Rugby icons immortalised in toast
Wellington - Are you a South African rugby fan with R85 000 to spend and a passion for art?
If so, there's an art portrait of the late Danie Craven made of about 4 000 small pieces of toast for sale in New Zealand's capital city.
The artist is Maurice Bennett, also known as The Toastman, who specialises in creating art from toast. Bennett created five portraits to celebrate the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand of whom he believes was the best rugby players of all time.
Together with Craven, there are huge portraits of Colin Meads, Richie McCaw (both New Zealand), Jean-Pierre Rives (France) and Gareth Edwards (Wales).Braai
"I know there will be controversy around my choices. Maybe it's my patriotism that made me choose two New Zealanders," Bennett said.
"There are positive and negative views of Danie Craven in New Zealand, but an objective view of his ability as a player, coach and administrative record makes him one of rugby's greats."
The art portraits are on display in the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts at Wellington's waterfront .
Where did the inspiration come from to create art from toast? "I had the idea during a braai in the backyard. I paged through a magazine while I was braaiing wors. There was a photograph of the artist Chuck Close and I said to myself 'it can be done with pieces of toast'.
"I started to make toast and lay it on the carpet in the living ..."Breakfast
Bennett preserve the toast by soaking it in poly-urethane. "It's a very lengthy process, but means that the bread will last forever."
Bennett worked from an old photo of Craven to create the portrait.
"I hope a South African will come and buy it!" For how much? "Around R85 000".
"There is already talk that the portrait of either McCaw or Meads will go to the rugby museum in Palmerston North," Bennett added.
He says he doesn't get hungry when he's busy with his art, but eats toast for breakfast every morning.
Several of his artworks can be seen on his website, www.mauricebennett.co.nz