BRETT KEBBLE ART AWARDS WILL NOT GO AHEAD
It was announced on October 19 that the Brett Kebble Art Awards, planned for
February 2006, would not go ahead. 'The Kebble family informed me today that
after a family conference they had decided not to go ahead with the Awards.
They say that it is too difficult emotionally for them to continue at this
time, so soon after Brett's death', said David Barritt, producer of the
For full story, see NEWS
Shockwaves ran through the South African art world this month at the horrifying news that mining magnate Brett Kebble was shot dead in his car in Johannesburg on the night of September 28. Kebble, often described as a 'larger than life' figure, was one of the most generous and supportive art patrons in the country, raising the level of his Brett Kebble Arts Awards exhibition to international standards in two years. Soon after his death, the BKAA people announced that the 2006 awards would go forward as planned. Linda Stupart writes about the awards, and BKAA curator Clive van den Berg writes a tribute to the fallen Brett Kebble. The editors of ArtThrob extend their deepest sympathy to the Kebble family and friends.
There can be little doubt that publishing relating to art has never been as active in South Africa and about South Africa as it is now. This issue takes a special look at the theme of books and writers and includes a number of reviews of recent publications. This inaugurates what will become a regular book review feature in ArtThrob.
I would argue that for the vast majority of us, our knowledge of art is shaped far more by what we read about or see reproduced on glossy pages (or on a monitor) than from actual experience of viewing 'in the flesh'. This might well lead to a skewed impression but it is a situation unlikely to change. With so many of Africa's cultural treasures held by European collectors and institutions we are frequently forced to engage with the art of our continent through the luxury catalogues of 'blockbusters' that never seem to make it to Africa herself. Art books, expensive as they might be, can still in my view operate as a means to democratise art. So long, that is, as the writers and editors of these publications choose to adopt an ethical position and refrain from the babble of gobbledegook that seems to infest so many texts. So long as lazy writers refrain from the vacuous, the banal, and the self-serving too. For a fuller exploration of these issues see my extended editorial.
Next month Emma Bedford assisted by Zayd Minty will guest edit a special issue on art and social development.
Next update: Friday, November 4
This month promises yet another diverse selection of exhibitions in Cape Town. Well known Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu exhibits at 34Long and veteran David Koloane shows alongside Madi Phala at the AVA. The Michael Stevenson also looks set to hold another complex and exciting show with Churchill Madikida and Diane Victor. On the other side of the gallery spectrum, go and see new fresh gallery spaces, The Bin and what if the world...
A belated retrospective at the JAG, entitled 'Walter Battiss: Gentle Anarchist', presents more than 300 works made by the artist in his 50 year career. At the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, land artist Strijdom van der Merwe presents 'Messages from the Southern Earth', new work which draws inspiration from the rock engravings of Driekopseiland near Kimberley. Another belated survey, this time celebrating the life and work of Carl Büchner, opens at Johannesburg's ABSA Gallery, and features about 70 works, many of which have not been shown before. 'Surface', including works by Virginia MacKenny, Moshekwa Langa, Luan Nel, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Trasi Henen and Themba Shibase, opens at Franchise.
PULSE's latest project 'K.O. Video' runs simultaneously at 5 venues across Durban, screening as many as 150 contemporary video works from Argentina, Brazil, Germany, India/Pakistan, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa and a host of other countries. Wim Botha's Standard Bank Young Artist Award show opens at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg, while Johannesburg-based Colleen Alborough presents her interactive environment entitled 'Night Journey' at the KZNSA. She shows alongside veteran Durban painter Aidan Walsh who presents a series of paintings made in the Karoo.
Two young Capetonian artists are both hitting it big internationally this month, with Ed Young exhibiting in London and Ralph Borland at a group design show at MOMA. Meanwhile an extensive group exhibition, 'Women of the African Diaspora' at the WomenMade gallry in Chicago and Berni Searle exhibits in two group shows in Europe.
Linda Stupart reviews Ruth Sacks' show at Joã Ferreira and Willie Bester at 34Long, while Lizza Littlewort reviews Diana Page's show at the UCT Irma Stern Museum.
Robyn Sassen gets to grips with Richard Smith's 'Dialogues' at Constitution Hill and 'Free Spirits' - featuring Johannesburg-based Samson Mnisi and Gera Mawi Mazgabu from Addis Ababa - at the brand new Afronova gallery. She also reviews Senzeni Marasela at Art on Paper.
Guest contributor Elizabeth Perrill reviews Clive Sithole's fresh take on traditional Zulu ceramics at the BAT centre in Durban.
News this month, unfortunately, includes three obituaries - for Billy Mandindi, well known for the powerful work he produced both during and after the struggle years, and for Luke Human, a younger, lesser known Capetonian artist who was murdered two weeks ago. Both were submitted by David Robert Lewis. The third is for art patron and founder of his eponymous art awards, Brett Kebble. There is also news of 'CAPE SESSIONS eKAPA 2005: Mzantsi: (re)locating contemporary African art practice', an art forum and workshop set to precede CAPE's first major art event.
Read all about it here.
This feature will
resume next month with an artbio on Ed Young.
Clarke's Bookshop has launched a dedicated art book site. Check it out here.
Carine Zaayman unearths Frank Warren's PostSecret Project, and Learning to love you more, a project by artists Harrell Fletcher and Miranda July.
CAPE issues a call for proposals for Minilaboratories to take place during 'SESSIONS eKAPA 2005'. UCT's Michaelis School fo Fine Art advertises two academic posts.
Our usual dearth of worthwhile correspondence is spiced up by two letters of criticism. Have your say here.
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