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VETERAN ARTISTS OF KZN (article first published : 2003-07-16)

Veteran Artists of KZN will open at the Durban Art Gallery on July 23 and it will be on view until September 7. Thereafter it will tour to all the four major galleries of KZN: the Tatham Art Gallery, the Carnegie Art Gallery, Newcastle, the Margate Art Gallery and TEACH Museum, Empangeni.

There are 98 works on show - one by each of the artists selected for the exhibition which includes paintings, prints, sculptures, tapestries and a small selection of ceramics made by KZN artists.

The exhibition focuses on KZN art of the 1970s and 1980s. During this short period of 20 years, artists made works which protested against the harsh laws of apartheid and the misery caused to people living under this repressive and cruel system. Quite possibly, the works made by Protest Artists of this time are amongst the most powerful anti-government statements made in SA art history.

Artists who trained at the ELC Art and Craft Centre, Rorke's Drift, produced works which comment on the effects that apartheid had on the lives of black people: the wretched living conditions, the fact that family life was disrupted by the main bread-winner having to leave his family behind in a rural area while he found work in the cities and forced removals.

The works on the Veterans exhibition by Cyprian Shilakoe, Azaria Mbatha, Bongiwe Dhlomo and Paul Sibisi are all comments on the misery caused to people's lives by apartheid. Works by artists like Gavin Younge, Malcolm Christian and Clive van den Berg reveal the physical brutality of apartheid.

Not all subject matter of works by Veteran artists of KZN is political in character. There are works which celebrate the beauty of the KZN landscape - by Diamond Bozas, Sister Pientia Selhorst and Lorna Peirson; while there are others which explore aspects of indigenous culture, including those by Fiona Kirkwood, Regina Buthelezi, Scotch Mathebula and Vuminkosi Zulu.

A CD catalogue in the form of a CD will accompany the exhibition. Containing essays by some 14 authors, including Michael Chapman (on the politics of the 70s and 80s), Mandy Conidaris (on The Caversham Press), by Philippa Hobbs and Nessa Leibhammer on the tapestry weaver, Allina Ndebele), Juliette Leeb-du Toit on the art of the period; Elizabeth Rankin and Andrew Verster on the artist and teacher of the time, Jack Grossert; on the struggle of Black women artists of the time by Pat Khoza; and by Jill Addleson on the seven Art - South Africa Today exhibitions held during this period at the DAG.exhibition.

Veteran artists of KZN runs from July 23 to September 7.




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