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MDUDUZI XAKASA (article first published : 2003-11-23)

The African Art Centre is to host an exhibition of landscape paintings by young artist Mduduzi Xakaza, Education officer at The Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.

Mduduzi Xakaza often depicts rural landscape scenes from Maphumulo and KwaZulu-Natal midlands in oils or acrylics. He bases his compositions on real scenes but plays around with forms and colours in order to create specific visual effects that help him express particular moods of nature. For him, landscape is a living entity and thus possesses a soul of its own.

He first fell deeply in love with the idea of depicting landscape as a theme with its own profound significance when he studied romantic landscape paintings by Caspar David Friedrich of the nineteenth century Germany. The element of the sublime in nature reminded him of his childhood years in Maphumulo and encouraged him to revisit some of these memories through his long journey of self-discovery.

However, the element of power in the depiction of the land itself by early British traveler artists, who depicted parts of Africa as a metaphoric unoccupied ‘wilderness’ or ‘paradise’, ready to be conquered and tamed for colonial purposes, played a major role in shaping Xakaza’s artistic approach to the same theme. His depictions are, amongst other things, a symbolic reclamation of his land which is supposed to be harmoniously and proportionately shared among all citizens of a democratic South Africa. They also reflect his identification with the soil and sould of his land – his heritage. One of Xakaza’s main objectives as an artist is to create that can engage and challenge the viewer either emotionally or intellectually thus fulfilling his communicative duty through art.

This exhibition will be opened by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi at 18h30 on December 12.




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