Walter Battiss Art Gallery – the home of Fook Island

The Karoo Heartland town of Somerset East is a place full of interesting and quirky attractions.  One of them is the Walter Battiss Art Gallery which also houses the local tourism information office.  Battiss (6 January 1906 – 20 August 1982) was generally considered to be the foremost South African abstract painter but is probably equally as famous as the creator of the quirky Fook Island.  Fook Island was Battiss’ “island of the imagination” for which he created a map, imaginary people, plants, animals, a history as well as a set of postage stamps, currency, passports and driver’s licences. He also created a Fookian language with a full alphabet.  Apparently Battiss, or “King Ferd the Third”, even traveled internationally using his Fookian passport.  You will have to make a little pilgrimage to Fook Island… I mean Somerset East, to see if you can perhaps find some signs of this place of wonder.