’s last year of nursing.
“I’m trying to raise $3,000,” she said. “That’s what I need to get her through the up coming school year.”
Peters described Ngcobo as a “tenacious little girl” who completed her school certificate even though she had a fractured pelvis and was bedridden leading up to the finals. She wakes every morning at 4 a.m. to get an hour of studying in before she leaves home. Transportation costs are extremely expensive for Ngcobo, Peters explained.
Peters acquired Selesho’s work from a physician friend of hers in South Africa. Salesho didn’t have the money to pay for medical care in South Africa and instead paid the doctor with his artwork. The doctor is a friend of Peters’ and mailed her the paintings to use for her cause. There are four framed pieces by Selesho and 10 unframed pieces.
The Art Worx Gallery is located at 701 Primrose St. in Qualicum Beach, across from the Liquor Store. For more information visit www.artworxgallery.com or call 250-752-7350.