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THE SEARCH FOR UTOPIA (article first published : 2005-02-9)

”We are moving away from the plastic, we are moving away from 10% of the world dominating 90% of the planet. We've enslaved the animals and now we're enslaving man.”

This is a quote from The Search For Utopia - Rowan Gatfield's art documentary which runs at the Durba Institute of Technology’s Gallery from February 24 to March 17.

An art documentary about saving the perfect planet for people, this is Rowan’s second offering, his previous being an exhibition entitled the Underworld - a study of Urban Subcultures, that led to him to be awarded Technikon Natal’s (now the Durban Institute of Technology) Emma Smith Overseas Scholarship in 2000. The Search for Utopia is a 52 minute art documentary film, produced, filmed and directed by Rowan for the medium of television.

Rowan is a graphic designer with over 15 years experience in the advertising and design industry. He now works as a lecturer at DIT'S Graphic Design Department. The film is the practical component of a Masters Dissertation in Graphic Design.

Filmed in South Africa, Thailand, India, Australia, Brazil, England, Germany and the USA, the documentary reflects on the Alternative community's discontent with the ecological state of the planet and offers an insight into the beautiful and colourful way they go about putting things right.

“Our planet is in very bad shape and our biggest enemy is our indifference to the facts,” says Rowan. “The film is an attempt at trying to address that indifference through a random juxtaposition of interviews and unseen footage of alternative communities and gatherings that see the way forward from an interesting perspective. It also highlights the emergence of an unusual group that closely resembles the hippies of the sixties, but share a common ideal of a new tribe - the family of the earth.”

The exhibition opens on February 24 and will include a collection of still photography as well as some of the uncut footage not show in the film. Gallery Hours are Monday to Thursday from 08h30 to 16h30 (Fridays: 08h30 - 15h30). Access to the Gallery over the weekends is by arrangements with the curator.

Further information from Themba Shibase during office hours on 031 204 2207 or e-mail: themba80@webmail.co.za




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