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THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (article first published : 2004-06-15)

David Krut Publishing has produced an important book on works by South African women artists titled Through the Looking Glass.

Well -known for the groundbreaking TAXI Art Books Series that promote contemporary South African artists, David Krut is embarking on an exciting new venture in art book publications that develop key topics on South African arts and culture. Through the Looking Glass is the first publication under the new imprint of David Krut Publishing.

Written by Brenda Schmahmann, it complements a major travelling exhibition that forms part of the Centenary celebrations of Rhodes University and begins its run at the National Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown, and continues in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Durban.

Through the Looking Glass examines representations of self by South African women artists from a wide variety of backgrounds and contexts. It explores the many intriguing ways in which paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs and work in other media speak of women’s relation to their communities as well as a broad range of social concerns. Discussing self-representations in light of themes and issues that are of contemporary concern, such as memory and body politics, the book offers important new insights into well-known works as well as interpretations of art that has never previously been reproduced or discussed.

Illustrated in full colour and with a lucid and substantial text, Through the Looking Glass is described by Marion Arnold, author of Women and Art in South Africa (David Philip, 1996), as “an erudite and persuasive book” that “will make a significant contribution to South African art literature”. Dr Arnold observes that “in addition to its academic merits – and these are considerable – this very readable text will help South Africans to understand how contemporary visual culture positions individuals in fluid social contexts”.

Brenda Schmahmann, author of the book as well as curator of the exhibition that it complements, is Professor and Head of Fine Art at Rhodes University. An art historian with an interest in gender studies, she edited Material Matters, a study of needlework community projects in Southern Africa (Wits University Press, 2000) and co-edited Between Union and Liberation: Women Artists in South Africa, 1910-1994 (Ashgate, in press).

An educational supplement by artist and arts educator, Philippa Hobbs, will also be available to assist in art audience development. In addition to devising and writing a large number of educational resources, she is co-author of Printmaking in a Transforming South Africa (David Philip, 1997) and Rorke’s Drift: Empowering Prints (Double Storey Books, 2003).

Through the Looking Glass is sponsored partially by the National Arts Council of South Africa, The National Lottery, and David Krut Arts Resource. Funding for research undertaken towards this publication is from the Joint Research Committee at Rhodes University.

Works in the book are by a wide range of artists including Juliet Armstrong, Marion Arnold, Bongi Bengu, Candice Breitz, Jean Brundrit , Angela Buckland, Wilma Cruise, Christine Dixie, Leora Farber, Carol Hayward Fell, Lallitha Jawahirilal, Dorothy Kay, Terry Kurgan, Maggie Laubser, Rossinah Maepa, Senzeni Marasela, Maud Sumner, Kathryn Smith, Penny Siopis, Berni Searle, Tracey Rose, Bonnie Ntshalintshali, Antoinette Murdoch and Pamela Melliar.

The book is available at R250 from leading bookshops in South Africa. The Educational Supplement will only be available at David Krut Publishing. Contact Suzanne du Preez on e-mail: suzanne@taxiartbooks.com or Elizabeth Buys on e-mail: elizbuys@davidkrut.com

Visit websites www.davidkrutpublishing.com or www.taxiartbooks.com




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