Peter E Clarke is recognised today as one of South Africa’s most important veteran artists, and as a poet and writer, whose career spanned six decades. Known for working across a broad spectrum of media, he produced drawings, paintings, relief prints, etchings, book illustrations and collages. Clarke briefly studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town in 1961, but due to racial laws in South Africa at the time, he furthered his studies at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and later at the Atelier Nord in Oslo, Norway.
Awards include the South African Arts and Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. To celebrate his contribution to the cultural heritage of South Africa, The Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg and the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town presented major retrospective exhibitions of Clarke’s work in 2011. In 2012, he was invited as the Honorary Guest Artist at Dak’Art, the Biennale of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, Senegal; and in 2013, INIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts) in London presented a survey exhibition of Clarke’s work titled, Wind Blowing on the Cape Flats.
Peter Clarke passed away in his home in April 2014 at the age of 85.