After the Harvest by Louis Chanu

Louis Chanu (1968-)

After the Harvest


“Living in the heart of the Winelands, we are very aware of the changing of the seasons, and in particular when the picking seasons happen, as the town is filled with the bustling activity of the farmworkers. When the harvest ends, it is a big celebration, as the hard work has been done and it is time to relax and enjoy the fruits of the harvest. Music is such an integral part in the celebration at the end of the harvest. This is what inspired this sculpture. After the Harvest forms part of the People of Africa series, which depicts the ordinary, everyday people of Africa.”  – Louis Chanu

Louis Chanu has had a passion for sculpting since he was a child. He grew up on farms in South Africa and Swaziland, where he developed a love of African life that can be seen depicted in many of his sculptures. He studied design engineering drawing, and briefly worked in this profession, while always making clay sculptures and selling them from his garage. Louis soon went on to pursue a full-time sculpting career, which he found much more rewarding.

In 1991, Louis established a garden-sculpture business, which gave him the freedom and finance to move out of the city and build a studio, where he started doing bronze sculpture. Louis fell in love with bronze as a medium, saying that it allows a sculptor to aim for intricacy not always possible with other material.  Louis’ recent technique involves the innovative use of precision nickel plating on the bronze, which explores the qualities of reflections of light on bronze and nickel, allowing for endless possibilities in his work. Louis still creates bronzes, but his latest passion is his Illuminated steel and stainless-steel sculptures. This unique concept combines the beauty of art and functionality of light, and took two years of research to perfect.

Louis’ main focus with regards to his bronze sculptures has developed around the themes of Woman of our Time and People of Africa, but his bronzes also explore themes ranging from ordinary people, to wildlife, to aviation, and to a nostalgia for childhood in a pre-digital age. He chooses the subjects he sculpts by relying on “an emotional feeling that I get about something in particular – I will just feel the need to create or sculpt a particular scene”. Louis’ lifelong love of sculpting is what has kept him grounded.