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

festivals
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.

NAF VISUAL ART (article first published : 2007-06-13)

Re-location, collaboration, caring, and celebration are themes that recur in the exhibitions on the main programme of the National Arts Festival taking place in Grahamstown from June 28 to July 7. Entry is free to all exhibitions.

Critically challenging common assumptions and memory, the featured artists reflect on the journey towards a new hybrid national identity and cast a positive light on the prospects ahead. Multi-media artefacts and installations reinforce the message that compartmentalization is no longer effective in our lived reality. Media include video, painting, stitch, sculpture, beading and lithography. Photography dominates with three major collections featured and photography joining other media in several mixed shows.

Photographer Pieter Hugo is the 2007 Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Visual Art. His Messina/Musina comprises photographic studies of a border town where transition and transience are a way of life. Hunters and smugglers, illegal immigrants and adventurers, sex workers and law enforcers all bear the wounds and scars of race, class and nationality.

David Goldblatt’s Some Afrikaners Revisited focuses on one group. The exhibition takes viewers back 40 years to the time when he made a study of the life and values among working and farming people. The resulting book (published in 1975) confirmed Goldblatt as a master of the lens. All the photographs from the book with 20 additional photographs taken at the same time will be on show at the Festival. The Caring Namibian Man is another remarkable documentary. The photographs were taken on 100 disposable cameras by young men in more than half a dozen regions of Namibia as part of a project to re-position men in relationship to women and children.

The new Creation Altarpiece

More photographs are to be seen in Positive 2007, a multi-media exhibition curated by Carol Brown. Engaging with issues around health, sex and memorialisation, the subtext of the collection is that there is a new understanding of the HIV/Aids epidemic. Work by artists such as David Goldblatt, Churchill Madikida, Berni Searle and Clive van der Berg are included.

Christine Dixie’s exhibition Parturient Prospects(Mother/Land) and Leora Farber’s installation Dis-location/Re-location invite discussion about identity from a female starting point. Dixie juxtaposes her woodcuts, etchings and digital prints to reflect on the cultural representation of maternity. The conventions of old cartography are one of her sets of visual metaphors for the way the female body is “mapped” by society. Farber’s visually rich installation sees the artist using Bertha Guttman – a nineteenth century British Jewess – as an alter ego. Guttman was sent to South Africa for an arranged marriage with the entrepreneur Sammy Marks. The installation challenges assumptions about hybridity and cultural “purity”.

James Webb’s installation Beau Diable employs sound, light and architectural space to create the illusion of a spiritual storm where personal interpretations are inevitable. There are unmistakable references to ritual magic, the unsentimental power of nature and events that might or might not be accidental. Some of Webb’s other numerous site-specific projects for the Festival include a series of everyday electrical lights tuned to flash in Morse code and the broadcast of calls of foreign birds out of speakers concealed in local trees. These untitled text pieces, hidden throughout the city, remain the secret of the artist, and will appear anywhere at any time.

From this sensory maelstrom, the festino can take refuge in the stillness of a meditative collection by Marklyn Govender and Clint Singh. They are both masters of the art of mendhi (henna designs drawn on the skin). Their collaborative works are made by superimposing translucent layers of painted patternwork to create decorative effects with deeper meaning: What Lies Beneath is the apt title for their show.

The exhibition Imbumba springs from a collaboration of another kind. In a project facilitated by the Eastern Cape’s Department of Arts and Culture, a diverse group of artists from different generations, cultures and regions of the province were brought together for creative exchange. The results are exciting and engaging. The cream of Eastern Cape craft artists show their work in a dedicated tent at the Village Green. Beadwork, wearables, wirework, grass weaving and ceramics are on display and can be purchased.

In addition to the exhibitions on the main Festival programme, there are more than 40 visual art shows on the Fringe, ensuring that the visitor’s every free moment is filled with interest and pleasure.

The National Arts Festival is supported by The Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, The National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and The National Arts Council. Further information at www.nafest.co.za or telephone 046 603 1103. Booking Kits can be obtained free at Computicket outlets and selected Standard Bank branches.




 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