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PRETORIA OUTPOST (article first published : 2000-09-4)

outpost is a selection of contemporary art from KZN curated by Storm Janse van Rensburg, NSA Galleries curator, and fine arts lecturer Virginia MacKenny at the Association of Arts, Pretoria,

KZN is known - sometimes affectionately, sometimes disparagingly - as the “last outpost” of the British Empire. Pietermaritzburg, the administrative capital, is still graced with statues of Queen Victoria. It also has a street named after her and a gentlemen’s club which not only takes its name from her but also adopted the Union Jack as its club flag in order to be able to fly it outside the front door.

In this exhibition the term “outpost” is used as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the legacy of KZN’s colonial past. At the same time, it refers to, a more contemporary issue: isolation - or perceived isolation - from other centres. Although situated between Cape Town and Johannesburg, instead of occupying a central position on a visitor’s journey Durban is often bypassed.

Whilst by no means claiming full representation, the outpost exhibition attempts to dispel myths regarding contemporary practice in KZN. A small, selected show it endeavours to reveal alternative approaches. Most young artists are mobile and transgress boundaries easily, they bring a range of national and international ideas and approaches to the KZN. In doing so the ‘outpost’ becomes a frontier edge, able to examine its own boundaries, redefine conventions or inherited presumptions. Less binary readings of ‘outpost’ allow ‘margin’ to become a possible place of redefinition; a place of “in-between-ness”, a place of interchange, of “here” and “there”, inside and outside, a place where old meets new and distinctions between things begin to blur.

Artists include Jeremy Wafer, Langa Magwa, Greg Streak, Lisa du Plessis, Kwezi Guhle, Michael McGarry, Seodin O’Sullivan, Clive Hardwick, Carol Ann-Gainer, Jaap Jacobs and Tito Zungu.

Outpost is a NSA Galleries’ project and received funding from the KZN Province Arts and Culture Council. The exhibition opens September 4 at 19h00 and closes September 22.




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