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LOCAL IS LEKKER (article first published : 2003-10-20)

Mixed media drawings and paintings by Martin Burnett are currently on show at the BAT Centre’s The Menzi Mchunu Gallery. Titled Local is Lekker, the exhibition runs until November 9.

Martin Burnett is a long-time Durban resident who currently lives and works in an apartment overlooking Durban Bay. His work is an eclectic mixture of styles, with the subject matter informed by, and infused with, his love of the City.

Trained at Wits, D.I.T (The Durban Institute of Technology, formerly Technikon Natal) and UNISA, he has taught at a number of leading secondary and tertiary educational institutions. He has a series of one-man shows to his credit, and has participated in, amongst others, the SA Invited Artists Exhibition (Brazil) ; the 1996 Biennial (Durban Art Gallery) and exhibitions in Pietermaritzburg's Tatham Gallery and the Durban City Hall.

Since retiring from his teaching career, Martin confesses that he has missed the lively interaction with like minds. His sojourn at the BAT Centre as an informal 'artist in residence' is providing him with all the stimulus he needs, however, and also proving a great drawcard for artists and art-lovers alike.

“The object of my exhibition,” Martin explains, “is to use the Menzi Mchunu Gallery as a genuine studio environment for the period of a month - somewhere I can create new artworks, re-work older ones, and interact with the broadest possible spectrum of the public.”

He is displaying both finished art (framed and unframed), and works in progress.Many of his works of art are created using surprisingly inexpensive 'art' materials, including fabric paint and food colourings.

“In my experience,” he adds, “the public only gets to see an end-product, without gaining an understanding of the creative process. Working this way gives people the chance to ask me all the questions they like, and I benefit just as much as they do from the interchange of ideas. Knowing that you aren't risking a huge financial outlay for an artwork that may not satisfy you, allows you to be infinitely more experimental. Risk-taking should be a part of every artist's life, and this way, I can take all the creative risks I like, without being out-of-pocket.”

Struggling young artists are encouraged to learn more from this experienced talent by visit Martin Burnett at work in the Menzi Mchunu Gallery.

More details from the BAT Centre on 031 332 0451




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