Flipflop Sculptures

Meet the flip-flop rhino in the hallway

The brilliant Davis Ndungu has a tiny booth in the huge arts and crafts centre on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. His company is called Flip Flop Sculptures. On a somewhat overcast May day in Cape Town (misguidedly we had forgotten that May meant winter was just around the corner in this part of the world – derr!), the array of multi-coloured, fantastic beasts of all shapes and sizes, each one created out of recycled rubber flip flops, made us chuckle out loud. We were tempted to buy a menagerie, but settled for our solitary rhino who still makes us smile every time we enter the flat. (Incidentally, the lapis lazuli blue on the walls of our tiny hall is also a homage to South Africa – unashamedly nicked from one of the rooms in the delightful, highly recommended Lézard Bleu Guest House in Oranjezicht.)

Actually Cape Town was a bit lethal on the shopping front. We were staying at the adorable, pint-sized Dock House hotel, tucked away invisibly opposite the giant ferris wheel on the waterfront. Its walls featured tantalising art, all loaned or purchased from the Everard Read Gallery just a couple of minutes’ walk away. Well – no harm in taking a look, is there? After pleasant conversations, first with the young women in the office and then with a charming Italian artist who was currently exhibiting at the gallery and who very sweetly signed a couple of catalogues for us, we noticed a ‘tiny’ painting of a suffragette painted in blurry extravagant swirls of paint applied like toothpaste, in an old weathered frame and crowned by an indiscriminate tangle of copper wire… It now hangs on the wall of the flat in Granada. It is the work of the highly idiosyncratic South African artist Nigel Mullins. (Actually we just bought another of his works – the perilous aspect of Wanderlust shopping)