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ART AGAINST APARTHEID (article first published : 2001-08-22)

Currently running at the Durban Art Gallery is the Artists of the World Against Apartheid exhibition, Art Against Apartheid.

The concept of an Association "Artists of the World Against Apartheid" was devised in Paris in 1983 by Spanish artist Antonio Saura and French artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest. In the same year, the United Democratic Front was formed in South Africa. International artists responded to an appeal by Saura and Pignon-Ernest to denounce apartheid's crime against culture and to fight for freedom of thought and the prospect of the new non-racial democracy.

This international collection was first shown in Paris in November 1983 at the Rothschild Foundation. Since then it has been exhibited worldwide in over 40 cities. In 1995, a year after the first democratic elections in South Africa, the collection was presented to South Africa and is now housed in Parliament.

The collection comprises works by 80 artists, as well as contributions by internationally acclaimed poets, writers and philosophers. Hazel Friedman comments that "The exhibition reads more effectively as an extraordinarily broad selection of works by representatives of popular international art movements of the late 1970s and 1980s ... ."

Some of the names on the exhibition include France's Christian Boltanski, showing conceptual photographs of children framed in glass; op artworks by Venezuelan artists Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jesus Raphael Soto; abstract expressionism by Robert Motherwell and Antonio Tapies, and pop-art by English artist Joe Tilson. Other works include a gouache by Roy Lichtenstein; lithographs by James Rosenquist; mixed media by Claes Oldenburg and an figurative oil by Richard Hamilton.

The exhibition forms one of the fringe activities of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance that is being held in Durban early September. The exhibition runs until October 20.




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