Remembering Joan Allen

Joan Allen with Rusty.

The Joan Cundall Allen Memorial Art Exhibition at the Simon’s Town Library Hall will be opened at 6pm on Thursday July 14, by Marc Stanes, of Ebony Galleries, and will be open daily from Friday July 15 to Sunday 17, from 10am to 4pm.

Artist Joan Allen, who lived in Simon’s Town for 42 years, died at her home on February 3 after a short illness, and only four months before her 94th birthday.

Her tall, elegant figure – with impeccable dress sense – was well known. Everywhere Joan went, she nearly always wore her famous hat, and was accompanied by her dog, Rusty.

Joan’s family have requested that all proceeds from the sale of her paintings be donated to her favourite animal charities.

Joan was a member, and life member of many clubs including Probus, and her indigenous garden in Rocklands Road was visited annually by friends and members of the Garden Club.

Joan’s interests included flower arranging, including helping at the St Francis flower festivals; music, where she became an accomplished harp player; as well as her love of painting at which she excelled and exhibited until nearly the end of her long, healthy and very colour filled life.

Joan was born in England and studied Art at the Guildford School of Art.

She married after World War 2 and lived in Entebbe, Uganda and Lusaka, where she was very active in a variety of creative arts before moving to Johannesburg in 1966.

She studied with Sydney Goldblatt and held successful exhibitions at SA Association of Arts Gallery in Pretoria, the Walsh Marais Gallery in Durban, and Gallery 101 in Johannesburg.

Joan moved to Simon’s Town in 1974 and was one of the founder members of the Simon’s Town Art Group in 1998. She took an active part in all the Exhibitions and the Portrait and Life Drawing Monday sessions.

She has a variety of over 60 paintings in oil and watercolours.

Her paintings depict her life in Africa and range from vibrant abstracts, to dramatic seascapes, and delicate watercolour flower studies.

Joan’s love of animals led her to adopt rescue dogs whom she trained with great tenderness, healing them of the scars of their early existence.

Her last two rescue dogs, collies called Rusty and Monty, are a well known feature of her life, in Simon’s Town.

Her love of cats also enabled her to tame a feral cat who lived in her garden. After months of patient interaction, Nusu Nusu ended up being the most lap-and-home-loving cat she ever lived with.