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

RECENT WORK FROM A DIFFERENT HOMELAND (article first published : 2003-09-10)

Recent Work from a Different Homeland is the title of an exhibition by artist, printmaker and fine art lecturer Jeff Rankin which recently opened in the Mezzanine Gallery of the NSA.

Jeff Rankin lives in a village on the Transkei side of East London. He is a co-founder of the Fine Art Programme at Border Technikon in East London and recently established “EyeTales”, an experiential unit for Fine Art students. He has exhibited widely and was represented earlier this year on the International Print Biennale in Trois-Rivieres, Canada. In 2002 he exhibited at the National Arts Festival and at the Ann Bryant Gallery in East London.

Since relocating from Durban in 1993 to the Eastern Cape, Jeff Rankin has experienced the intensity of establishing a new art school in the thorny cultural landscape of the Eastern Cape. The two series of prints on show provide a visual re-telling of this personal and professional upheaval, using the mix of literal and metaphorical satire, which has always informed his work as an artist and social commentator.

The content of the exhibition could be divided into three broad themes. The Perlemoen Minutes is a set of 11 large woodcut prints, based on first-hand experience of local political turmoil. Attempts to move a perlemoen farm into the area resulted in a drawn-out neighbourhood war, offering rich fare for Rankin’s satirical appetite.

Climb is a set of 15 etchings that describe Rankin’s personal experience of the stressed work environment. From black cancer spots to feet crushing spoons, each work is a metaphorical narrative of characters and events in the history of meetings, confrontations, demands and absurdities that define the ironic success of my recent professional adventures.

Included in the show are other prints and drawings, which make connections between past and present, contextualising the development of ideas that come to rest in the woodcut and etching series. While some images originated in Durban before Rankin moved to the Eastern Cape; some are more recent.

Recent Work from a Different Homeland runs until September 28.




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