Over the past five years visitors to FABI have been welcomed in the foyer by a striking painting depicting a tree surrounded by people. This colourful artwork was created by artist Abraham “Appie” van Wyk, the late father of well-known botanist and author of South African flora field guides, Prof. Ben-Eric van Wyk, who had kindly given the artwork on long term loan to the Institute in 2018, prior to the FABI 20 celebration that included an exhibition of tree and wood art. Prof. van Wyk recently donated the artwork to the Institute. Prof. Bernard Slippers thanked Prof. van Wyk for his generous donation during a ceremony as part of the FABI yearend function and awards ceremony at the Javett Art Centre on 17 November.

Appie van Wyk was a self-taught artist and was married to botanical artist Elise Bodley. He had 15 one-man exhibitions between 1952 and 1968 and five exhibitions on general appeal between 1991 and 1996. A few collectors regularly bought his work, hence the low number of exhibitions in later years. Human figures feature strongly in almost all of his work and trees form the basis of many of his later works (in the period 1990 to 2010), often with autumnal colours, human and animal figures and a dream-like, mystical atmosphere.