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TREVOR MAKHOBA MEMORIAL EXHIBITION (article first published : 2004-05-12)

Trevor Makhoba, the major KwaZulu-Natal artist, died suddenly on February 24 2003 at the early age of 47. In honour of this extraordinary artist, the Durban Art Gallery is arranging a Memorial exhibition of his work to open at the Durban Art Gallery on December 1 to remain on view until March 1, 2005. After it has been on view at the Durban Art Gallery, the exhibition will tour to all the major South African art museums throughout South Africa.

Nearly 100 works will be on display, drawn from South African art museums as well as from important private collections. The earliest Makhoba paintings on view date from 1988; and his final painting, King Cetshwayo, was completed in 2003 immediately prior to his death.

He was self-taught as an artist, inheriting his mother's artistic talent. Before becoming a full-time painter in 1990, he worked in a variety of jobs. One of the remarkable aspects about Makhoba was that in his 13 short years as a professional painter, he secured for himself a national and international reputation.

In 1996 he was The Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner and his works were shown at the Grahamstown Festival in that year. He exhibited on numerous occasions in important international group shows abroad and his works are to be found in public and private collections in South Africa and overseas.

Makhoba's paintings, rich in both contemporary and traditional imagery, reflect the co-existence of urban western culture with that of rural African practice. Much of the content of his work tackles underlying inequalities in all strata of his perceived and experienced world; his work focuses on social injustices, poverty, sexual modes and abuse, physical crime and political prejudice laced with a considerable degree of satire.

However, his world doesn't only deal with the macabre. “There are many paintings which are deeply entrenched in the cultural fabric of his Zulu culture. Community occasions, religious ceremonies, traditional food and ancestral myths all find a place in his rich imaginative iconography,” says Jill Addleson, the curator of the exhibition. “Art critic, the late Jeff Chandler, called him the “Goya of our streets and countryside” which is entirely apt since Trevor Makhoba looked deeply into the heart of our collective darkness with unwavering fascination,”

What makes the organisation of this exhibition unusual is that the Royal Netherlands Embassy has given generous sponsorship to the exhibition with the stipulation that the Durban Art Gallery and the BAT Centre, Durban, work closely together in presenting and marketing Makhoba exhibitions and educational activities. BAT is organising an exhibition/competition entitled Igalelo Lika-Trevor - Trevor's Legacy which will open two weeks before the Makhoba Memorial exhibition opens at the Durban Art Gallery. In this way two major Durban Institutions will focus on Makhoba: and the Durban public will be able to reflect on his importance as an artist of this city.

More information from Jill Addleson on 031 33 27 286, fax 031 368 3093 or e-mail: Jilla@crsu.durban.gov.za




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