Archive: Issue No. 68, April 2003

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

15.04.03 Georgie Papageorge at the NSA
15.04.03 Ten Young Artists on the Edge
15.04.03 Paul Sibisi at the African Art Centre
01.04.03 'Engaging Modernities' at DAG
01.04.03 George Msimang at the BAT Centre
01.04.03 Carol-anne Gainer at 39 Goodricke Avenue

15.03.03 Gert Swart sculptures at the Tatham


Georgie Papageorge

Georgie Papageorge
installation shot of banners in Namibia

Georgie Papageorge at the NSA

Georgie Papageorge's work is rarely seen in South Africa despite the fact that she works from a studio in Pretoria. With shows at the Smithsonian in Washington and new ones scheduled in London and Brazil the artist's presence is recognised internationally more than locally.

Over the last fifteen years her work has explored the idea of social and geological rifts in Africa. Utilising the symbolism of early Judaism and Christianity in the abstract coding of vertical lines and circles Papageorge engages with ideas of sacrifice and transcendence in an African and Third World context.

Dominated by red, with overt references to fire and blood, much of the work is in the form of red cloths that are installed as huge banners billowing in the wind or draped across the landscape. The initial work engages directly with specific sites, and is then photographed and installed as documentation, drawings and residual material in the gallery.

Two major works dominate the NSA showing. Kilimanjaro Through the Barrier (1996-2000) and Africa Rifting - Lines of Fire (Namibia and Brazil 2001 - in progress). From the Gold mine dumps in South Africa, to the Sowa Salt Pan in Botswana, to Mount Kilimanjaro in the Great East African Rift Valley, the physical manifestation of great geological rifts is engaged. These rifts or faultlines are seen to extend from the physical into the spiritual realm crossing continents from Africa to South America in a process that both divides and unites.

Papageorge's work is held in major public collections both nationally and abroad, including the Standard Bank Collection, Anglo American, Pretoria Art Museum and the Smithsonian in Washington.

Closes: April 27

NSA Gallery, 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood
Tel: 031 202 3686
Fax: 031 202 3744
Hours: Tues - Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat 10am - 4pm, Sun 11am - 3pm

Ten Young Artists on the Edge

"Models showing off the latest on the edge fashion; dance that is emotive, and celebrates our depth and diversity; and cutting-edge video art spliced in to provide graphic visual imagery engaging the inner recesses of our minds." This is how the publicity of 'Edge' starts.

Directed by Jay Pather, ten young artists from different disciplines have been put together to provide a dialogue of mixed disciplines and themes. Having just been commissioned to open the FNB Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg, with the highly acclaimed and popular CityScapes, Pather's Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre is consistently producing new and challenging work. 'Edge' celebrates new identities, new design, and new thoughts on and of an emerging South Africa. Funny, witty, provocative and moving, the works are by artists who span a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.

Choreographers include the award winning Ntombi Gasa. She together with another featured choreographer, Neliswa Rushualang, were both invited to present their choreography in Grenoble, France at the end of last year. Others include Hlengiwe Lushaba and Siyanda Duma, who were both selected to attend a choreographic residency run as part of this year's Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg, as well as commissioned twice by First National Bank to present new works at the Jomba! Dance Festival. Hlengiwe Lushaba featured as one of four artists at the NSA's Young Artists' Project (YAP) and Siyanda Duma was also awarded a three-month choreographic residency in Denmark. Siwela Sonke veteran, Eric Shabalala and Samantha Wright, a recent graduate of Durban Institute of Technology, complete the choreography contingent.

The visual art component features two video artists, Thando Mama and Jan Henry Booyens. Both artists are part of the NSA's YAP project and will present wide screen projections of their video art dissecting themes of race, nationhood and contemporary South Africa.

Director Jay Pather notes that, "in our emerging democracy there are young adults who have spent most of their formative years in a post Apartheid state. While the history of the country is indelibly marked in our current lives, there are definitely the stirrings of what could be another way of looking at who we are. Sometimes these visions may be completely non-racial sometimes they may be pre-occupied by race, sometimes they may be serious and apocalyptic sometimes they may be whimsical, daring. Whatever they are they emerge untainted by the baggage of political correctness and self-conscious righteousness that informed the early nineties. It is these voices that point other directions, new waves, new ways".

The production is presented by Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, in association with the Playhouse Company and the National Arts Council.

'Edge' runs over two weekends at the Playhouse Drama Theatre from April 11-13 and 18-20 at 7p.m and 3p.m on Sundays. Tickets are R25 and R20 (concessions) and can be booked through Computicket. There are three performances available for schools from April 15 - 17 at 12 noon at reduced rates for block bookings. Enquiries: Illa Thompson 261 5518.

Paul Sibisi

Paul Sibisi
Man or Donkey (undated)
colour washaway

Paul Sibisi at the African Art Centre

Recently opened at the African Art Centre is an exhibition of prints and colour washaways by Paul Sibisi. Long familiar on the KZN art scene Sibisi was trained at the famed Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre at Rorke's Drift in the early 70s and has been instrumental in spreading an interest in art through his activity as a teacher. In this exhibition some of those early works, stored in London after being exhibited there in the Anderson O'Day Gallery in 1987, are finally on show again.

African Art Centre, first floor, Tourist Junction Station Building, 160 Pine Street
Tel: 031 301 2717 or 304 6369
Hours: Mon - Fri 8.30am - 5pm, Sat 9am - 1pm

Engaging Modernities

Engaging Modernities
invitation image

'Engaging Modernities' at DAG

'Engaging Modernities: Transformation of the Commonplace', at the Durban Art Gallery, is an exhibition curated by Julia Charlton and Fiona Rankin-Smith.

When different cultures meet, values are inevitably transformed and inverted. The west has long raided the rest of the world's cultures for their perceived 'exotic' qualities, and the resulting cultural collisions have also impacted on those raided cultures. The process is rarely one-way however. Since pre-colonial times African societies too have drawn on cultures from far and wide to create new objects and new symbols.

The objects displayed in this exhibition define a range of African modernities by imaging commonplace components of western consumer culture in an African context. Some objects use the detritus of consumer culture, such as discarded medicine vials, and used rubber gaskets, as metonymic equivalents for more traditional materials. Others refigure aspects of modern dress or objects of everyday use, for example waistcoats or tennis racquets, by incorporating or representing them in objects that have traditional African uses. Still others, such as plastic front aprons and capes, remake traditional indigenous items using materials and images drawn from modern western sources.

To the indigenous makers and users of these items these reclaimed objects - safety pins, locks, keys, electric lights, tin cans and rayon or lurex thread - are powerful statements of belonging; belonging to the modern world of a cash economy. Some objects that particularly embody forms of power such as telegraph poles, national flags, judges' wigs and kings' crowns are often seen to be incorporated into the repertoire of African political symbols.

Imaging the realities of African modernity many constructed objects grapple with contemporary issues such as Aids, reminding the viewer of the flexibility and frailty of cultural constructions of identity, and the porosity and the mutability of traditions.

Curated by Prof Anita Nettleton, Julia Charlton and Fiona Rankin-Smith, utilising objects from the Standard Bank African Art Collection, housed at the Witwatersrand University Art Galleries, this exhibition should prove a fascinating display of reinvention and reconstruction.

Opens: April 2
Closes: June 30, 2003

For more information:
Tel: 011. 717 1362/5
Fax: 011. 717 1369

Durban Art Gallery, 2nd floor, City Hall, Smith Street
Tel: 031 311 2262
Fax: 031 311 2273
Hours: Mon - Sat 8.30am - 4pm, Sun 11am - 4pm

George Msimang

George Msimang

George Msimang at the Menzi Mchunu Gallery BAT Centre

Currently running at the BAT Centre's Menzi Mchunu Gallery is an exhibition of George Msimang's paintings. Msimang was born Lamontville, Durban in 1951. Since the late sixties he has been recording township scenes and addressing political and social issues in his characteristic, cartoon-like style. He has gained considerable public acclaim for his work and in 1971 he was awarded a three-year scholarship to study at the Academie des Belles Artes in Rome. He is represented in major local and international collections.

This exhibition records his endless fascination for the people of the province of KZN.

Opens: March 20
Closes: April 21

BAT Centre, 45 Maritime Place, Small Craft Harbour
Tel: 031 332 0451
Fax: 031 332 2213
Hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 4.30pm

Carol-anne Gainer

Carol-anne Gainer
video still from the installation 'Embedded'

'Embedded' - a site specific installation by Carol-anne Gainer

Carol-anne Gainer's site-specific installation 'Embedded' is situated in a suburban garden in Durban. A neat metre-deep rectangular pit with mud walls holds the typical furnishings of a bedroom. A TV monitor shows an image of a female pissing through her knickers onto the earth. In an out building next to the embedded room is a stark, white, empty room with the audio from the video - the sound of urination amplified.

The work engages ambiguously with belonging, and of the ownership of land. The pissing posits the marking of territory, but also is also a play on the phrase "pissing in one's pants", which indicates fear. The embedded room seems a bunker as well as an archaeological dig or excavation - an exposure of, or attack on, a place most intimate and private.

Gainer speaks of the internal conflicts she experiences. She says, [I am] "interested in exploring the inside/outside dialogue around being a white woman in contemporary South Africa and the ambivalent and ambiguous feelings that I experience. Internally, I feel very connected to the land and the raw energy that South Africa has feeds my soul in a profound way. Simultaneously, I feel anxiety and frustration at the sense of importation that being white in Africa produces - an acceptance and a rejection - these opposite forces pulling equally".

Connected to, yet dislocated from, the land she finds herself in Gainer explores the space in between being placed/displaced, longing/belonging, land/landing and attempts to locate herself in her location.

The installation is available for viewing on one night only at 6.00 p.m on April 9 at 39 Goodricke Ave, Morningside, Durban.

For more information telephone Carol-anne Gainer on 082-3253941

See Reviews


Gert Swart sculptures at the Tatham

Gert Swart, well-known KZN sculptor, returns to the public arena after a six-year absence. This time round he exhibits an intimate installation of his trademark wood sculptures supplemented by drawings. Utilising the shapes suggested by the wood Swart often creates mythological poetic evocations of the grand themes in life.

He has recently been involved in some large-scale commissions including the memorial to slain Zulu warriors at Isandlwana as well as the creation of a large yellowwood cross in the chapel of the Evangelical Seminary of Southern Africa.

Opens: April 17
Closes: May 18

Tatham Art Gallery, corner Longmarket Street and Commercial Road
Tel: (033) 342 1804/01
Hours: Tues - Sun 10am - 6pm