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KUBEN PILLAY (article first published : 2001-01-20)

The African Arts Centre’s first exhibition of the year will be a collection of work by Durban artist Kuben Pillay.

Kuben Pillay was born in Durban in 1969, eventually to graduate from thre University of Durban-Westville in 1994 with BA(FA) and MA(FA) (Cum Laude) in 1996. 8

He paints in oils and acrylics on paper and cardboard and his subject matter is the KZN landscape and plants. He's deeply influenced by the landscape tradition of the "Grahamstown School" with the influence of Isabel van der Watt Kuben's mentor, friend and artistic guide at the University of Durban/Westville.

He sees art as a tangible part of his existence and what he wants from his subject is something more than a superficial reflection of reality. He often expresses the notion of landscape as "something spiritual". Spirituality not in the form of the divine, but an uncompromising attachment to nature.

“Since I am passionately drawn to nature, landscape is my favourite subject,” says Kuben. “I often relate with the painting of landscape on an emotional level. In essence what I want from landscape is something magical and “spiritual”. I recognize nature as the source of all art; when I paint, I emphasize these nature qualities.

Because of his quest for this emotive aspect in painting he is seldom satisfied with his own works and is constantly looking for something new.

“Art can never exist in isolation, free from influences and experimentalism,” he adds. “New and innovative ideas always find a place in my artmaking. I'm attracted to the romantic views about landscape, I always felt that the landscape reflected something spiritual and is worth some sort of worship.”

Kuben works in pencil, pastels, acrylic and oils and his pictures are usually small in size. He has previously exhibited in the Durban Meets Stuttgart exhibition and at the Hanover Expo in Germany. The exhibition at the African Art Centre closes on February 10.




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