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Archive: Issue No. 47, July 2001

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.


Something to ask? A comment to make? Email us at Queries answered by Paul Edmunds unless otherwise stated

From: Tasneem Shikari
Subject: AIDS art in South Africa
Date received: July 18

I am an incoming senior at Boston University, preparing an application for a study abroad with the Fullbright Grant Scholarship for recent college graduates. I am interested in using my art history major to concentrate on a group of artists living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, Africa being the area of the world in most need of dire attention, foreign aid and publicity at this time. I would like to go into the field and document/catalogue different types of art (fine art, painting primarily) created in an environment that is saturated with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I feel that art is always the most poignant and shockingly real portrayal of a country's or people's problems and struggles, hurdles and victories. I would like to create biographies for the artists, because many, living with the virus, may not live to see the fruits of their labor. In addition, I would hope that publicity to these artists would bring them revenues which may aid them in buying drugs vital to their survival.

That is my proposal in short, but there are many holes to patch before I can complete it and present it to the Fullbright board. I need to contact and research the work of many different South African artists living with AIDS. Any artists that you know or contacts you might have on the subject would greatly help my search. Thank you for your time.

Tasneem Shikari
(617) 851-3295
77 Village View Rd
Westford, MA 01886

This is by no means my area of expertise, but perhaps I can offer some pointers and others can respond. The majority of AIDS sufferers in South Africa are poor and from rural areas. As you can imagine, when the basic necessities for survival are a pressing issue, the practice of fine art is relatively rare. If one extends the definition of 'artist' to include so-called 'craftspeople' (as is often done in South Africa) then there are projects, such as Wola Nani, which provide opportunities and facilities for AIDS sufferers to produce and market crafts and wares. They can be reached at, and may be able to help you track down individual artists. Bear in mind however that there can be a very negative stigma attached to the disease, and people often keep their HIV status to themselves.

From: Neil
Subject: Christo Coetzee
Date received: July 5

I was wondering if you could tell me if Christo Coetzee is still alive. Also, do you have any information on the art of Simon (Dickinson?) who was his protege and died a couple of years ago at a young age. Are there any websites on either of them? Thanks,

Christo Coetzee died last year. The University of Stellenbosch Museum owns a large collection of his work (as well as some drawings by his protege, who signed his works "Simon D") and can be contacted for more information at A special edition of Pretoria University's Gallery Page ezine devoted to Coetzee can be found online at

From: Wilma Cruise
Subject: Wilma Cruise: HYS SUSP
Date received: June 16 2001

While one is always grateful for a mention (cf Gauteng listings), I was somewhat put out by the description of my "foray" into the "brave new world" of multi-media. I did not like the patronising assumption that it was my first "attempt" to use multi-media. As your writer - whom I assume is the bright, articulate Kathryn Smith - well knows, I have used multi-media installations before, notably in the Monument to the Women of South Africa at the Union buildings. That work uses text, quadrophonically projected sound, a found object and moving light (Gobos), all electronically controlled. Smith herself had described the work as creating "'equivalences of experience' without falling into an old fashioned rhetoric. It is not about a simulation of experience, but an experience made up of 'real' objects that is more evocative that didactic" (ArtThrob, August 2000). Perhaps a visit to 'HYS SUSP' would correct the assumption that I am a novitiate?
Wilma Cruise

Kathryn Smith replies: Under no circumstances did I want to imply that you were a "novitiate". The phrases "foray" and "brave new world" were a reference to the growing interest in new media, and an acknowledgement of your use of this (which has not been extensive, but is very focused). For the many who know you best as a sculptor, it is my hope that a bit of hype around the new media angle could serve to demystify these associated processes, which are becoming more and more mutually dependent. Your work serves as a case in point.

From: Risa Bredenkamp
Subject: Tretchikoff
Date received: May 28

I want to inform you that I am a very keen collector of Tretchikoff's works. I have a few prints, books and videos available. Anyone who is interested can mail me.
Kind regards
Risa Bredenkamp
Tel: (021) 975 1864 or 083 402 5998
PO Box 3173, Durbanville, Cape Town, 7551, South Africa

Thank you Risa. Judging by the number of people who write to ArtThrob with inquiries about Tretchikoff, there ought to be some takers.

From: Geoff Grundlingh
Subject: Leon Levson prints
Date received: May 21

I am trying to find original Leon Levson prints. I am aware of those in MuseumAfrica and the Bensusan collections. The Mayibuye Centre only holds negatives. There is a small collection in Chicago. If you know of any other print holdings please contact me.
Thank you
Geoff Grundlingh

Can anyone out there help?