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RED ON BLACK (article first published : 2007-06-1)

The South African History Archives, STE publishers, and Constitution Hill Museum will launch the book Red on Black, the story of the South African Poster Movement, at Old Museum Shop, Constitution Hill on June 14, 2007; together with the opening of Red on Black, an exhibition of struggle posters from South Africa which will run from June 14 to July 14.

The date marks the death of an artist and an activist Thami Mnyele, and eleven other people in a SADF raid on Gaberone, Botswana on June 14, 1985.

The book Red on Black, along side the poster exhibition, tells the story of the movement to create visual expression around South Africa’s struggle for liberation and human dignity. From 1975 to 2000, the South African poster movement produced striking images that recorded, interpreted, and engaged with the mass struggle for a new South Africa.

This book begins to place these images of resistance – posters, graphics, paintings on banners and murals on walls – into their crucial position within South Africa’s visual heritage.

Judy Seidman, the author of Red on Black, is at present curator of the poster collection at the South African History Archive. She was a poster-maker, a member of Medu Art Ensemble in Gaberone in the early 1980s, as well as a member of the collective that produced Images of Defiance in 1990. Red on Black comes out of extensive interviews with poster-makers and artists throughout South Africa, as well as the visual wealth of the posters collected in the South African History Archives.

Constitution Hill is a unique mixed-use development in the Inner City of Johannesburg and the new home of the Constitutional Court, the protector of our basic rights and freedoms. Constitution Hill is also the site of Johannesburg’s notorious Old Fort Prison Complex, commonly known as Number Four, where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy in 1994. Many of South Africa’s leading political activists, including Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, were detained here.

In addition to the permanent exhibitions, interactive experiences and educational programmes, Constitution Hill offers venues for hire, location for film shoot service, day and night tours, a full calendar of public programmes and exhibitions that bring the site to life and enable the public to connect with the activities of the Constitutional Court.

For Constitution Hill programs, events calendar and exhibitions contact Alice Moloto, Manager Marketing, Sales and Administration, on 011 381 3100.




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