Born in Simon’s Town in 1929, Peter Clarke is a veteran artist, acclaimed poet and writer. With a career spanning six decades, Clarke is known for working across a broad spectrum of media, producing drawings, paintings, relief prints, etchings, book illustrations and collages.
Peter Clarke began his art classes in 1947 with John Coplans at the St Philips School near District Six, Cape Town. He had a brief stint at the Michaelis School of Art in Cape Town (1961), the Rijks Academie in Amsterdam (1962-1963) and at the Atelier Nord in Oslo (1978-1979). He has held solo and group exhibitions, attended workshops, taken up residencies, published his writing and recited his poetry in South Africa and internationally.
In recognition of his creative and intellectual contribution in the field of arts, Clarke has received numerous international and local awards including the Honorary Life Membership of the Museum of African American Art, Los Angeles (1983) and in South Africa was given the President’s Order of Ikhamanga (2005). Clarke was also awarded the Arts and Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement award in 2010.
A major retrospective of Peter Clarke’s work was presented by the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg in 2011, and was later hosted by the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town. A seminal book on his life and art entitled Listening to Distant Thunder, was published in conjunction with the retrospective exhibition.
Peter Clarke’s work is represented in numerous public collections in South Africa, Europe and the United States.