Art and sexual relationships

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


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.


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.


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

Platter of colourful art works

A work by Johannesburg-born artist Cameron Platter.


A COLOURFUL exhibition by a noted Johannesburg-born artist whose work appears in collections all over the world – including the Museum of Modern Art in New York – opens at the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood, Durban, next month.

The exhibition of new paintings, sculptural assemblages, collages and video is by Cameron Platter, titled GALAXY AS0-730223NMJ-ZSDSSS. It will run in the gallery’s Main and Mezzanine Galleries, as well as the Media Room, from September 6 to October 7.

A painting by Cameron Platter.

The opening, at 5.30pm on September 6, will be preceded, at 4pm that day, by Platter hosting a question-and-answer session. All are welcome and entry is free.

Platter’s work also appears in the Iziko South African National Gallery; the FRAC Centre, Pays de la Loire, France; Margulies Collection, Miami, US; The Zietz MOCAA, South Africa; and The New Church Collection in South Africa.

His work has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Artforum, NYAQ, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Vice Magazine and the NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art.

Platter was born in 1978 in Johannesburg. He graduated with a BFA in painting from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 2001, and now lives in KwaZulu Natal.

BILLY SUTER reports that an colourfyl exhibition by a widely acclaimed, Johannesburg-born artist opens at the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood, Durban, next month. … More Platter of colourful art works

Artistic flights of fancy…

A work by Darryl Houghton on the Themes exhibition headed for Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood,


TWO new exhibitions, Flight of Fancy by Ceramics Southern Africa, and Themes, a group exhibition by Garret Artists, open at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood on Tuesday, August 21.

Running until September 2, Flight of Fancy will be in the Main Gallery. It will showcase work of the members of the KwaZulu-Natal branch of Ceramics Southern Africa, with guest artists Margot Rudolph and Phumlani Nyawo.

A work by Margot Rudolph in the Flight of Fancy exhibition.

Rudolph obtained her national diploma in Ceramic Design at the Pretoria Technikon in 1986. She returned full-time to pottery and opened her own studio in 1996.

She works mainly in stoneware combined with colours, and her individual style embraces a distinctly African theme. She draws inspiration from indigenous plants and textures, manifesting in vibrantly unique ceramic works of art.

Rudolph has won an award on the regional ceramic exhibition and has exhibited on regional and national exhibitions organised by the Ceramics SA, as well as various group exhibitions and solo exhibitions.

Phumlani Nyawo has been involved in ceramic art since 2006, but says he learnt a lot from his brothers when he was a youngster and still living at home in Pongola. “My brothers made the pottery and inspired me to get involved in art.”

Besides his brothers, Phumlani says other artists such as Clive Sithole have had a huge impact on him as an artist, and he has learnt a lot from them.

He uses time-honoured techniques. His forms are contemporary, dramatic yet timeless. His beautiful ceramics are ideally suited for placement on coffee tables, bookshelves or anywhere they can be seen at eye level for guests to admire.

Themes, also running until September 2, is an exhibition from the Garret Artists group, which has been in existence for 25-plus years and comprises a number of local artists who meet once a week to make art and exchange ideas.

The essential focus of the group is on drawing, but that term is loosely interpreted to mean works on paper. This broad definition of ‘drawing’ even allows for the inclusion of printmaking, and a series of lino prints are included in the exhibition.

Media used ranges from graphite pencils to paper collages and from charcoal sticks to drawing inks.  In other words, the artists explore a wide range of mark making materials and this adds a particular vitality to their works.

The artists work around a broad common theme over a number of weeks with each theme serving as a means of providing the art making process with both direction and unity. However, the aim is for each artist to investigate a given theme in a very personal way within very broad parameters.

Personal expression is thus paramount and no tuition, as such, is given.  Constructive criticism of the artworks is invited and plays a vital and integral role within the group.

Members can learn from each other in a supportive, affirming environment and so strengthen their own art making processes.  A range of themes will be discerned within the current exhibition and include ‘coastLINES’, ‘Shoes’, ‘Plants in Containers’, ‘Vessels’, and ‘Buildings’.

A colourful woodcut print by Ezequiel Mabote, on show in Pietermaritzburg..

Still on the local art scene… note that some colourful new woodcut prints by Ezequiel Mabote are now to be seen at The Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery, which is housed in the same complex as the fascinating Butterflies for Africa attraction at 37 Willowton Road in Pietermaritzburg.

“We’re delighted to present a new collection by one of Southern Africa’s most popular woodcut artists – from the quirky to the serene, these woodcut prints demonstrate Ezequiel’s fine workmanship in delivering pieces alive with joyful movement and creativity,” says curator Jeni Cramer.

Mabote is a self-taught artist from Mozambique who got his inspiration as a child, learning from older boys in his neighbourhood who did woodcarving and fabric design.

He learnt the basics of art at school but was forced to abandon these studies to find work to support his family. Later in life he got the opportunity to study fine art at the Nucleo de Arte in Maputo, where he developed his skills in woodcut printing.

“The high degree of quality and professionalism in his work is testament to his talent and dedication to art. Ezequiel’s work has been exhibited in a number of galleries worldwide, including several exhibitions in New York and Chicago,” says Cramer.

For more details contact (033) 3871356 or visit the website:

For my review of the gallery and the delightful Butterflies for Africa enclose – which has attracted more than 100 species of butterfly to a 6 000 square-metre garden created soley to attract the creatures – click here:

BILLY SUTER reports on two new exhibitions, ‘Flight of Fancy’ by Ceramics Southern Africa and ‘Themes’, a group exhibition by Garret Artists, opening at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery soon. … More Artistic flights of fancy…

Madiba focus at Hilton Arts Festival

This massive Mandela work. made up of crochetted blankets, was unveiled at Zonderwater Prison outside Cullinan in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s centenary. Picture by John Hogg.


IN HONOUR  of Nelson Mandela’s centenary year, the Hilton Arts Festival in September will have a special Madiba focus – from art work to theatre, blankets to installations and massive public art sculptures – when the event runs at various venues in the Hilton College grounds from September 14 to 16.

Two massive outdoor exhibitions have been arranged, the first being the thought-provoking “Think” bench, encouraging patrons to think differently. Rand Merchant Bank commissioned self-taught sculptor and artist Louis Olivier, who regularly works with the renowned William Kentridge, to create a series of art works that are both functional and attractive. The massive structure, spanning 14m, is one of a series of ‘benches’ which adorn public places – in this large-scale project that has been underway for some years.

Oliver was commissioned by RMB through its art curator, Teresa Lizamore, to create a pair of contemporary bookends inspired by Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker. This evolved into the benches – a larger scale version of the book-end concept.

Detail from T.O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E, a monumental public art sculpture consisting of nine letters in bronze.

The “Think” bench spells ‘THINK’ from one side and from another appears to be life-size figures interacting at different angles.

The second work will be based outside the school’s Chapel: T.O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E is a monumental public art sculpture consisting of nine letters in bronze.

International artist Guy Ferrer – who is French of Mediterranean origin – created this work as an ode to tolerance, depicting priests, wise men and pilgrims entwined in the letters, which suggests a religion, belief or spirituality. His starting point was a quote by the Dalai Lama: “It is not of importance that one be a believer or not:  what is important is to be tolerant”.

In Buzz Room 3, a collection of John Meyer’s artworks, Mandela: A Life’s Journey, will be on display. The collection of numbered signed prints, owned by Andrew Dunn, is on permanent loan to Hilton College and will be curated, thanks to The Everard Read Gallery and the Tatham Art Gallery, for the public to appreciate. The 16 prints need to be viewed in sequence and follow the story of Madiba’s life.

Making its second appearance at the festival, featuring in Buzz Room 1, is the participative initiative, 67 Blankets for Mandela. This ‘Knitting Revolution for Nelson Mandela’ sparked ‘Knitwits’ from around the globe to contribute and create blankets and scarves for the thousands of less fortunate during winter.

They recently broke the Guinness Book of Records record for the world’s longest scarf, measuring in at over 29 km.

Inspired by the life and character of Mandela, pianist, composer, arranger, Burton Naidoo has transcribed some of Madiba’s most iconic speeches. The concert, entitled Our Song, includes the words of the speeches harmonised in the effort to create a musical backdrop to these important pieces. Burton has also written new compositions to compliment the performance.

Written for solo piano and track, the works audiences can expect include speeches from the Rivonia Trial, praise singing from Sthembile Mlangeni and Zolani Mkhiva at the inauguration, as well as FW De Klerk’s announcement to free Nelson Mandela at Parliament, 1990.

Naidoo has performed throughout the world and continues to push the boundaries of his musical imagination. This concert is scheduled for 2pm on Saturday, September 15.

The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Tiso Black Star, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee Design, DWR Distribution,  Extreme Events, Bidvest Car Rental,  KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, Redlands Hotel, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi,  BASA, Corona and Capital Media.

The full festival programme will be available on Sunday, August 12, in The Sunday Times and on the festival website. Bookings open online on August 13.

T.,O.L.E.R.A.N.C.E is a large-scale public art sculpture consisting of nine letters in bronze.

BILLY SUTER reports that the Hilton Arts Festival in September will have a special Madiba focus – from art work to theatre, blankets to installations and massive public art sculptures. … More Madiba focus at Hilton Arts Festival

Spotlights on indigenous dolls

South African beaded dolls are among those on show at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood from July 31 to August 19. All pictures by Niamh Walsh-Vorster.


THREE fascinating examples of doll-making, featured in an exhibition titled Re-Stitching Culture: Indigenous Dolls of South Africa, Australia and Canada, will be seen in the main gallery at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood from July 31 to August 19.

The exhibition will run in tandem with Markus Wörsdörfer’s photographic solo exhibition, DriftArt, a dreamy, poetic look at findings along the shoreline, in the KZNSA’s Mezzanine Gallery. It also opens on July 31.

Entrance is free and all are welcome. The cafe bar will be open.

Re-Stitching Culture reclaims traditional practice, explores health and wellbeing, and reveals intimate human stories through doll making, according to to KZNSA spokesman.

Re-Stitching Culture reclaims traditional practice, explores health and wellbeing, and reveals intimate human stories through doll-making.

“Showcasing and bringing together three international examples of doll-making from three indigenous groups, the artists use dollmaking to highlight cultural practices that support healing through storytelling, and the sharing of oral personal narratives, which promote the transmission of cultural teachings.

“Encountering the Gomeroi gaaynggal programme, colourful Yarning dolls (Australia); the Six Nations Haudenosaunee People, and their faceless cornhusk dolls (Canada); and the Siyazama Project (South Africa) with their beautiful beaded dolls that support locally relevant HIV/AIDS education, is an unusual, and unique visual experience.”

The Re-Stitching Culture gathering of dolls collectively shows how the local indigenous communities, from each nation, are strengthened through reciprocol, creative and healing processes. This, in turn, supports capacity building for problem solving, and the reclaiming of indigenous knowledge, history and identity.

Communal craft and art-making has traditionally been a visually powerful medium for expressing cultural identities. In the pre-colonial past, plant and animal materials were gathered, and crafted in combination with storytelling, singing and dancing.

These actions helped to maintain social relations, perpetuate ideals, and support cultural behaviours that were considered beneficial in upholding communal wellbeing.

Doll-making is an example of a communal visual art form that plays a role in supporting healthy indigenous communities. This communal gathering of individuals to learn new artistic skills and to revitalise the stories, memories and identities are exemplified by the making of their individual dolls, which are all now presented in exhibition form to further the cause and inform the public.

Some of the dolls to be exhibited at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood.

BILLY SUTER reports that three examples of doll-making will be featured in a Durban exhibition titled “Re-Stitching Culture: Indigenous Dolls of South Africa, Australia and Canada”. … More Spotlights on indigenous dolls

Electronic art explosion for Durban

Brazilian visual artist Fred Paulino from the Gambiologia Collective, from Brazil. Picture by Nidin Sanchez.


DURBAN is readying for an explosion of  electronic art as part of the varied and colourful programme planned for ISEA2018 – the 24th International Symposium on Electronic Art, which will be an attraction in the city from tomorrow, June 23, until June 30.

The event intends to create a city-wide showcase of dozens of exhibitions, events, installations, walks, festivals and activities, and a major global conference on new media art, according to a spokesman.,

“ISEA2018 is a festival in two parts: an academic symposium at Durban’s DUT City Campus (June 25 to 27 June) comprising peer-reviewed papers, panels and keynote presentations for registered delegates travelling from around the world; and then the dozens of events on the cultural programme (June 23 to 30) and public workshops (until June 24 ).”

Partner venues are DUT City Campus; KZNSA Gallery; Durban Art Gallery; Denis Hurley Centre; Emmanuel Cathedral; BAT Centre; Bond Shed; Green Hub; Warwick Junction; Treasure Island; uShaka Marine World; K-Cap; Bulwer Park and Durban City Hall.

Most events are open to the public, are family-friendly and  free of charge, the spokesman adds.

The cultural programme opens on the afternoon of Monday, June 25, at Durban’s BAT Centre on the Victoria Embankment.  Among the projects scheduled to take over the centre are culture walks exploring the stories of the harbour, sound installations along Festival Island and surrounds; and artists from Benin in West Africa sharing the “Wakpon” app which brings art to the masses by allowing anyone with access to a smart-phone or tablet to enjoy a guided exhibition tour.

Also on offer will be a short film festival looking at the power of technology, sampling and repurposing in modern story-telling, and a number of performances and artist talks.

iPhone by the Gambiologia Collective from Brazil.

Monday also sees various exhibitions opening at Durban Art Gallery, including the Invisible Exhibition in the Circular Gallery, which comprises artworks made in virtual reality by some of South Africa’s most celebrated visual artists, viewed only through an iPad. Gallery 1 will host Change Agent – a massive collaborative media arts installation by Keith Armstrong from Australia, via Limpopo; and an exhibition featuring an interesting juxtaposition of works from the DAG permanent collection.

Also look at the gallery for Mediated, a striking statement on political power by lecturers from UKZN’s Digital Arts department; and Curiosities, featuring, among other works, a delicate interactive piece by Hyojin Jang from Korea, inspired by the leaves of the lotus flower, made with ribbons, wire and lights.

“A multi-genre, multi-media performance project runs on Tuesday in the Moth Hall in Old Fort Road: eSkIN 4 the visually impaired. Under the direction of Dr Jill Scott, the project showcases wearable technology that allows visually impaired performers and choreographers to express themselves through movement and sound and in so doing, enabling them to communicate with sighted people,” says the spokesman.

“Seven visually impaired students from the Lincoln Mason School in Umlazi will work with Durban choreographers/dancers Lorin Sookool and Thobi Maphanga to create a dance piece which explores this technology.”

Tuesday has a focus at Glenwood’s KZNSA Gallery and surrounds with the “Life Hacking gallery take over” project of fun, innovative and quirky exhibits – all with a strong social consciousness message. The public opening is at 7pm and visitors can meet some of the “Free Sunshine!” little. solar-panelled protest robots created in public workshops.

Also on show are the World After Us / Server Farms which uses discarded computer hardware as a basis for up-cycled garden installations; and some Gambiologia” projects – which is the Brazilian practise of makeshift, the art of resorting to improvisation to repair what doesn’t work or to create what you need with what you have at your disposal.

Ozma – the Lost World” is a fab, French, electronic-jazz band which will be performing at the KZNSA exhibition opening on Tuesday evening – being inspired by a grainy, old, black-and-white, silent film about dinosaurs which will be showing while the band performs. If the weather is good, the gallery takeover will spill out into adjoining Bulwer Park,” says the spokesman.

Wednesday sees ISEA2018 move to Durban’s Denis Hurley Centre with a full day’s programme. Of special interest is a talk, Africa in Space – imagining the future and considering Zambians’ involvement in the space race .Of note, too is Waiting for a Revolution – an interactive installation with a portable cardboard voting booth; and a sound installation highlighting citizens of Durban’s sonic memories.

There will be a culture walk exploring the important sites around the DHC in the inner city with activations along the way. Following on from the great successes recently of concerts in Emmanuel Cathedral, there will be building projections, video mapping and performances in honour of ISEA.

The format of ISEA changes on Thursday, June 28, and Friday, June 29  – with conference delegates having morning presentations in the Bond Shed on Point followed by breakaway groups and themed sessions.

The public component of Thursday takes visitors to uShaka Marine World from 4pm with a series of water-based and ecology-themed projects including “Slipstream”, which is an under-water sound installation inside one of the uShaka pools. Also,  there will be a beach installation involving banks of TVs, sand sculptures and video installations.

Sara Retallick, an Australian artist, working on an underwater sound installation project, Slipstream, which can be enjoyed from 4.30pm on June 28 at Durban’s uShaka Marine World.

uShaka is also the site for an interesting project – Nonument is rooted in a protest installation from Detroit, about the destruction of a public fountain which was demolished despite a public uproar. The artists created an app which explores the architecture, site and location of where the fountain used to be, pushing the boundaries of architecture, history and virtual reality.

There are two projects operating from uShaka which have a strong water-based research component, the results of which have been used as the basis for art.

Iconic, internationally-respected science journal, Leonardo, will have its 50th birthday celebrations as part of the evening’s programme.

Friday evening takes ISEA to Durban’s Station Drive for a series of events celebrating unlikely bedfellows: arts,  science, beer and spices. It will be an evening of performances, projection and installations.

The rousing, unifying closing event of the ISEA2018 / Digifest05 / IF Durban season, on Saturday night, will be Interpret Durban (ID9) at the Durban City Hall – inside and outside the whole building from 6pm.

The space will be re-imagined by a team of artists from all over the world – using the spaces in an unusual way, and displaying art in various forms throughout the building. The centrepiece will be the main hall which will become a dance-floor for the evening.

Fringe events over the festival can be found at Green Hub; K-Cap at KwaMashu; the English market and various other satellite venues.

Local ISEA2018 / Digifest05 / IF Durban partners are Durban University of Technology’s Faculty of Arts and Design, Innovate Durban, eThekwini Municipality, Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau and The Trinity Session.

ISEA symposia are co-ordinated by ISEA International. Founded in the Netherlands in 1990, ISEA International (formerly Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts) is an international non-profit organisation fostering inter-disciplinary academic discourse and exchange among culturally diverse organisations and individuals working with art, science and technology. ISEA International headquarters is supported by the University of Brighton (UK).

BILLY SUTER reports that Durban is to experience a big art attack – as part of the programme for ISEA2018, the 24th International Symposium on Electronic Art (from June 23-30). … More Electronic art explosion for Durban

Art works by Starling and Gouws

A work by Nigel Starling titled Fisherman, on view at the Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.


TWO new exhibitions, one in Durban and the other in Pietermaritzburg, are sure to attract art lovers.

Works by Nigel Starling are on show at the Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery, 37 Willowton Road, at the Butterflies for Africa building which is open every Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 3.30pm, Saturdays from 9.30am to 3.30pm, and Sundays from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

Starling’s work reflects on, as well as draws inspiration from, people going about their day-to-day business. This attention to people’s lives is what he loves about painting.

Self taught, but having completed training and been inspired by many people over the past decade or so, Starling is exhibiting three, large-scale canvas pieces inspired by his travels to Mexico, and with a common theme of people earning a honest day’s living.

He uses a method of drafting which is helpful in transferring his ideas to a larger scale on canvas. This maintains the accuracy and proportion of his initial drawing of the image.

Another work by Nigel Starling on view in Pietermaritzburg.

Starling enjoys using the alkyd medium which replaces the linseed oil with alkyd resin.This decreases the drying time and allows the artist a better flow and transparency to the colour of the oil paint.

The Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery was established in 2001. It covers two floors of the Butterflies for Africa complex in Pietermaritzburg. The gallery exhibits a wide range of styles and mediums covering both established and up and coming artists from South Africa and beyond.

A wide range of local artists is featured – see the website which is regularly updated with new work, says curator Jeni Cramer.

The Starling exhibition will run until the end of July. More information is available from Cramer at (033) 387 1356.

Meanwhile, Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood opened a solo exhibition by Andries Gouws, titled Vertoef/Linger, on May 22 and is scheduled to present it until June 10.

Vertoef/Linger is Gouwss’ fifth one-man show at this park gallery. Before it arrived in Durban, it visited the Pretoria Art Museum, and after Durban it will go to the Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town.

Gouws previously had one-man shows in Chicago, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Cape Town, Grahamstown, Oudtshoorn, Potchefstroom and Stellenbosch.

“Why do I paint the way I do? Why do I paint all these rooms without people, these mirrors, these feet? I don’t know. What do my paintings mean? I don’t know,” the artist says.

“As an artist and as a philosopher I have learnt that there is no verbal equivalent for what happens visually in a painting. Moreover, the artist’s words carry no special authority.

“I tread gingerly when making an artist’s statement. Whatever I say is speculative and tentative. The silence or muteness I strive for in my paintings would be lost if they suggested a meaning which can be captured directly in words.”

He continues: “Meditation – lingering in an awareness of the here and now – plays a large role in my life. To me the mood of my paintings suggests something between the meditative and a sense of failure, perhaps abjection.

“Had they been only meditative I don’t think viewers would have found them awkward, uncanny or even desolate, in the way they do.

“Art works don’t simply arise from the artist’s personal experience, but always also from a dialogue with other artists. My paintings are a modest salute to painters like Vermeer, Piero, Morandi, Arikha, and how they capture light, space and stillness.

“Although many of the artists I admire, like Goya, Guston and Kentridge, engage with the problems and terrors of the social and political world, I can’t emulate them – the place my work arises from is too different.”

A work by Andries Gouws on show at the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood, Durban.

BILLY SUTER reports that two varied new exhibitions, one in Durban and the other in Pietermaritzburg, are sure to attract art lovers. … More Art works by Starling and Gouws