South African artist and environmentalist Charles Frank, from Paarl, has broken the prestigious Guinness World Record for painting the largest oil painting.

Measuring 1.8 metres by 20 metres and equalling 36m², Frank’s “La Source” painting broke the world record of 22.76m² set by American artist Gurmej Singh at the Epic Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, US on September 8 last year.

The painting was unveiled at the weekend at the Uncork Wine Festival at the Haut Espoir Wine Estate in Franschhoek.

Frank said: “What is most important for me (about my painting) is that you get art, and then something else, and that something else is a greater or outer purpose. Our purpose with this painting is to raise awareness of the environment.”

“I’m relieved that the new record belongs to a South African. It showcases the Berg River and the Boland.

“This is actually our third world record. The first was for the largest painting done underwater in Franschhoek and the other was for the world’s largest underwater sculpture, which was done in Knysna to promote the environmental hot spots about three years ago,” he added.

Chief executive of environmental organisation Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve Mark Heistein said he, his organisation and Frank had been working together for many years on nature conservation and youth development projects.

“The reason we took on this project together was to create awareness of the dire state of pollution in our rivers.”

“This whole artwork is portraying the history of the Berg River and the societies that have lived off it and around it over hundreds of years and how modern society has polluted it.”

“The artwork portrays how human beings and nature can actually live together in harmony.”

Heistein said the project was initiated by a network of farmers and grouped environmental conservancies from Franschhoek to Paarl to Malmesbury to Velddrif on the West Coast.


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