Khwezi Gule, newly appointed to the post of Curator of Contemporary Collections at JAG, and Fellow Curator of the Brett Kebble Art Awards, guest edits this month's issue, entitled 'Durban Poison'.
When I spoke to our editor, Andrew Lamprecht, about doing this gig, he, in his irreverent style, suggested we use as a title for this edition that famous product of my home region: Durban Poison. This of course might be received with some consternation by many artists who want Durban to be taken seriously as a cultural centre and who are eager to see Durban's reputation as a laid back city of fun and sun challenged. However, the thought that this rather obscure product should capture the imagination of so many people across the country is interesting in itself. In my editorial piece I have tried to explore the many different ways in which this region is connected either culturally, or by trade and history to other parts of the country and the rest of the world.
Writer, poet and guerrilla artist Bandile Gumbi lends
her voice by reviewing the website Kush.co.za and offers an antidote to the rainbowism that saturates our public speech.
Jay Pather details his impressions of that centre of centres, New York and the exhibition
'Personal Affects' in which other children of my hometown were also represented.
In the Artbio section Jay Pather, fresh from his stint at the Brett Kebble Art Awards,
where he bagged R60 000 in prize money, takes his place alongside other Durban
artists who have been featured in the Artbio and made their mark on the South
African art world, like Nkosinathi Khanyile, Angela Buckland, Greg Streak and
Thando Mama amongst others.
Finally I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to salute Durban, the place that nurtured my nascent forays into a bewildering art world. I salute the many artists I have worked with, some of whom I will see and work with again, others not.
When I left my native Durban for the Cape of Storms, I vowed to myself that I would not be taken by the picturesque scenery, nor by the 'too cool to be South African' vibe of which Capetonians are often accused. Unfortunately all those promises have been broken. I have enjoyed rubbing shoulders with the art glitterati in the Mother City, schmoozing at exhibition openings and being seen at Jo'burg Bar.
And so, as I cast my gaze upon the beckoning lights of Johannesburg, our very
own Babylon, I also salute Cape Town, knowing that it too is now my home.
Read Kwezi's full editorial
From this issue ArtThrob takes on a new, hopefully
more stable cycle of production. The new issue for each month will be available
from 6pm on the first Friday
of every month.
Next Update: December 3
African artefacts and images from the Dutch 17th century are juxtaposed in Helmut
showing at Iziko Michaelis Collection. African artworks from the exceptional
collection of the University of the Witwatersrand will be on view at Iziko
SANG. At the same institution, DaimlerChrysler awardee Guy Tillim will present
his photographs. Another solo photography exhibition, that of Pieter Hugo,
graces Michael Stevenson Contemporary. The treasures (material and intellectual)
of UCT will be presented in an evocation of the Cabinets of Curiosity of old
at the Michaelis School of Fine Art in a major exhibition celebrating the University's
175th anniversary. The perfection of nature and sacred geometry informs a series
of lithographic handprints by local talent Sharon Peers at 3rd i Gallery. A
diverse group of works, in several media, form Hannalie Taute's first solo
show at João Ferreira. A rare opportunity to see a large body of works by prolific South African Master, Maggie Laubscher, will be offered at the Sanlam Art Gallery. Pick up a masterpiece for a song at the AVA's fundraiser for its outreach programme: 'Absolut Moment' will highlight intimate works by a wide variety of artists. Jacki McInnes will flight new work at Bell-Roberts. A retrospective of Herman van Nazereth's socially committed artwork is presented at the Sasol Art Museum, Stellenbosch, to be opened by Arts and Culture Minister, Pallo Jordan.
The Goodman Gallery is drawing the attention of those who want to follow significant new South African art with a solo show by Tracey Rose entitled 'The Thieving Fuck and the Intagalactic Lay'. Later this month Jeremy Wafer will locate works dealing with issues around land and territory in the same space, Art on Paper continues to consistently impress with a steady stream of excellent shows. This month sees a line-up of significant artists from the Artists' Press at the Melville space. The SABC corporate collection will have some of its most significant acquisitions on display at JAG. South African 'pop art' is given a most contemporary airing at MojaModern. Artspace will give an opportunity for Grade 12 learners to participate in their first show in an interesting outing appropriately entitled 'First'. The 'Negotiate' series draws to an end at JAG with 'Conciliation'. JAG, in association with Gallery MoMo, will also be the home to Brett Kebble Category Prize winner Nathaniel Stern, while MoMo itself hosts an exhibition of the conceptually elegant art of Usha Seejarim. 'Notes, sketches and variations' is how Dorothee Kreutzfeldt describes her prints, to be seen at David Krut Arts Resource later this month. London-based David Lurie features at PhotoZA Gallery as a 'curtain-raiser' to the publication of a significant book later this year. A significant assemblage of works will interrogate Black identity in the development of local art. Entitled 'Negotiated Identities: Black Bodies', it promises to serve as a benchmark exhibition.
ArtSPACEdurban continues its laudable showcasing of new talent with Shauna
Sotham's exhibition 'Adore'. Performance artist Mlu
Zondi furnishes the NSA gallery with an installation and in-situ performances
as part of the Young Artists Project at that Gallery. Lecturers and Mentors of
the Vega Brand and Communication School show their work in a group exhibition
at NSA while fatherhood is celebrated
in a photographic show at The Durban
Hot on the heels of her 10 Downing Street success, photographer Mandy Lee Jandrell
holds her first solo show in the UK this month. In the United States, South
Africans Andries Botha, Zen Marie and Tracey Rose participate in 'Freewaves',
the 9th Biennial Festival of Film, Video and New Media.
Professional curating and a nation-wide selection process results in a large,
representative showing of current South African art that is the Brett Kebble
Art Awards (BKAA) exhibition, Kim Gurney reports. First-time reviewer Charles
Maggs critically examines the 'new media' work selected for the BKAA finalists'
show. Master sculptor Bruce Arnott displays his formidable intellect as well
as vast experience as an artist, in an exhibition of outstanding new work at
the Irma Stern Museum. A photographic exhibition that challenges comfort zones
at the Bensusan Museum cleared the air and trod new ground, according to Robyn
Sassen. She was, however, surprised by what was on show at an exhibition of
(mostly) male artists. Stephen Inggs' prints at Art on Paper explore the residues
of life in simple magnificence. Colbert Mashile demonstrates his ability to
shift medium and paradigm effortlessly, according to Kresta Tyler Johnson.
In Durban, Michael Croeser with Gabi Ngcobo examine 'a city', a multimedia
project by Dean Henning and Rike Sitas. Everyday lives as well as 'big issues'
are addressed in S'fiso Ka Mkame's symbolically-laden oil pastels, as Gabi
Ngcobo finds. A series of reviews by students of Michael Godby and Liese van
der Watt investigate 'Prejuger' at Greatmore, a show of work by recent Stellenbosch
graduates, John Sampson's intriguing compositions, 'Flip' at the Iziko Michaelis
Collection, and Rory Palmer's show at that little gem which is so often overlooked,
the 38 Special Gallery.
The much anticipated Brett Kebble Art Awards were presented at a lavish function at Cape Town's International Convention Centre. The judges decided to share top honours between two comparatively lesser-known winners, while a whole bunch of winners came away with major prizes and merit awards, including ArtThrob founder Sue Williamson. Hot on the heels of the Kebbles, Johannesburg had its opportunity to don its best at the annual Art 4 Aids fundraiser auction. Beezy Bailey gives his view of the laudable event. In Cape Town, public art and bike riding will be unified in an event that shows that art can be fun, as Kim Gurney reports. A richly-endowed bursary for art history is offered for the first time at UNISA. The sad state of newspaper art reporting will suffer a terrible blow if ThisDay, which has presented some of the best voices on South African art during its short life, folds as it looks set to do. The tragic murder of master photographic printer and camera engineer Andrew Meintjes adds yet another name to the growing list of senseless deaths that have rocked the community recently.
DURBAN POISON ISSUE
In a tribute to his hometown, guest editor Khwezi Gule presents an editorial that interrogates the term 'Zulu' and in so doing he brushes against the grain of history, asking us where exactly is the centre positioned. The website of Kush Collective, dedicated to cultivating and supporting an innovative and fresh urban youth culture, is reviewed by Bandile Gumbi. Jay Pather, the gifted and innovative performer and choreographer, gives a personal account of his time in New York as part of the South African show 'Personal Affects'. Having just won one of the major 'sectional' awards at the BKAA, he is fittingly the subject of this month's Artbio.
A double dose from Sue Williamson this time (to make up for her hiatus last month):
Egypt and the Kebbles.
Durban-based creative artist Jay Pather features this month. Storm Janse van Rensburg gives an overview of his exceptional achievement.
A Dutch web animator's site explores the pathos of everyday life through the medium of Flash animation.
Just when you start to fear that the web is nothing more than the hotbed of misinformation,
Carine Zaayman hacks out a path through some of the more prestigious and reputable
electronic journals in the area of media available on the Web.
Sign up for 'Aeolian Ride' which takes place in Cape Town this month. Also, a community mosaic project seeks funding.
Finally, a real letter, this in response to Ed Young's rant last month.
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Penny Siopis is the latest artist to join our Editions for ArtThrob programme. Her work 'Cultivate Love' was produced in collaboration with Randy Hemminghaus, master printer from New York's Galamander Press, and is a distillation of her most recent work, from her Shame series.
Available now: outstanding prints by William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Hentie van der Merwe, and Tracey Rose.
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