Ingrid Smit is a contemporary realist artist, who lives and works from her picturesque studio in Stilbaai, Western Cape.  

Ingrid studied Graphic Design at Pretoria Technikon. She furthered her studies in 2020, by completing a Web Design course through UCT. Ingrid has worked on numerous high-profile projects for listed national and international companies as both designer and project manager.

Ingrid and her husband Richard relocated from Pretoria to Stilbaai in 2017. Here, overwhelming landscapes, seasonal moods, and a respectful, gentle lifestyle provide abundant inspiration which is so clearly reflected in her work.  

Her distinctive personal style radiates joy, peace, and an obvious story within the details of her work. This invites her audience to share her perception of the spirit, atmosphere, and tranquillity of her surroundings, and the lives of those who live in the area.

Ingrid works primarily in oil on canvas. Fine, impressionistic brushstrokes are combined with complimentary colours, often presented in muted tones.

Her artworks are generally only completed after a number of layers, mostly through glazes and colourwashes. Final details and colour splashes are added through embroidery in fine cotton thread. 

Other mediums include charcoal drawings on paper and canvas, and ink drawings on ceramic vessels.  

Stilbaai Galery is an enchanting and intimate art space nestled in the picturesque town of Stilbaai—a haven for art enthusiasts. Visitors are invited to step into the gallery and embark on a delightful journey into the world of art, where they can immerse themselves in a captivating array of contemporary masterpieces.

The gallery takes great pride in presenting the works of emerging talents and established artists from all corners of the country. Since the doors opened in December 2022, Stilbaai Galery has swiftly earned a reputation for its remarkable collection of high-quality artworks and innovative exhibitions that push the boundaries of artistic expression.

Guiding the artistic vision are Nadine Hansen and Ingrid Smit, both accomplished artists and co-owners. Their discerning artistic sensibilities and unwavering passion for nurturing creativity bring a unique perspective to the curation process. Drawing from their rich artistic backgrounds and experiences, they meticulously select and present artworks that challenge, inspire, and captivate visitors.

Contemporary art, the cornerstone of the gallery, mirrors the ever-evolving cultural, social, and political landscape. It defies conventional artistic norms and embraces a multitude of perspectives. Within the gallery’s walls, visitors will find a diverse range of contemporary art forms, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, and new media.

The aim of Stilbaai Galery is to introduce thought-provoking works that actively engage viewers and ignite meaningful conversations. Contemporary art encourages experimentation, innovation, and critical thinking, holding the power to inspire, challenge, and transform both individuals and entire communities.

At Stilbaai Galery, there is a wholehearted dedication to supporting local and national artists, providing a platform to showcase their exceptional creations that beautifully encapsulate the essence of the vibrant culture.


Some plants, rise from the ashes, And some seeds open with fire.

From a distance, Fynbos may appear somewhat unimpressive but look closer and you will see a diverse mosaic of plants of different shapes and sizes bursting with colourful flowers.

Fynbos is the collective name for the shrubland/heathland vegetation found along the South African coast. Home to South Africa’s national flower, the spectacular king protea (Protea cynaroides), and even rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis), this plant kingdom is anything but unimpressive.

The Cape Floral Kingdom supports thousands of endemic species. But like any story, this plant kingdom faces its own set of struggles, invasive plant species continue to be a problem in the form of overgrowth where fynbos should thrive, and the ever-expanding urban edge also leaves even less room for the smallest but most diverse plant kingdom in the world.

The cape is an area prone to wildfires and these native plants have adapted, now possessing traits that allow them to survive fires and persist in the landscape.

Leucadendron plants play a major role in the ecology of fynbos but worryingly, 51 species are threatened with extinction, so understanding their germination requirements is imperative to help inform restoration initiatives. Recent studies have found that it is the smoke and steam that builds up underground that causes germination.

Ant helpers
Ever wondered how the seeds make their way underground?

Many fynbos species have developed a little appendage called an elaiosome on their seeds. The only known function of this fleshy structure which is rich in proteins and fats is that it attracts ants who carry the seeds off to their nests where they eat the tasty morsel or feed it to their larvae.

The discarded seeds are buried in the waste disposal area, which, because it is full of fecal matter and other organic and refuse, is essentially the equivalent of a fertile compost heap. This is a beautiful example of co-evolution and mutualism, in which the interaction between two species is beneficial for both. This seed dispersal by ants is called myrmecochory.

Why is this all so wonderful?

It shows us that evolution is not all about tooth-and-claw competition and survival of the fittest – cooperation plays an extremely important role.

How wonderful that the smallest plant kingdom in the world, is by far the richest and it is ours to keep safe.

“Hope is the most resilient seed”.
Craig Randall

2 DECEMBER 2023 TO 30 JANUARY 2024

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

William Blake

Humans and the coastal seas are closely connected. As you know, Stilbaai Galery is situated in a quiet seaside town.

The tide, time and weather are central to our daily activities like a compass.

Perceptions of the marine environment often refer to reflections and speculations based on limited observations and knowledge. For most of human history, the sea was regarded as unknown and infinite, challenging explorers and imposing no limits on human activities.

Let us take a closer look at the ecology of coastal systems, intertidal zones, beaches, dunes, estuaries and salt marshes, islands, kelp forests and reefs and how humankind interacts with them.

 As artists we often live in closer harmony with nature than most. So, who better to portray this relationship.

“To see a world in a grain of sand,” as stated by Blake, opens a relationship between things. Relationships between essential components and the whole are studied in many scientific disciplines, including the marine sciences.

The ocean, tides and water offer us an overload of textures and patterns to explore. The depth of metaphor and analogy are all very exciting possibilities.

You don’t know the nature of this sea you love: below

Its surface lingers sharks; tempests appear,

Then sudden calms – its course is never clear,

But turbid, varying, in constant stress;

Its water’s taste is salty bitterness”.

Farid Attar

 Time and tide wait for no man.

Geoffrey Chaucer



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