A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

crafts
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

UNTOLD TALES OF MAGIC: ABELUMBI (article first published : 2002-04-20)

Showcasing the work of 68 KZN artists, Untold Tales of Magic: Abelumbi gives a fascinating insight into myths, legends and stories from South Africa, the East and the West. It is currently on view at the Durban Art Gallery and after the exhibition closes, it will embark on an 18-month touring programme to all the KZN art galleries and most of the major art museums in South Africa

Works were chosen by a committee comprising Jill Addleson of the DAG’s Conservation Centre, DAG education officers Pat Khoza and Musa Mncwabe; Juliette Leeb-du Toit (University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg) and Yvonne Winters, museologist of the Campbell Collections.

Though relatively small in scale, Untold Tales of Magic: Abelumbi presents powerful works which comment on the theme of magic in intriguing ways. All artists were requested to write their comments about magic - both good and evil - and these comments will be published in the catalogue together with an illustration of every work on display.

Articles for the catalogue have been written by the exhibition’s curator Jill Addleson; Ashraf Jamal (who includes a charming story entitled The Shades); Juliette Leeb-du Toit; Robert Papini; Kate Wells; Yvonne Winters, and Mduduzi Xakasa who also has a work on the exhibition. The Durban Art Gallery received generous sponsorship for the publishing of the catalogue.

Unusual works include AIDS dolls made by Fokisile Ngema and Celani Nojiyeza. While they provide a means of livelihood for these two artists, the dolls are also used to spread the word about AIDS in their communities.

Other fascinating works tell the classic Zulu legend of the Night Rider who rides a baboon familiar facing backwards so as not to be recognised by his enemies. Together they travel by night, doing evil deeds. Artists who have depicted the Night Rider include Zamokwake Gumede, Julius Mfethe from Pondoland, George Msimang and Siphiwe Zulu.

M V Naidoo's oil painting Kali and the Kutti-Shaitaan depicts an incident which happened in 1935 in his own home. "Strange things were happening at the home of the Naidoos in 1935," he says, and priests "were called to exorcise the evil spirit. Among them were Zulu sangomas, Muslim priests and Hindu spiritualists. Lynette Morris-Hale depicts the Mbulu bird in her ceramic work with feathers, saying: “I have created a Mbulu bird from Xhosa legend - this is a bird that never speaks the truth and can assume any shape.”

Paula Hoch's ceramic work Pandora's Box is taken from an ancient myth in western civilisation. She writes: “The story of Pandora's Box fascinates me - there are many parallels with her story and our situation in South Africa. So many "evils" have surfaced and been exposed and escaped from the box in our country e.g. crime, corruption, disease, poverty and so on. It is thus limiting to enjoy our country in its fullest beauty and vibrancy. Even though Pandora brought "Troubles" into the world, not to be forgotten was "HOPE" that also emerged, once the lid of her box was lifted. We in South African must also not forget about "HOPE". Hope is healing and conciliation.”

Two of the most powerful works on exhibition are the bead sculpture Cross of Evil made by Thafa Dlamini and Ceaser Mkhize and Jabulani Mhlabini's untitled ceramic pot and lid.

About The Cross of Evil, the artists say: "The frog symbolises Evil. In witchcraft the frog is used as muthi. This particular frog is carrying a cross after death - it is being crucified in place of other people and not for itself. That means that one can be forced to do wrong things which were not meant to be done.”

Jabulani Mhlabini is a Pietermaritzburg artist who learnt to work with clay from his mother who produced traditional clay pots. He says: "Although my work is based on Zulu culture and customs, this piece of work is based on witchcraft. This is something which you cannot deny. We believe in sangomas to protect, heal and look after us. That is why I made this piece in the form of a sangoma".

Bronwen Findlay's painting Golden Pins shows golden safety pins scattered across the canvas. The pins are jewel-like and twinkle. Findlay says that "Magic can be found in ordinary things - 'all things bright and beautiful'".

There are works in a wide variety of media including glass, fibre, oil, wood, animal hide, clay, bronze, copper wire and silver.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart