Feast of art at Hilton festival

A work by Siyabonga Sikosana, who is among artists represented at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival at Hilton College.

……………………………………………….……………………………………………..………….
BY BILLY SUTER 

THE Hilton Arts Festival, now in its 27th year and offering a wide variety of crafts, music, drama and other events in venues at Hilton College from September 13 to 15, will see a huge increase in the number of participating visual artists as well as a diversity of exhibitions.

Over the past few years the number of visual artists exhibiting at the festival has steadily increased. Conversations with the artists have strongly suggested to the festival management that the event is widely regarded as the best event of the year in KwaZulu-Natal for them, says festival director Sue Clarence.

Clarence adds that not only will there be 90 individual artists at the festival, but also top-notch exhibitions – the Absa Pierneef and van Wouw exhibition; and internationally acclaimed potter Andrew Walford’s Inspiration from Great Nature.

Strauss & Co, auctioneers, invite members of the public to bring their artworks to be valued.

A woodcut by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, titled Plaastoneel en Berge.

“This wide variety of work means that the appeal to art lovers is wide ranging. It is possible for people to come and look and appreciate, but, very importantly, it offers the opportunity for people to expand their art collections. Prices range from the impulse-buy affordable to the more serious collectable: there is something to suit everyone’s pocket and personal taste,” says Clarence.

“Art will be exhibited in several areas. Be sure to see it all: in the Art Block, Memorial Hall, Grindrod Bank Theatre Foyer, Raymond Slater Library, Churchill and Bell Tower marquees. The Pierneef and van Wouw Exhibition can be found in the Absa Marquee, the Walford in the Normand Dunn Gallery and Strauss & Co in The History Room.”

Pierneef is widely considered to be one of the best of the old South African masters, and his work continues to serve as inspiration for future landscape painters. He is in excellent company with Van Vouw, who is known as the father of South African sculpture.

“They were pioneer artists who represented the top tier of South African art in its various forms, and their art continues to leave an incomparable imprint on the art world – making the decision to take a sample of their work to showcase at the Hilton Arts Festival a simple one. Our objectives are the same: to shine a spotlight on South Africa’s outstanding artistic talent,” says senior specialist art curator of Absa Art Gallery, Dr Paul Bayliss.

Bayliss will also give four public lectures: Pierneef and Van Wouw: Looking at a united narrative through the artwork of Pierneef and Van Wouw in an early South Africa, based on the works being exhibited at the festival in the Absa marquee.

An artwork by Shirley Howells.

His lecture will focus on the enduring love Pierneef had for the countryside, and the inspiration he took from it throughout his lifetime. It will also examine how Van Wouw was inspired by the rich tapestry of the people of South Africa and how they became his primary theme.

“Absa’s corporate collection, which is one of the largest in Africa as well as in the top 10 globally, confirms our ongoing commitment to preserving Africa’s abundant artistic heritage for posterity, and we believe in sharing this heritage with equally proud Africans through platforms like the Hilton Arts Festival,” says Bayliss.

“More than simply preserving the country and continent’s art legacy, though, Absa is committed to shining the spotlight on works of young African artists to bring their possibilities to life.”

This is why the winning artworks from the 2019 Absa L’Atelier competition will be featured alongside the work of the old masters in the Absa marquee. The Absa L’Atelier is one of the oldest art competitions for young artists. Now in its 34th year, Absa L’Atelier has built a strong legacy as a platform that allows the dynamic, inspiring and young visual artists of Africa to shine.

Absa buys artworks from these artists annually to add to its corporate collection. “The collection therefore contains works spanning several periods depicting the history of our country and this fits in with our overall objective to promote knowledge, understanding and practice of the visual arts, as well as to make the arts more accessible to the public,” concludes Dr Bayliss.

Entrance to the grounds of the festival is free and there is no charge for any of the exhibition areas.

The full Hilton Arts Festival programme will appear in KwaZulu-Natal copies of The Sunday Times on Sunday, August 11.  Booking opens on August 12, and the programme will be live on the festival website from the morning of August 12.

For more information visit www.hiltonfestival.co.za or contact the festival office on admin@hiltonfestival.co.za or 033 383 0127.

The Festival is presented by Hilton College and tiso blackstar in  association with  Grindrod, Black Coffee, Extreme Events, DWR,  Absa, Bidvest Car Rental, FNB, KZN Dept of Art & Culture,  BASA, Southern Sun PMB, Stella Artois, Redlands Hotel,  Martizburg Sun, Caxton, SA Artist, Loud Crowd Media and Sappi.

BILLY SUTER reports that there will be a huge increase in the number of participating visual artists, as well as a diversity of exhibitions, at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival. … More Feast of art at Hilton festival

Two new Durban exhibitions

Ursula de Haas, chairperson of the African Art Centre (AAC) Board. Picture by Illa Thompson

…………………………………..…………………………..……………………………………………..
BY BILLY SUTER

TWO new art exhibitions are being held in Glenwood in Durban this month – one, at the Phansi Museum at 500 Esther Roberts Road, highlighting unity between two local cultural organisations, the African Art Centre and the Phansi Museum.

The other, at the KZNSA Gallery at 166 Bulwer Road, features work by Centre for Visual Arts post-graduates and staff. It is described as “a cross between site-specific installation, collaborative work and a creative eruption”.

Having opened at the Phansi Museum at 11.30am on Saturday, July 20, Resilience is an exhibition that marks the African Art Centre (AAC) celebrating 60 years of supporting KwaZulu-Natal artists, having now moved into a spacious room in the 19th century Roberts House that accommodates the Phansi Museum.

The AAC’s coveted range of wood décor items, sculptures, bead work, accessories, jewellery, paintings, arts and crafts are for sale there.

Thuli Mkhize, salesperson at the African Art Centre with wooden birds from a new range of hand-crafted wooden animals available at the centre.

“The idea is also for the AAC to curate regular exhibitions which will be held in Roberts House utility room – currently used for meetings, film screenings, workshops and projects, all of which will continue,” says a spokesman.

Resilience was curated by former AAC director and respected authority on African art, Anthea Martin. The title talks to the process of adapting in the face of adversity, tragedy or stress.

A joint exhibition opening and celebration of six active decades was arranged for the exhibition, which was opened by Ursula de Haas, chairperson of the African Art Centre; and Paul Mikula, managing trustee of the Phansi Museum.

The group exhibition showcases the talents of many of the visual artists affiliated to the ACC – both experienced, named artists and rising stars.  Among the artists whose work will be on display are Sfiso ka Mkame, Zamani Makhanya, Malibongwe Shangase, Sibusiso Duma, Major Ndlovu, Jabulani Cele and Kenneth Shandu.

“Typically, the AAC is more than a retail outlet – it is a creative hub for art-makers and crafters, many of whom spend time on site. On Fridays, visitors can watch artists at work on their beading, jewellery-making and woodwork,” adds the spokesman.

“The joining of these two remarkable veteran organisations makes Roberts House an even more attractive, bustling and in-demand destination than before – most especially for visitors, tourists, cultural outings and educational institutions. In challenging financial times, combining resources and spaces makes sensible economic sense too.

A work titled Becoming (A Sense of), at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood,

“This perfect marriage offers a retail component to complement Phansi, enabling visitors after having seen the remarkable collection of artefacts, effectively to buy contemporary versions of the pieces on display.  Visitors can now see the old and the new side by side.”

The KZNSA Gallery exhibition opening at 6pm on Tuesday, July 23, is titled instæruption and is free and open to all.

The exhibition is described as is a cross between site-specific installation, collaborative work and a creative eruption that coexists with CVA post-graduate and staff exhibition. It seeks to interrupt the traditional relationships between viewer, work and space.

“View instæruption to see, understand and experience their production environment in a different way. What we traditionally think of as our materials also have natures and intelligence.  It becomes a doorway to realising we are an element of communal intelligence,” says a spokesman.

“UKZN’s CVA offers postgraduate study for artists at the diploma, honours, masters and doctoral level, in addition to the Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art (BAVA) undergraduate degree.

“This exhibition of postgraduate work includes interdisciplinary explorations as well as ‘traditional’ media of drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and digital art. The CVA aims to support undergraduate students to become ‘entrepreneurial thinkers and doers’.”

 

BILLY SUTER reports that two interesting art exhibitions are running this month at galleries in Durban – one titled “Resilience” and the other, “instæruption”. … More Two new Durban exhibitions

Art works sale for museum funds

Lee Scott’s Fish and Chips, a work contributed to the Phansi project in Durban.

………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………
BY BILLY SUTER

ART works by several KwaZulu-Natal artists will go on sale at a special fundraising event at Durban’s Phansi Museum, 500 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood, from noon on Saturday, June 29.

The art and resulting exhibition has been created specially for the event, under the banner Be Inspired by Phansi. Admission to the event is R100 a head and art works will sell for R400 each.

Jannie van Heerden’s pencil-crayon drawing of the Msinga area.

Durban architect Paul Mikula founded the Phansi Ubuntu Art Museum in 2005, in the former home of Esther Roberts, one of Durban’s iconic freedom fighters and social anthropologists.

The house and the outbuildings have been the nurturing ground of many artists and architects who went on to contribute significantly to the cultural tapestry of South Africa. This collection is now recognised as a national asset and is visited by thousands annually.

“Local artists have been invited to reinterpret, in a medium of their choice, the Phansi Museum space. The final artworks will be sold  to raise funds for the museum, allowing people to go home with something created locally in support of Phansi’s mission to preserve Indigenous artifacts and knowledge,” says a spokesman.

A painting by Derrick Nxumalo.

Participating artists include Bronwen Findlay, Grace Kotze, Lee Scott Hemson, Pam Benporath, Catherine Stempowski, Lorraine Wilson, Camilla Kinnear, Dina Cormick, John Roome, Garth Walker , Louise Torr, Daryl Houghton, Dane Stops, Karla Nixon, Hermine Coleman, Cameron Platter and Derrick Nxumlo

Also contributing are Elliott Mkhize, Sfiso ka Mkame, Maggie Matthews, Pascale Chandler, Nindya Bucktowur, Nikhil Tricam, Lara Mellon,  Hlengiwe Dube, Kay Smart, Jannie van Heerden, Sibusiso Duma, Jo Anne Kuter, Anthea Martin, Jane Bedford, Jenny Pudifen, Mariek Petzer, Joseph Manana, Nicole Pletts, Pascale Chandler, Neith Moore and Anne Cleveland.

 

BILLY SUTER reports on a special art exhibition and fundraiser for Durban’s Phansi Ubuntu Art Museum, founded in the Glenwood area in 2005. … More Art works sale for museum funds

Diverse range of local art

A view of Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood, where work by 25 local artists is now on show.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
BY BILLY SUTER

SOME interesting things are happening on the Durban and Pietermaritzburg art scenes, including the opening, at 6pm on Tuesday, May 21, of an exhibition by Banele Khoza, titled Seeking Love. This will be at the Durban Art Gallery in the City Hall building.

Also of note is an exhibition by various local artists, running until June 2 at the KZNSA Gallery in Bulwer Park, Glenwood, titled Ikhono Lasenatali.

Note, too, that Pietermaritzburg’s Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition by Umhlanga-based artist Angelika Anastasis, who works in ceramics and oils.

There will be a free walkabout with artist Banele Khoza from 10am to noon on Wednesday, May 22, at which this 2017 Gerard Sekoto award-winner will discuss his work.

Seeking Love, running until June 21 at the Durban Art Gallery, is a collection of work that reflects the complex nature of love, how important it is to acknowledge the heart’s desires and to also learn self-love – which Khoza wants people to walk away from the exhibition thinking about.

“This exhibition is an open love letter to whoever is watching or reading my work – also to God/All/The universe. I am confessing that I am ready, and I am letting go of the search,” explains the artist.

Khoza is a Swazi-born and South African-based visual artist. He first enrolled at the London International School of Fashion in Pretoria, but soon realised his passion was in the Fine Arts realm.

Banele Khoza, whose Seeking Love exhibition opens at the Durban  art gallery on Tuesday, May 21.

He holds a B Tech in Fine Arts from Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria. In 2017, he won the prestigious Gerard Sekoto Award and with it a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

The Durban Art Gallery is open seven days a week – from 8.30am to 4pm  Mondays to Saturdays, and from 11am to 3.45pm on Sundays and public holidays.  Entry is free and all are welcome. For more info, phone (031) 311 2264 / 9.

The current KZNSA Gallery exhibition, Ikhono Lasenatali is a collection of commissions by acclaimed South African visual activist, Zanele Muholi, to 25 young KwaZulu-Natal visual artists to reinterpret Muholi’s self-portraits from the Somnyama Ngonyama project in each young artist’s medium and technique.

The exhibition at the KZNSA, curated by Bajabulile Dhlamini and Thobeka Bhengu, celebrates KwaZulu-Natal’s talent and provides a platform for the young artists to showcase their skills and craft.

Ikhono Lasenatali also forms part of a 25 Years of Democracy commemoration, with the interpretations of Somnyama Ngonyama by mostly ‘born-free’ artists speaking to social ills and touching on Muholi’s themes of gender, race, politics, sexuality, collaboration, and collectivism.

Participating artists are: Mpilo Makhanya, Bongani Luthuli, Lindokuhle Khumalo, Mlamuli Mkhwanazi, Mthobisi Maphumulo, Mduduzi Dzanibe, Londiwe Mtshali, Andile Maphumulo, Sthenjwa Luthuli, Lungisani Ndlovu, Nomusa Mtshali, Morgan Mohape, Sphephelo Mnguni, Ncumisa Mcitwa, Major Ndlovu, Mondli Mbhele, Zwelinjani Radebe, Shabo Bhengu, Mhlonishwa Chiliza, Khulekani Mkhize, Lindani Nyandeni, Nhlakanipho Gcwabe, Thembi Mtshali, Thalente Khomo, Wonder Mbambo and Nkosikhona Majola.

There are numerous educational activities planned throughout the exhibition, including public and schools walkabouts. These will facilitate in-depth discussions on national, continental and international issues relevant to the artworks selected.

Discussions will also provide a vibrant overview of South African contemporary art and art history, encouraging participants to engage in critical thinking and analysis through visual interactions and experience.

Drawing Out the Lines, a work by by Umhlanga-based artist Angelika Anastasis, on show at the Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.

For more information on the exhibition, the education programme or to book a walkabout for a school, contact Thobeka Bhengu at 073 968 0825 or the KZNSA Education Officer, Summaya Menezes, at 083 307 8619.

Jenni Cramer, the curator of Pietermaritzburg’s Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery, describes as “fresh and exciting” the latest exhibition by Angelika Anastasis, which opened this week and runs until the end of August.

Anastasis is an artist who has always loved colour which she uses with ease in her canvases. This contrasts with the refreshing starkness of her ceramic pieces.

“This artist has a wonderful way of expressing herself through confident use of colour and also bold outlines used on the canvas. All of her pieces on display include the image of a woman, but with many different interpretations, and also individual ‘stories’ which are partnered with each painting,” explains Cramer.

Anastasis won the Regional award for Ceramics South Africa 2017. She is both a ceramic and a contemporary oil artist.

Mantombi, a work by Angelika Anastasis.

She has exhibited both in Johannesburg and Durban, in joint painting exhibitions with Jody Waterson and with Nicole Pletts, as well as participating in a number of group exhibitions. She has sold work both locally and internationally.

Anastasis worked for many years as a counsellor, using her psychology background and UK training as a hypnotherapist and psychic within the ‘mind-body’ space.  Within this space she learned of the significance of symbols, seeing them as hints of intuition to take direction.

Angelika uses symbols in particular birds as a reference to one’s intuition and inner knowing. The heart also features in many of her paintings, and she sees the heart as allowing one to overcome fear, our biggest stumbling block.

She is inspired by women, focusing on their strengths, vulnerabilities and archetypes. A cacophony of colour is diametrically opposed to the formal shapes Angelika experienced in London. The triangular shapes of Proteas and softer shapes of roses also draw her in.

Working primarily with oil colours and with a loose natural style, she is currently exploring the world of mixed media by bringing in more graphic shapes.

The Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery is at Butterflies for Africa, 37 Willowton Road, Pietermaritzburg, The number to call for more information is (033) 387 1356.

BILLY SUTER reports on three diverse art exhibitions currently to be seen in Durban and Pietermaritzburg– including one involving work by 25 local artists. … More Diverse range of local art

18 artists collaborate in the Midlands

Tahina Ratoarivony and Mat Li get creative at the workshop which has been held at  the Kings School, Nottingham Road, since April 1 and culminates with an open day on April 13.. All pictures by Thalante Khomo.

………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………
BY BILLY SUTER        

EIGHTEEN artists from around the world are collaborating to make art together in the Midlands – at the Thupelo International Arts Workshop, a free open day for which is planned from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, April 13.

The venue is the Kings School, Nottingham Road, where the workshop began on April 1. The open day will see the work on display for public viewing and audience engagement.

Self-directed education through interactive creative practice, exchange of ideas and skills mark the international workshop, which has  artists from five countries working together in various disciplines.

This is an initiative of the Cape Town-based Greatmore Studios, which received a great response from close to 80 art makers from all over the world wanting to be considered for one of the spaces to benefit from this opportunity. The multi-lingual, multi-cultural participants work and live on campus at King’s School for the duration of the residency.

“The idea behind the workshop’s ethos is about creating space for making art without the pressures of structured conventions often accompanying the so-called ‘mainstream’ institutions,” explains Witty Nyide, co-ordinator for both regional and international KZN-based Thupelo workshops.

Nkcubeko Balani of Grahamstown  is among the artists collaborating to make art together in the Midlands – at the Thupelo International Arts Workshop in Nottingham Road.

“It is open to self-motivated visual artists who are keen to expand their ideas, exchange knowledge and experiment in fellowship with other artists

“This also encourages a space for sharing skills and ideas in an innovative environment where artists feel safe to experiment and learn from one another.

“Since 1985, each workshop, regional or international, has had its own identity which unfolds as the workshop progresses. The material budget is often quite low, so sharing and the use of found objects or donated materials is encouraged,” adds Nyide.

Thupelo, which is a Sotho phrase meaning ‘to teach by example’, was initiated in 1985, in Johannesburg, by David Koloane, together with the late Bill Ainsle and a group of artists.

Both regional and international Thupelo workshops were initiated in response to a need for interaction between artists and are therefore artists-led. It is part of the international Triangle network of studio and workshop initiatives. Durban hosted a regional workshop last December.

Participants are: Anushka Kempken (Jhb); Crawford Mandumbwa  (Zambia); Danisile Ncube(Zimbabwe);  Khaya Sineyile (CT); Lara Vlaska (Germany);  Mat Li (Madagascar); Ncumisa Mcitwa (Durban); Nkcubeko Balani (Grahamstown); Nomusa Mtshali (Durban); Owen Shikabeta (Zambia); Selloane Moeti (Durban);  Tahina Rakotoarivony (Madagascar); Vanessa Chen (CT); Thalente Khomo (Durban); Clive Sithole (Durban); Thami Jali (Durban); Anthony Cawood (CT) and Witty Nyide (Pretoria).

If there is demand for a bus to take people from Durban to Midlands and home again for the morning, one can be organised for a nominal fee. Should you be keen to take arranged transport, contact Witty Nyide at 076 333 3671.

BILLY SUTER reports that 18 artists are making art together in the Midlands – at the Thupelo International Arts Workshop, a free open day for which is planned for April 13. … More 18 artists collaborate in the Midlands

KZN: What’s On this weekend

Miriam Erasmus and Frank Graham are the stars of Burns Night in Kloof this weekend

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
BY BILLY SUTER

ENTERTAINMENT on offer in Durban this weekend includes a salute to Frank Sinatra – titled Sinatra… Quite Frankly  – which is to be staged at the Umbilo branch of the Rhumbelow Theatre, 42 Cunningham Road, off Bartle Road.

Performances are scheduled for 8pm on Friday and Saturday (January 25 and 26) and 2pm on Sunday (January 27).

The show stars Anthony Stonier and pays tribute to all the great hits associated with Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with cards). Book at Computicket outlets or phone Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636.

These are also the ticket prices and contact numbers for Burns Night, an evening of Scottish music and poetry, to be staged at the Rhumbelow Theatre’s Kloof branch at Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (January 25 and 26) and 2pm on Sunday (January 27).

Featuring Miriam Erasmus, Frank Graham and The Durban Regiment Pipe Band, the event is a celebration of the life, music and poetry of Robert Burns, the author of many Scots poems.

Anthony Stonier stars in Sinatra… Quite Frankly.

A reminder that Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood opened its year this week with a women-led exhibition, Mating Birds Vol 2, which is said to engage with art and documents dealing head-on with the effects of colonial and apartheid laws in South African contemporary sexual relationships

Scheduled to run at the park-side gallery until February 10, the exhibition is curated by Gabi Ngcobo with Sumayya Menezes and Zinhle Khumalo.

Mating Birds Vol 2 is a curatorial essay that takes the late Lewis Nkosi’s novel, Mating Birds, as a starting point. The novel is used to visualise the troublesome histories associated with the Immorality Acts of the parliament of colonial and apartheid South Africa,” says a spokesman.

“The effects of these acts are presented through the staging of an exhibition as an essay that draws on original artwork as well as reference material from art, literature, philosophy, legal documents, letters, newspaper clippings and exhibition catalogues, among other sources.

The exhibition features artists Billie Zangewa, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Lady Skollie, Sabelo Mlangeni, Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Tracey Rose and Trevor Makhoba.

Gallery entry is free and all are welcome.

Looking ahead… a treat is in store next week with guitarist James Grace, one of South Africa’s leading concert artists, lined up as the headliner on Wednesday, January 30, at the fortnightly Music in the Hills (MiTH) event, held in a barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Drive, Hilton.

In recent years, James has appeared with the Cape Philharmonic, the KwaZulu- Natal Philharmonic, the Johannesburg Festival, the Johannesburg Philharmonic and the Free State Symphony in concerti by Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos, Giuliani and Vivaldi.

He studied at the Royal College of Music in London as a Foundation Scholar with Carlos Bonell. Upon graduating he became the first guitarist in the history of the college to receive the Tagore Gold Medal, an annual award presented to the most outstanding student.

James has recently released his sixth solo album, Chilled, under his own record label, Stringwise Records. His previous two releases, Sevilla – Music of Spain II and Café Latino, both topped the Classic Fm Top 20 South African Charts and earned James SAMA nominations for Best Popular Classical Album and Best Instrumental Album respectively.

He will perform from 9pm on January 30, following an 8pm performance by Brian Bedingfield (of Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters), who will showcase his new solo project, called Finger Trouble, with some help from friends old and new.

Guitarist James Grace headlines at Hilton’s MiTH event on January 30.

Brian will interlace his performance with stories about life, the universe and songwriting.

Performing from 7.30pm will be Byron Love, who was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg. He started out on the local pub circuit after completing his compulsory “national service” and has been gigging ever since, with stints in Pietermaritzburg, Durban, Ballito and the South Coast.

Byron performs covers and also writes his own material. His first album, The Byron Love Consortium – Free Rebel, was released in 2013.

Opening the MiTH programme on January 30 will be Sivan Cruywagen, a Grade 12 student at GHS in Pietermaritzburg, who has been singing since she was eight.

Her genre is classic soul, with covers from London Grammar, Adele, James Arthur, Lana Del Ray and others.

MiTH a semi-open mic music club whose  doors open at 6pm and the music flows from 7pm. Admission is R40 at the door.

Take along your own booze. Food and soft drinks are available for sale. Ca;; Charles Websyer at 082 331 7271 if you require directions or more information.

BILLY SUTER reports on entertainment events in and around Durban this weekend, including a Frank Sinatra tribute show, a fascinating art exhibition and a ‘Burns Night’ celebration … More KZN: What’s On this weekend

Art and sexual relationships

Artist Simnikiwe Buhlungu is among those participating in the Mating Birds Vol 2 exhibition opening in Durban this month.

………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………
BY BILLY SUTER

DURBAN’S KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood opens the year with a women-led exhibition, Mating Birds Vol 2, which is said to engage with art and documents dealing head-on with the effects of colonial and apartheid laws in South African contemporary sexual relationships

Scheduled to run at the park-side gallery from January 17 to February 10, the exhibition is curated by Gabi Ngcobo with Sumayya Menezes and Zinhle Khumalo.

Mating Birds Vol 2 is a curatorial essay that takes the late Lewis Nkosi’s novel, Mating Birds, as a starting point. The novel is used to visualise the troublesome histories associated with the Immorality Acts of the parliament of colonial and apartheid South Africa (Act No.5 of 1927, Act No. 23 of 1957, Act No. 57 of 1969),” says a spokesman.

“The effects of these acts are presented through the staging of an exhibition as an essay that draws on original artwork as well as reference material from art, literature, philosophy, legal documents, letters, newspaper clippings and exhibition catalogues, among other sources.

“The essay exposes how contemporary perspectives on sex, sexuality and sexual relationships have been shaped, contested or maintained.”

Local artist Lady Skollie.

Published in 1983/86, Nkosi’s novel is set in Durban’s segregated beaches and narrated by a black man awaiting execution for allegedly raping a white woman. The novel was equally critiqued and praised by many, including Henry Louis Gates jnr,  who remarked on how it “confronts boldly and imaginatively the strange interplay of bondage, desire and torture inherent in interracial sexual relationships within the South African prison house of apartheid” (New York Times, 1986) .

Meanwhile, South African writer Andre Brink (1935-2015) accused Nkosi of being fascinated with inter-racial sexual relations and of being guilty of “distortion and exaggeration”.

“Mating Birds Vol 2 uses the exhibition space to map the manner in which artists have intervened in the space of sexual politics. It also looks at how they continue to reshape the visual vocabulary of sexuality and sexual freedoms while questioning the way bodies are still impacted by the residual nature of repressing colonial and apartheid policies.”

The exhibition features artists Billie Zangewa, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Lady Skollie, Sabelo Mlangeni, Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Tracey Rose and Trevor Makhoba.

Reference materials are drawn from literature, including Bessie Head, Lebo Mashile, Lewis Nkosi, Makhosazana Xaba and Zakes Mda, as well philosophical texts, historical archives and other sources.

Gallery entry is free and all are welcome. A walkabout with the curators and participating artists is scheduled for 10am on Friday, January 18.

Mating Birds Vol 2 is made possible with funding from the Department of Arts and Culture.

 

BILLY SUTER reports that Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood opens the year with a women-led exhibition, “Mating Birds Vol 2,” which engage with art and sexual relationships … More Art and sexual relationships

Trees from recycled material

Khehla Ngobese from KwaMashu. New to sculpture, typically working as a painter and illustrator, he is making an anti-pollution boat as his personal project, using wire.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………..

SIX artists with different backgrounds and experiences have been collaborating on an innovative art project, Speak for the Trees, using recycled and found materials for the past few weeks, culminating in an exhibition to rub at Durban’s Community ZA Gallery from December 5 to 8.

Admission to the gallery, at 3 Millar Road, off Umgeni Road, Stamford Hill, is free and all are welcome.

Speak for the Trees, a Mzansi Arts Development’s Art for a Healthy Lifestyle project, is supported by the Arts and Culture Trust in association with the Nedbank Arts Affinity.

“Art for a Healthy Lifestyle is a campaign to promote community health and well-being through the medium of creative arts,” explains project producer, Lerato Bellinda Molemong from Mzansi Arts Development Ensemble, who initiated the project.

“Turning garbage into art is one of the fundamental projects in the campaign and holds a significant position in the cleaning up of the environment as well as in the spread of awareness around littering and waste disposal and its adverse health effects. It is a six-week project that results in a theme park filled with artworks by resident artists from  KwaMashu.”

Visual artist Christine Adams has been facilitating the process.

“We have been training for five weeks working in 3D media which has been a new experience for most of the participants, who typically are painters and sketchers,” she explains.

“We have made five life-size trees from recycled materials which will on display as the entre piece of the exhibition – called Speak for the Trees. The participants also have been working on individual pieces of work which will be exhibited alongside the trees.

“The process teaches art-making skills and interpersonal collaboration,” she adds.

“Art is a way of communicating. It is about expressing the self and sharing feelings – much like a language,” says Selbourne Sithembiso Shangase,  the most experienced art maker in the group.

Selbourne Sithembiso Shangase with his quirky “pigfish” sculpture and design sketch.

“Working collaboratively means teaching people without being aware that you are teaching. Art means we can express ourselves while impressing others.

“I am grateful to Andries Botha who nurtured and mentored me through the Community Arts Workshop. I am happy to be able to now mentor others. We must work together – collaboration is the only way. When two elephants are fighting, the grass suffers.”

“I am new to this having just finished matric,” says Lizeka Shezi,  one of the younger participants. “I don’t have any experience as an artist – it is my passion that is driving me and I love learning these new skills.”

The group is made up of six artists from KwaMashu gleaned through the ongoing MADE’s arts learnership programme. Participants are Sithembiso Shangase, Gift Dlamini, Thembinkosi Ngobese, Lizeka Shezi, Khulekani Mkhize and Zazi Nxumalo.

They are being mentored by project co-ordinator and exhibition curator, Christine Adams, with support from Selbourne Sithimbiso Shangase The intention is to learn from each other’s’ experiences during the process.

Established in 2005, Mzansi Arts Development (MADE) is a non-profit, community-driven organisation inspired by the lack of skills, slow growth and recognition of the SA arts industry.

MADE promotes arts and culture as a source of personal fulfilment and carves a potential career path for students and interns in a myriad art forms – performing and visual arts – affirming their skills through an integrated academic training and development programme.

It is hoped that the Speak for the Trees exhibition will find a more permanent place to be displayed, after the initial display, in one of the city’s parks or public places.

BILLY SUTER reports that six artists from different backgrounds have been collaborating on an innovative art project, “Speak for the Trees”, to be viewed in Durban early in December. … More Trees from recycled material

Fibreworks art and a creative forage

A work by Jeanette Gilks titled Draped Forest. It forms part of the EDGE exhibition.

……………………………………………………………..………………………………………………….……
BY BILLY SUTER        

DURBAN’S KZNSA Gallery bordering Bulwer Park in Glenwood is presenting  two new interesting and diverse exhibitions until October 28.

The Main Gallery is hosting EDGE by National Fibreworks, while the Mezzanine Gallery is showcasing a solo exhibition by Durban artist Grace Kotze. Both exhibitions opened on October 10.

EDGE marks the 20th anniversary of the South African Fibreworks group which is displaying recent work of Fibreworks members. There are three parts to the show: an open, non-themed section; a themed section where Fibreworks artists were challenged to create a new work in response to an existing South African artwork displayed in any South African gallery or museum; and finally, a Major Minors display of 25cm x 25cm works.

“During the course of the exhibition, a textile installation will unfold where members of the public are invited to participate in a collaborative artwork,” says a gallery spokesman.

Tilly de Harde’s Edge of Extinction, part of the EDGE exhibition in Durban.

“The idea of a Fibreworks collective was conjured up in 1998 by a group of female friends. While some came from quilting backgrounds and others were trained in graphic design or fine art, they were united in the commitment to promote fibre and textile art as a serious art form’

Jeanette Gilks, Fibreworks’ chairman and a founding member, says” ‘We were all interested in creating a group dedicated to promoting change within the existing art and craft platforms in South Africa, and we were keen to generate interaction, present new challenges and foster critical input from our members”.

The exhibition is accompanied by a public participation programme. Small squares of white fabric and various kinds of recycled objects – for example,  aluminum pull-tabs and buttons – will be available, and members of the public are invited to create a ‘Square of their Thoughts’. Any thoughts or images!

These small material tiles will be displayed on the gallery floor as an expanding installation. Anyone can add their thoughts to the growing body of the collaborative TEXT-TILE artwork.

Spoils of a Creative Forage is the title of Grace Kotze’s exhibition which tells of her present creative meanderings.

Kotze’s exhibitions usually consist of a very limited subject base through which she explores her concerns.

She says in a press release: “At present, my mind is like an overactive mouse, scurrying through an overstocked pantry gathering delicious visuals. Hence Spoils of a Creative Forage is full of a myriad subjects held together by an emotional pull.

“I am very conscious of humanity’s attachment to objects through emotional bonds formed by family stories, memories of past experiences and associations. These objects become almost like a talisman that hold some greater power than inanimate objects.”

Interwoven with these themes are the creatures of Durban that bring suggested movement into the genre of the still life

“As much as I love still lives, adding a subject that moves always allows me to exhale during the creative and viewing process.

“All the birds and animals that I paint are ones I have stalked and photographed in Durban. This gives me a deeper understanding and compassion for the manner in which they have to navigate their way around the city.’

A work by Graze Kotze that forms part of her Spoils of a Creative Forage exhibition in Durban.

 

BILLY SUTER reports that Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood is hosting two interesting new exhibitions until October 28. – works by the Fibreworks group and by Grace Kotze. … More Fibreworks art and a creative forage

Music, food and Phansi Museum art

Resident artist Peter Engblom and a section of The Community Murals Project at the Phansi Museum in Glenwood, Durban. Picture by Niamh  Walsh-Vorster.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………….
BY BILLY SUTER

IN CELEBRATION of Heritage Month, Durban’s Phansi Museum at 500 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood, will present music, food and art from 5pm to 7.30pm on Thursday, September 13.

Join artists Ildo Nandja, Milton Chissano, Hailey Fudu and Ashantewaa Ngidi for an intimate evening of unity building, music and dinner to celebrate diversity during Heritage Month.

Prebook your discounted tickets on Quicket for R100 (R50 per child). This includes dinner.

Also note that the museum is currently hosting The Community Murals Project until September 21. This has history remembered through an eight-panel visual project by resident artist, Peter Engblom, who created the collages in the Roberts House Cowshed adjoining the museum.

“A remarkable figure in the art world of our province was Terry Anne Stevenson, the friend and confidant of so many grassroots artists. Through their murals her group, together with the people who often illegally occupied public spaces, reclaimed them all over the province,” says a gallery spokesman.

A section of the an eight-panel visual project by resident artist, Peter Engblom.

“Who can forget the Human Rights murals on the Durban Prison wall – all three layers of them. The Bat Centre murals, the grand and giving Umkubulwana at Berea station and the Market. No wall was safe in those early days of democracy.

“No school, no railway station, no under- or overpass, or lonely wall could withstand a Community Murals attack. Many individuals branched out and became remarkable artists in their own right.

“Terry Anne, through her relationship with the African Art Centre, Rorke’s Drift and quite a number of informal and formal art collectives, became the conduit through which many township, rural and urban artists entered the public space.

“In her memory and all those who worked with her, the trustees decided to embark on a legacy project that will be of long-lasting value. It follows the arts in KZN from the days, about 200 years ago, when records were first kept.”

The plan is to tell this history around a number of nodes with which people are   familiar. The influence of the missions; training of techniques and concepts of western art and religion in places like Ceza, Rourke’s Drift and Marianhill; Ndaleni; the celebration of indigenous art during the Grossert years; Adams Mission and the importance of the African Art Centre, the Community Art Project and the Bat Centre.

“From these we branch out and follow leads in all directions. All is placed against a backdrop of the politics and social engineering at the time.”

BILLY SUTER reports that Durban’s Phansi Museum in Glenwood, in celebration of Heritage Month, will present music, food and art from 5pm to 7.30pm on Thursday, September 13. … More Music, food and Phansi Museum art