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SPEAKING WALLS (article first published : 1999-06-2)

Opening at the BAT Centre in both the Menzi Mcunu and Democratic Galleries on June 9 will be an exhibition of photography and CD Roms. Sponsored by the Alliance Française and titled Art on the Walls (Walls are Speaking), it documents important murals in South Africa and portrays all types of murals from those focusing on AIDS to political, socio and advertising murals

Co-ordinator of the exhibition is artist and geographer Elisabeth Deliry-Antheaume who, for the past 30 years, has travelled extensively and lived in many different countries. On arriving in South Africa, she tried to capture the essence of the country. What struck her most was what appeared on walls. Apart from barbed wire and razor wire, there was graffiti, adverts and, particularly, mural art. Between 1995 and 1998 she took photographs and began the complicated task of tracking down those mural artists who were struggling to make the city a more human place by putting art in the public eye – where it should be.

“Walls reflect a popular art which borrows to an international imagery while being shaped by local traditions,” she says. “Citizens and artists choose utopia - art response over `armed response’.”

Elizabeth Deliry-Antheaume will run workshops and walkabouts with school groups, artists and members of the public. As part of the Umgubho Celebration on, June 18 the BAT Centre will host a series of workshops to paint canvases in the spirit of the exhibition.

She will also give a slide show and talk (in French) on June 15 at 19h00 at the Alliance Française in 22 Sutton Crescent.


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