RIP Wolf Weinek

Cati Weinek remembers Wolf Weinek below:

Wolf Weinek (74) passed away on Saturdaynight at his home surrounded by loved ones. Though he still had many plans andideas of what he wanted to do, his heart was no longer able to do the job. In his ‘retirement’ years he followed hisearliest passion of books and started a bookshop of used and antiquarian bookswhich moved from The Market Theatre Precinct to Melville and recently to 44Stanley Avenue. His lasting contribution though is to the individualartists that he nurtured, inspired and supported, be it through a variety ofinitiatives such as his gallery in Hillbrow and later in his home inKensington; then as a founding member with Michael Goldberg and Paul Stopforthof the Market Gallery in 1977. TheMarket Gallery gave a platform to many of South Africa’s most celebratedartists of today who in the late 70s and early 80s were ignored by the artestablishment dominated by narrowness, Apartheid and provincialism. Artistsinclude Wayne Barker, Deborah Bell, Wopko Jensma, William Kentridge (his firstexhibition was at the Market Gallery in 1979!), Kay Hassan, Robert Hodgins, BrettMurray, Joachim Schonfeldt, Lucas Seage, Margaret Vorster, Barend De Wet, SueWilliamson…. Even his and Gundi’s home was always opento artists. Here they found nourishment in many forms. Even refuge andconvalescence was offered when needed. But he also contributed to the sustenanceof the Market Theatre which suffered a dreadful lack of funding throughout itsfirst decade and a half. He was inspired to start Johannesburg’s first fleamarket on the Mary Fitzgerald Square…taking on the city administrators who hadno vision for something like this. Eventually this market became a Saturday institutionin Johannesburg were many more established traders of today first started outand ended up spawning many more markets around the market. But these marketswere for private gain, while all the money from this market went intosustaining an institution that fed the city and our nation with groundbreakingtheatre, art, music and photography. Most of his contributions were made as avolunteer because he never wanted to be put on anyone’s payroll …but sustainedhis family with his teacher’s salary, his art and later through his and wifeGundi’s bookshop. So much more could be said about hispassion and generosity and his need to make this world a better place.