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GIYA PLAYERS (article first published : 2000-08-14)

Two new exhibitions opened today at the NSA Galleries. These are Hayani, an exhibition of art from the Northern Province curated by Kathy Coates who also presents sculptural installations titled Crossings.

Hayani which can be seen in the main gallery features work by Noriah Mabasa, Albert Munyai, Phillip Rikhotso, Samson Mudzunga, Avhashone Mainganye, Jackson Hlungwane and Owen Ndou.

The exhibition explores the direct relationship of these artists with their domestic environment. Also paramount in this investigation is the context of the South African and international art markets and the way this has affected and influenced the production and living conditions of these artists. This includes the effects of their environment and where historical, economic, geographical and socio-political factors have come into play.

The exhibition also focuses on the individual responses of these artists to their environment and the market with which they all have struggled and in their degrees of success or failure in negotiating this fraught system of the consumption of their art. In the past, art exhibitions, in particular those in urban areas which present work from rural areas, have either not been able to - or have been reluctant to – show much of the context within which these artists function, whether physically, spiritually or intellectually.

The phenomenon of "African exotic" is sometimes deliberately perpetuated. This exhibition involved the artists as much as possible in the process of curating and for some or all to be able to participate in workshops for the first week of the exhibition. In addition, video, photographic and written documentation will be part of the exhibition. This project and exhibition is the culmination of research conducted over several years by Kathy Coates.

As part-submission for her Masters of Technology (Fine Art) through Technikon Natal, Crossings, Kathy Coates presents a series of sculptural installations in the Mezzanine and Park Galleries.

A fine arts lecturer at the Giyani College of Education, Northern Province, Kathy Coates has lived and worked in the area for ten years and has participated in numerous exhibitions and conducted research on the artists in the Northern Province.

During 1997, she spent time in Durban for the initial phase of her masters degree through Technikon Natal when she developed a body of work incorporating various aspects of Durban’s history, whether colonisation, migration. Issues of packaging and process resulted in installations which documents ‘arbitrary’ samples – soil, sand, seawater.

She also undertook a collaborative piece with residents of the Wylie House Children’s home. Multi-disciplinary events were undertaken, with a therapeutic impetus. Titled once there was and once there was not…, the installation has been reworked to incorporate aspects related to a newly developed creative project underway at Iris House (place of safety) in Giyani. Another installation looks at food and related rituals and investigates the divide between rich and poor in the current South African socio-political climate

A collaborative component is included in this exhibition, to make a link with the exhibition of the Venda artists, running concurrently. This collaboration with Azwhimphele Magord takes the form of a wooden space ship, and adds a playful and incongruous aspect to the exhibition – referencing traditional materials and wood carving, creating a dysfunctional "technologically advanced" object.

Both exhibitions close on August 31. More details from NSA curator Storm Janse van Rensburg on telephone/fax (031) 202-2293 or at www.nsagallery.co.za




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