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BURNING CANVAS (article first published : 1999-08-1)

The BAT Centre’s Menzi Mcunu Gallery has an exhibition titled The BurningCanvas on show until August 7. This is a collection of burnt wooden panels by Lalelani Mbhele and Siyabonga Skhosana.

Using a soldering iron to burn the wood, Lalelani allows his skills as a cartoon artist to come to the fore in this medium and he has some lively and fun images on show. There are serious works, too, such as a good likeness of President Thabo Mbeki.

Siyabonga Skhosana’s panels are of a much darker and more sophisticated nature. He chooses to carve his works as well as burn them which gives the pieces added texture. He has a flair for interpreting fabric and one of the pieces could easily find a place in a fashion magazine! There is one particularly strong and moving work titled The Plight to Sudan which depicts a skeletal figure scratching in the dust in search of nourishment.


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