Capturing moments of malfunction

Corné Eksteen’s Wilhelm Scream I, an oil on canvas measuring 80cm x 80cm x 5cm.

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BY BILLY SUTER

DURBAN artist Corné Eksteen is presenting Anomaly, an exhibition of portraits, at Durban’s Artspace gallery, until December 22.

The exhibition, which opened on December 2, is the final one of the year at the gallery at 3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road. It will feature a walkabout with the artist at 11am on Saturday, December 9. He will discuss themes, concepts and techniques used in the artworks.

“As much as contemporary art is about commentary on art itself, some of its fundamental intent remains: art is about reflecting (in some cases even defining) our times, values and culture,” says Eksteen.

“When one looks back at the legacy of art and the timeline in human history it represents, you become aware of our ever-growing, ever-expanding visual language: our ability to continuously develop new modes of expression and our capacity for and vigour in constantly creating new visual metaphors, incorporating imagery from an ever-changing world in new and innovative reflections of that world.

“Today more than ever, a good level of visual literacy is as important as a higher education in navigating a culture that is visually driven in every aspect.”

It is this highly developed visual language of the 21st century, with “dialects” of symbolism, iconography and branding, that serve as primary reference for this body of work, adds Eksteen.

“Our visual culture is largely driven by technology.  Much of our everyday experience of the world is now filtered through a screen of some kind. Our technology is not flawless and often presents us with ‘glitches’ or visual malfunctions.

“As a starting point I am ‘capturing’ and incorporating these moments of malfunction, both accidental and intentional, in the creation of a new series of portraits. Using these imperfections as a vehicle for social commentary and commentary on art itself.”

Works in the series explore the polarities between the controlled and unpredictable, he says, adding that the exhibition “focuses on the repurposing of intentionally corrupted imagery and questions what it means if we reclaim the ‘errors’ in our technology and use them as tools in representing and defining ourselves”.

BILLY SUTER reports that Durban artist Corné Eksteen is presenting “Anomaly”, an exhibition of portraits, at Durban’s Artspace gallery, Morningside, until December 22. … More Capturing moments of malfunction

‘Memoryscapes’ at Blue Caterpillar

A work by Durban’s Dianne van Wyk that forms part of her Memoryscapes exhibition in Pietermaritzburg.

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BILLY SUTER

DURBAN artist Dianne van Wyk is exhibiting until the end of November at Pietermaritzburg’s Blue Caterpillar Gallery which occupies two floors at the Butterflies for Africa complex at 37 Willowton Road, just off the N3 highway.

Van Wyk, who enjoys working with oils on canvas but has experience in most mediums, is presenting Memoryscapes, which, according to a gallery spokesman, captures real and imaginary places in a way that invokes an almost nostalgic reaction in the viewer.

“She has had a passion for art for most of her life, but Dianne has only recently been able to pursue this passion seriously. She enjoys working with oils, mostly on canvas, but has experience in mediums such as acrylics, inks and various other drawing media,” adds the spokesman.

Lake, a painting by Dianne van Wyk of Durban.

“Her focus is predominately on portraits and figurative work but she also paints landscapes, using her own technique and interpretation.

“When undertaking portrait and figurative work she likes to explore the individual’s human condition and the resulting emotions which make them visible through her paintings.

“Capturing the authentic character of the subject by dispelling the mask that is being represented or shown to the world, and this fascination of what is ‘behind the mask’, is why she pursues this particular subject matter.

“Di loves to be challenged by what she does. She continues to participate in numerous workshops to improve her skills, and enjoys learning and growing as an artist.

“She has also been involved in many group and individual exhibitions around South Africa and her work is gaining popularity in top homes and galleries around the country.”

Van Wyk studied for a three-year fine art NDP degree at the University of KwaZuklu-Natal, where she was awarded the second- year prize for Drawing and Design. She went on to be a finalist at both the 2008 Nivea Art Awards and the 2010 National Sasol New Signatures Awards.

The Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery, established in 2001, exhibits a wide range of styles and mediums covering both established and up-and-coming artists from South Africa and elsewhere. It also buys work by popular, well-established South African artists.

It is part of the Butterflies for Africa complex, where there is a walk-through butterfly house where visitors walk amongst butterflies (as well as birds, fish and even monkeys) from across the world.  There’s also a theme store, garden and a  coffee shop on the premises. The phone number is (033) 3871356

NOTE: See my  earlier feature on the Butterflies for Africa complex under this site’s  ‘Leisure’ category – accessed near the top of the cover page of sosuterbill.com

A section of the Blue Caterpillar Gallery at the Butterflies for Africa complex in Pietermaritzburg,

 

BILLY SUTER reports that Durban artist Dianne van Wyk is exhibiting at Pietermaritzburg’s Blue Caterpillar Gallery, which occupies two floors at the Butterflies for Africa complex. … More ‘Memoryscapes’ at Blue Caterpillar

Innovation at DUT’s DigiFest

A moment from last year’s DigiFest at the Durban University of Technology. This and all other pictures featured here are by Erin Wulfsohn.

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BY BILLY SUTER

A NOVEMBER public event in Durban will celebrate the creative spirit through multimedia projects, from disciplines such as visual and performing arts, while promoting collaborations across art, science and technology.

It is DigitFest 4, the annual arts and design digital festival, to be held from November 6 to 11 at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on the Berea. It will feature a series of live art activations, innovations, exhibitions, discussions, workshops, music, poetry, dance and drama as well as craft and street food markets.

“The theme this year is ‘glitch’ which informs the content of the fest that will engage, contest, celebrate and question the idea of malfunctions, technical mishaps and imperfections in systems,” says Dr Rene Smith, the festival director and executive dean for the faculty of Arts and Design.

“Curated projects will speak to the disruption and subversion of formats, spaces, places and technologies. It is about questioning and going beyond traditional notions of art in an interdisciplinary, multimedia world, where design and creativity merge and interact with science and technology broadly.”

Opening night, on November 6, will highlight a collaborative, live audiovisual performance co-ordinated by Johannesburg-based electronic artist, cultural activist and producer, Marcus Neustetter. It will feature a selection of local artists.

Another moment from last year’s DigiFest at the Durban University of Technology.

Sue Gollifer, the chair of the ISEA international board, will introduce ISEA as a precursor to ISEA2018 (International Symposium on Electronic Art), which takes place in Durban next year. The Alumni and Development Department will be running a competition to pledge support for the Missing Middle campaign.

In a new move, the festival will host a series of events across venues in Durban. On November 7, the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood will host the DUT Fine Art Department exhibition, and an installation by Bongumenzi Ngobese which  examines elements of sound, which address issues of context through video. The night will features a special performance by Zimbabwean multi-media artist, Robert Machiri.

“An evening of style takes place at the DUT Brickfield Campus on November 8, with a multi-media fashion experience featuring leading innovations in the fashion and textiles department,” says a spokesman.

The event will feature a special guest DJ, the name of whom has yet to be announced. B-Tech students’ final portfolio exhibitions will be on display and student-run, pop-up shops will have jewellery and craft on sale.

“A breakaway session on November 9, at the Green Camp, a creative hub of urban farming and green rehabilitated art in Umbilo, will features the premiere of the film, Street Art and Mural Art as Visual Activism in Durban, by artist Mook Lion.

A Sketch, an installation of bricolage video work by Glenn Adendorff and Rob Da Banka , will close the night.

“The city campus explodes with creativity from 10am on Friday, November 10, with a host of prominent speakers in the world of arts, design and digital media.

A scene from last year’s DigiFest in Durban.

“In the courtyard, student entrepreneurs will showcase their products and innovations. Exhibitions will be open throughout the afternoon and will feature projects from various departments, including graphic design, jewellery, interior design, journalism and video technology, as well as individual exhibitions from range of young local artists working in the digital arts.”

The Talk Fest at the city campus that day will include speakers Sheetal Cross (SA) – Virtual Reality, Kirstin Wiedow (Namibia) – NUST-DUT Polar Project, Mari Pete (SA) – Glitches in ELearning, Prof Oliviera (Brazil) – LabInter Project, Tegan Bristow (SA) – Fakugesi Festival, Arjon Dunnewind (Netherlands) – Frankenstein in the Garden of Eden.

The Makerspace is to host a workshop that will allow a fixed number of participants the opportunity to collaborate and build doodle bots. This session will be open to all, on a first-come basis, and submissions can be done via digifest@dut.ac.za.

The day culminates with the popular PechaKucha, a gathering of inspired minds who present ideas, thoughts, dreams and creative insights. This year some of the speakers include Llwellyn Makhanya (photographer), Richard Gevers (civic data activist), Mark Stuart (developer), Brad Vause (musician and App developer), Zwelisha Giampietri (multi-media designer), Sihle Mthembu (iournalist), Bylwansta (designer and rapper) and others.

“On Saturday, November 11, the Steve Biko Campus becomes the focus with live performances in the form of poetry and open-mic sessions, a cross-platform theatrical piece entitled Duped, and a hi-hop battle closing the evening with a great line-up of music by ByLwansta, Gaba, Rude Boyz, Moonchild, Sibot and Toyota and Sparks Bantwana,” adds the spokesman.

A highlight of DigiFest 4 will be The Digital Battle, which will take place at the DUT Gallery on November 11. This is a live, head-to-head design tournament where participants show their skills in front of an audience and compete for prizes.

The competitors will engage in a battle of their choice ,including 2D design, animation, character design and video editing. Entries are now open and close on November 8. Visit www.designbattles.co.za/durban.html to sign up.

“We are pleased to be presenting DigiFest 4 again this year, as it provides a valuable opportunity for students to showcase their work, and to collaborate with professionals and other creatives,” says Steve Jones, festival manager.

“We aim to build an event that stands tall on the Durban calendar and engages the highest level of the work from around the world to be presented.”

All are welcome and entrance is free, with the exception of November 11 events at Steve Biko ca[us,  where tickets will be free for students and R40 for the public.

The full programme can be found on the website: digifest.dut.ac.za

BILLY SUTER reports that Durban is soon to welcome a fourth annual campus festival that sets out to promote colourful collaborations across art, science and technology. … More Innovation at DUT’s DigiFest

Heidi and her flair with florals

Heidi Shedlock’s Lace Bouquet 1, an oil on canvas with a 40cm diameter.

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BY BILLY SUTER

AN EXHIBITION with emphasis on floral art by Durban’s Heidi Shedlock, titled Serendipity, is to be seen at artSPACE Durban, 3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road, until November 2.

Heidi has been involved in education but now paints full-time from her studio in Durban North. She intentionally seeks to nestle her arrangements safely within nurturing circular and oval formats.

Says a gallery spokesman: “She believes ‘serendipity’ is as much about ‘consciousness’ as it is about valuable fortuitous discovery: It’s about keeping your eyes open and appreciating a fleeting moment that would normally be lost… finding something when looking for something else. This antithesis can be the result of an observant mind…”

Heidi Shedlock’s Shadow Blooms.

This, the spokesman adds, explains Heidi’s aesthetic, soulful connection to all things floral. Flowers in her work are not mere representations, but a vehicle by which she explores colour, form, texture and pattern that collide in a ‘serendipitous’ experience.

Heidi refers to “beauty” without apology and acknowledges the current international trends to revive floral tradition and history. Aware that her roses may be judged as “safe” or “decorative”, she subtly underpins her compositions without the support of the vase in an attempt to remove the focus from mere representation or decoration.

She repurposes found objects with dormant historical essence, reconnecting them with meaning and embellishing them with serendipitous marks of paint, colour and texture. She finds the story and the paradox.

“A catalyst of blended blossoms offers a lingering dose of nostalgia when first encountering Heidi Shedlock’s paintings,” says the spokesman,

“Then comes the transforming ‘serendipitous’ moment when portholes of intensely layered blossoms are captured in circular motion through layered forms, and a choreography of expressive mark-making that creates an aesthetic sensibility that is not only seen, but felt and experienced.”

Note that the gallery is open from 10am to 4pm Mondays to Fridays, 10am to 1pm on Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays. The phone number is (031) 3120793.

BILLY SUTER reports on an exhibition with emphasis on floral art, by Durban’s Heidi Shedlock. It is to be seen at artSPACE Durban, 3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road. … More Heidi and her flair with florals

Karen, property and paintings

Karen and Tony Dennyschene at their Umhlanga offices. The painting of the iconic Umhlanga lighthouse is a work by Karen.

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BY BILLY SUTER

WHAT do colourful flora and fauna – and, for that matter, John Lennon and Yoko Ono – have in common with Karen Dennyschene, who, with husband Tony, is a manager and selling agent at the Dormehl and Phalane Group’s Umhlanga branch?

The answer is that Karen – a member of the property group since 2016; involved with Tony in real estate for more than 15 years, specialising in the Umhlanga area – is a popular and talented artist with a penchant for painting flora, fauna and other commissioned works.

She and Tony also have a passion for flipping homes…or, as Karen puts it, “ “buying ugly ducklings to renovate and sell”.

Cape Town-born Karen’s skill with a paintbrush started when she was very young.

“I was always drawing as a child and did art at school. I studied graphic design and am a self-taught fine artist, but attended many courses and classes over the year,” she explains.

Her talents grew considerably over the years and she is now regularly approached to paint commissioned works – among them a graffiti-styled, life-size portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Karen’s graffiti-styled, life-size portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It measures 2m x 1.6m, and was commissioned for a new home.

“It was a large-scale painting that I particularly enjoyed doing. It measured 2m x 1.6m, and was commissioned for a new home,” she says, pointing out that the first work she sold was to a small interior decorating shop.

“It was a small painting of a Koi fish. I was so thrilled and encouraged.”

Karen’s first art commission was for a series of wildlife paintings for a corporate client. She smiles and adds: “I remember having shattered nerves, but it all worked out well in the end”.

She has created many paintings since: “Must be hundreds! Most of my work is commissioned by interior decorators or the galleries where I exhibit. My paintings have found their way to Australia, UK, America and I recently sent a painting to Austria.”

Karen was also one of three South African artists selected to train in Slovenia for the Golden Artists Educator Programme. This is an international group of art educators trained by Golden Paints, an American company. She was also selected to present a painting workshop in Miami in 2015, at a conference.

She cannot say she has a favourite painting, but points out that once she has done a painting, she is always a little sad to see it go: “I feel like it’s something I won’t ever do again. Most of my paintings are really large. I rarely paint small. The largest I have done was 2,5 m in length.”

Large works can be a challenge: “I am up and down a ladder working with outsize brushes. Arranging transport and accommodating these massive canvasses is a challenge as well.”

A work by Karen Dennyschene.

Karen loves to paint anything from nature: “I am inspired by my surroundings, and I am so lucky to live in a sub-tropical area, as I am surrounded by bright plants, trees and foliage. I also love painting animals and wildlife.”

She paints in all mediums but prefers acrylic and mixed-media painting as it provides instant gratification: “There is no waiting ages for the paint to dry. Also, there are so many exciting new paints and products available in acrylics.”

Among other highlights of her work is a painting commissioned for the British Lions. The painting of a lion was presented to the visiting British Lions rugby team, and is now on display at Twickenham.

“My latest painting is an orchid botanical in an oriental style. It is going to its new home in the UK. This client bought two paintings some time ago and the new one was commissioned for her sister. It is 90cm x90 cm. It took about three days to paint.”

Karen considers herself lucky to have repeat business and loyal customers.

“ I have a large project in the pipeline that will keep me busy for the next few months. I am working on a series of three abstract paintings, but fortunately, the customer is not in a hurry and I can take my time.

“I paint whenever I have a chance. I work mainly over weekends (when not doing show houses) and at night.”

Karen is every bit as enthusiastic about her work in property as she is about her art.

“We have worked with Owen Dormehl for many years. He has built a strong brand which is very well respected. We get tremendous support in terms of advertising, IT support , strong branding and a lovely new office.”

The new Umhlanga office is designed for a small team of dedicated people with a strong emphasis on service, she explains.

“This is a high-tech working space for agents to work from. There are currently three agents. Tony and I are selling agents as well as management.”

Karen and Tony met in the United States, she says: “We were both there on holiday and by coincidence stayed in the same hotel. That was in 1983… and we have been together ever since.”

Tony is a creative thinker and a good critic but cannot draw, she adds when asked if he also has artistic talent.

Karen paints in all mediums but prefers acrylic and mixed-media painting as it provides instant gratification, she says.

 

Most of Karen’s work is commissioned by interior decorators or the galleries where she exhibits.

BILLY SUTER asks what colourful flora and fauna – and, for that matter, John Lennon and Yoko Ono – have in common with Umhlanga property agent Karen Dennyschene. … More Karen, property and paintings

Light, space, hues and shades

An oil on canvas by Alison Akal, on show in the Light and Space exhibition. Titled London Morning, it measures 80cm x 120cm.
A work by Michelle Irving titled Protea Field. It measures 80cm x 130cm.

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BY BILLY SUTER

A GROUP show of paintings, Light and Space, featuring work by Michelle Irving, Alison Akal, Haley Wright and Ilma Matthews, runs until Thursday, September 14, at Durban’s artSpace gallery at 3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road.

Thereafter, from September 16 to 21, the gallery will present its sixth art exchange exhibition, Exchange and Artists’ Choice Award 2017. Then, from September 23 to October 12, the gallery will present Hues and Shades, a solo exhibition by Raja Oshi.

“In this crazy, busy, daunting space we live in, we felt it was time to reflect on our personal space and the light we were reflecting within it,” says a gallery spokesman of Light and Space.

Haley Wright’s 80cm x 100cm oil painting titled Tangerine Play Off, on show as part of the Light and Space exhibition.

“We observe objects and people around us to consider how they were perceived and welcomed within the space they occupy.”

The art exchange exhibition will culminate with an awards evening on Thursday, September 21.

“This is an artist-orientated event. We have fun and pay tribute to ourselves as artists.

“With most awards, the decision is made by a panel of judges and is often strangely influenced and rather baffling, but with our Artists’ Choice Award, only participating artists can vote for the best work on show. We believe this gives a respectful ear to our artists so their voices and choices can be heard.”

Each participating artist paid an entry fee and collected a 30cm x 30cm canvas (one per person) from the gallery from early August.

The exhibition will open on  Saturday, September 16, and will continue for a week. Voting will close at 4pm on September 21, with the Awards Evening starting at 6pm.

The theme is Border(s). In terms of definition, the obvious one is the border between two countries, but could also be the border to the edge of as pace or knowledge. It is also used in textile as a strip, or even, in a social context, as in “bordering on an insult”.

The Hues and Shades exhibition by Raja Oshi should be interesting, the artist, from Pietermaritzburg, pointing out that she enjoys adding texture to her surfaces, designing the shape and discovering new adventures.

“It is surprising every time you get a different outcome,” she adds.

Oshi makes her own material, considering it an essential step in the process, and adds: “I weave strips of canvas material together to make my own sort of canvas, with its own specialised texture and response to paint.

“When I rub my cloth ‘tapestry’ layers with cloths dipped in paint, it adds another dimension to my work. It begins to mix and overlap, different materials and layers of paint to reveal hints of colour coming through edges, layers and spaces.”

A work by Raja Oshi titled Stories. Her solo exhibition, Hues and Shades, opens in Durban on September 23.

BILLY SUTER reports on a variety of art exhibitions that are headed for Durban’s artSpace gallery in Millar Road, off Umgeni Road, later this month. … More Light, space, hues and shades

Feast of art at Hilton festival

Seascape… part of the demo theme in Living Arts on the Saturday of the Hilton Arts Festival, now in its 25th year.

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ORGANISERS of the 25th Hilton Arts Festival, running from September 15 to 17 at various venues in the grounds of Hilton College, have negotiated three internationally acclaimed, major art exhibitions, as well as a variety of other carefully curated exhibitions.

This year, the main Grindrod Theatre complex will house four exhibitions. In the Norman Dunn Gallery, on the ground floor, will be A Significant Life, the world’s foremost photographic collection on the life and times of Nelson Mandela, presented by commissioned photographer to Mandela, Matthew Willman.

Visitors can join Willman at his two lectures, and hear his touching story, poignant memories and personal anecdotes in the Memorial Hall: A Significant Life (at 10am on Sunday, September 17) and A Life Less Ordinary (at 1pm on Saturday, September 16).

Upstairs in the library, Africa Media Online will present the World Press Photo Exhibition. This is the first time in many years that this exhibition will be presented in KwaZulu-Natal, and the first time at the province’s foremost arts festival. In conjunction with the exhibition, Africa Media Online will screen eight documentaries about the lives and works of leading photographers.

The exhibition/screening package, a ticketed event, will be in the Raymond Slater Library in the Centenary Centre at Hilton College. DocuFest Africa will be held in the college’s Lecture Theatre A.

Another first at the festival, a series of sketches by movie legend Federico Fellini, will be on display in the theatre foyer and Centenary Room. The exhibition, made up of 21 A1 prints by the iconic film-maker, from different periods of his career, displays Fellini’s wicked sense of humour, somewhat whacky world view and his charmingly captured moments.

Nelson Mandela’s Presidntial Chair. Picture by Matthew Willman.

Many drawings are from the famed The Book of Dreams, the dream-diary Fellini wrote for about 30 years. They some give insight into his fixation with food, and have an overt food /dining motif.

Complimenting the drawings, will be screenings of two short movies: Food in the Cinema of Fellini and Long Journey, a short animation based on the Fellini’s drawings.

Also in the Centenary Centre will be a photography exhibition by local Harry Lock, Entitled Out of Character. Lock has, for several years, captured behind-scenes portraits of people involved in the festival – often without make-up, and away from the spotlight, easel, microphone and instrument.

This year, his portrait exhibition will look back on the 2016 festival.

Two affiliated events of interest to lovers of art will be by Strauss and Co, who will be at the festival. Their Strauss Online auction runs concurrently with the Hilton Arts Festival this year.

Their September online auction goes live on Friday, September 8, and closes on Monday, September 18. Festival guests can participate in the auction from the Strauss and Co stand in the Centenary Room. Experts will be on hand to give information about the online buying platform and artist information. They will also offer free valuations of works of art.

On the Saturday, at 4.30pm, Alastair Meredith is to present a well-illustrated, detailed lecture on a famed South African artist – JH Peerneef: A Period of Discovery and Mastery focuses on Peerneef’s life, his commissions and his travel.  Meredith is with Strauss and Co, and has a particular interest in 20th century South African painting and art curating.

For the first time at Hilton, a new initiative will be launched: Living Arts Demonstrations. Art lovers can glimpse behind the scenes and enjoy the process of creativity.

Painters Grant Wood and Tony Durrheim will give three live demonstrations each over the three days.

Wood, a watercolourist, will paint boats and reflections on the Friday; a seascape on the Saturday and a typical street scene on the Sunday.

Durrehim, who paints in oil, will start with a stormy Karoo scene, sharing the seascape theme on the Saturday and, on the Sunday, painting a rocky, forest stream. Space is limited for this free demonstration, so booking is essential.

Exhibiting in the recently- revamped Campbell Exhibition Centre, the N3 Gateway Tourism Association will welcome patrons to discover creative gems from sensational tourism destinations from Pretoria to Durban, Lesotho to the KwaZulu-Natal battlefields.

Crafters along the N3 route will be showcasing their craft. They will be joined by landscape photographer Stephen Pryke, along with warm woollen creations from Tsa Lapeng and beautiful linen from Senzakahle.

Photographer Harry Lock at his portrait exhibition. Picture by Jonathan Burton.

Alongside the N3 Gateway Tourism project, the VinLee Art Gallery will share their carefully selected choice of collectables.

The Midlands Meander group has taken residence for the second year in the Art Block, where it will be sharing its artistic pride and joy from its region.

The art hub of the festival will be bursting at the seams at the PWC Perspective Art Exhibitioe, alongside the college’s Bell Tower. The three marques will boast a variety of artists’ work adorning the spaces. Some 60 artists and photographers works will be displayed for sale.

The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Tiso Black Star, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee, DWR, PWC,  Bidvest Car Rental, Indwe Risk Services, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi, Redlands Hotel, Zultrans, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, BASA, Castle Lite, Maritzburg Sun and Caxton.

For more informatiom visit http://www.hiltonfestival.co.za/. All enquiries on 033 383 0126 / 7 or festival@hiltoncollege.com. Booking enquiries at tickets@hiltoncollege.com

BILLY SUTER reports that there will a large, varied and impressive art element at the 25th Hilton Arts Festival, to be held at Hilton College from September 15 to 17. … More Feast of art at Hilton festival

Feni and a drain on dignity

People passing an open toilet at Lunglie Train Station, Site C, Khayelitsha. A photograph from the Drain on Our Dignity exhibition.

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BY BILLY SUTER

A NEW photographic art exhibition, Drain on Our Dignity by Masixole Feni, will run from September 5 in the Main and Mezzanine galleries at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood.

Feni is an award-winning photographer whose images have been described as visually stunning yet confronting the harsh truths of life in South Africa, specifically in the Western Cape.

Scheduled to run until September 24, the exhibition saw Feni emerge as the winner of the Ernest Cole Award, 2015, for his project  and will coincide with the launch of his book of the same name.

Masixole Feni’s photo of an undrinkable water canal entrance to Khayelitsha.

An activist photographer who has worked for GroundUp and Social Justice Coalition, documenting social issues around Cape Town, Feni won the Ernest Cole Award for focusing his camera on the lack of service delivery and the life of the marginalised.

“I live at the back of an RDP house in Mfuleni on the Cape Flats. I experience issues like poor sanitation, access to clean water and the flooding first hand,” he explains in a press release.

Sixty years after the anniversary of the Freedom Charter which campaigned for basic human rights – one person, one vote – as well South Africa’s democracy, many South Africans still find themselves struggling for basic living conditions.

“Marginalised people were neglected by the apartheid regime. Twenty-three years into our democracy, it is a reality that has stayed the same for many,” says Feni in the press release.

Feni’s work echoes the groundbreaking images produced by Ernest Cole in the early 1960s, showing black life under apartheid. Cole’s book, called House of Bondage, published when he was in exile and immediately banned, reflected on the lives of the marginalised and the poor. It became a universal reference point for anyone who wanted to know more about the apartheid system.

Feni travelled throughout local townships to explore life from this perspective and develop a book and exhibition.

Observing Feni’s work, spatial researcher and architect, Ilze Wolff, who wrote the introduction to the book, notes: “His visualisation of inequality, structural violence and his own imaginative response through photography is in itself a reflection on human creativity, despite the limits put forward by power.”

For Feni, living in the margins of Cape Town make him angry.

“‘Every day we read about people’s anger and frustration but we don’t get to see the other side.”

However, for Feni, his work transcends the mere record of this life to show the resilience of people who make a dignified life under difficult and unjust conditions.

Feni’s book, A Drain on Our Dignity, is published by Jacana Media.

Another striking image from Masixole Feni’s Drain on Our Dignity exhibition.
Township sanitation. A row of the Mshengu communal toilets is visible as you enter Khayelitsha. A photo from Drain on Our Dignity.

BILLY SUTER reports on a fascinating photographic exhibition by Masixole Feni, headed for Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood. Feni is also launching a book of his photos. … More Feni and a drain on dignity

New retail gallery at KZNSA

A sneak peek at some of the work which will be available at the KZNSA’s new Park Contemporary Gallery in Glenwood, Durban. Picture above and below by Niamh Walsh-Vorster.

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AFFORDABLE, bespoke original art and collectables will be on offer in Durban from mid-August within the province’s foremost contemporary art gallery, the KZNSA in Glenwood.

The vision of the Park Contemporary Gallery is to offer work by  local art-makers – both respected “names” and emerging talent – and retail their work to shoppers and decorators on an ongoing basis.

The decision to transform what was the Park Gallery into a retail space is to further endorse the gallery’s focus of supporting local artists and providing them with a valuable platform to display and sell their work, says a spokesman.

It is also part of the ongoing process of restructuring and transformation to ensure the continued relevance and sustainable future of the visionary, 112-year-old KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA) Gallery, an ever-changing society and a recessionary global environment.

“We have an astonishing array of art-makers in our province, who don’t always find appropriate and reputable retail outlets,” explains the KZNSA’s Angela Shaw. “Our commitment is to support our artists and keep them earning a viable living in Durban, and to provide interesting options for shoppers, decorators and architects to find the perfect artwork for their home or project.”

To this end, the gallerists have identified artists working in a variety of media: painting, photography, prints, illustrations, contemporary digital work and collectable objets d’art.

The team has invested considerable research, thought and care into the mix of artists. In many instances the artists chosen have been identified as being on the cusp of being snapped up by the mainstream national and international galleries.

Art set for Durban’s new Park Contemporary Gallery.

A press release states that Shaw is excited by the mix of artists whose work will be on display, and about sharing their work with a local audience before it makes the transition from affordable art to investment art.

These exciting new artists will share the bill with some of the industry’s landed gentry: such as prints by the late Barry Truter and Isaac Sithole, Walter Battiss reproduction prints and Andrew Verster original drawings.

Artists in the gallery include: Sthenjwa Luthuli, Jeannie Kinsler, Miranda Hendrieta Crooks, Simanga Zondo, Nindya Tricam, Bonfece Cele, Nikhil Tricam, Derrick Nxumalo, Sam Cross, Sean Simons, Ann-marie Nason, Kevin Mbonambi, Wonder Buhle Mbambo, Angela Buckland, Mandisa Buthelezi, Sarah Lovejoy, Joseph Manana, Frank Nthunya, Phumlani Nyawo, Hlengiwe Dube, Obed Zulu, Dane Stops, Mthobisi Maphumulo, Nhlanha Chonco, Everaldo Matonse, Sibusiso Duma, Corne Eksteen, Khulekani Cele, Ezekiel Mabote and Ntutuko Buthelezi.

The popular KZNSA Shop will continue to provide quality local products and gifts under the experienced eye of Gloria Hoff and Lucky Tsotetsi. The Park Contemporary Gallery will become a companion retail space for collectable art within the KZNSA Gallery.

The work will vary from R200 to R20 000 – and everything in-between. The Park Contemporary Gallery will also offer a selection of affordable frames – offering a prêt-a-porter type service of being able to select a frame for the chosen work on site and to walk away with a framed piece.

“We want to make it as easy, affordable and comfortable for both the buyer and the seller – we are the space where the maker and the market can meet,” says Shaw.

The Park Contemporary Gallery is operational within the KZNSA Gallery: 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban. It will be formally opened on Thursday, August 24. For more information phone  (031) 277 1705.

BILLY SUTER reports that affordable, bespoke original art will be on offer in Durban from mid-August at a new contemporary gallery within the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood. … More New retail gallery at KZNSA

Art sale and works by Mulla

A work by Melody French, titled Beneath, on show at artSpace Durban as part of the Winter Sale exhibition.

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BY BILLY SUTER

THE Winter Sale exhibition, featuring works by Lara Mellon, Grace Kotze, Melody French and Sibusiso Duma, is now running until August 9 at Durban’s artSpace Gallery, 3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road.

Thereafter, a new exhibition, The You & I  by Ganjatun Mulla, will be presented for two weeks, from August 11 to 24.

 The You & I is described as a dynamic idea evolving over time in relation to how events and experiences can shape us, and how we can counter-shape the way we experience the experience.

Mulla is best known for her expressive artistic techniques in compelling visual illustrations of her homeland and cultural roots.

Ganjatun Mulla’s The Building, a 2011 oi on canvas

She is of Omani and Persian decent but was born and raised in Tanzania before moving to Dubai and later on to South Africa.

She has spent the most part of her life in silence, communicating solely through her art, and believes in the empowerment of women and their struggle for independence.

Mulla, who currently lives in Zimbali, says her passion for art derives from the works of the surrealist painter Salvador Dali, with whom she likens her philosophical view of the world; a world that is only as real as it appears.

She is quoted as saying: “We live in the image of who we want to become, not of who we’ve become. In so doing, we lose sight of the lessons from the past, the beauty of the present and the opportunities of the future.”

Her art has become a means of expressing this doctrine and to live each day with a sense of optimism and ambition.

BILLY SUTER reports on a Winter Sale exhibition now at Durban’s artSpace Gallery, off Umgeni Road. He also reports on a new exhibition, by Ganjatun Mulla, which opens there soon. … More Art sale and works by Mulla