artthrob artthrob

Archive: Issue No. 40, December 2000

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



Helen Martins


The Owl House Foundation

This clean and neatly designed website is about the Owl House Foundation, once the home of Helen Martins who died on August 8, 1976. Miss Helen, as she was also known, changed her home in Nieu-Bethesda, set in a fertile valley of the Sneeuberg Mountains, from what she felt to be a mundane surrounding into one that plays with reflection and space, light and dark and different hues. After decorating the interior of the house into "a luminous backdrop of walls and ceilings coated with elaborate patterns of crushed glass imbedded in bands of brightly coloured paint", the exterior was developed, with the assistance of local resident Koos Malgas. Images of sun faces, owls and camels, and all manner of real and fantastical beings are to be found. "A procession of shepherds and wise men lead a vast, almost life-size camel train toward an 'East'... and integrates Christianity with her fascination for the Orient."

To conserve this beautiful and unique structure the Foundation is researching and employing contemporary materials and methods to combat weaknesses developed because of harsh climatic conditions and the ever-increasing number of visitors. A slow and expensive operation, the process is designed for long-term preservation � each element being returned to its original state. The Foundation receives no support from official sources. They are indebted to the membership base, individual donors and principal patrons, PPC Cement. This site seems to be part of the process of seeking help with the conservation of the Foundation that is presently working on a variety of projects with the community including worksheets for schools and tours for children.

Check out The Owl House Foundation not only to find out about its transformation, the sculptures surrounding it and the landscape it is built on, but also to be intrigued by Miss Helen who simply found joy and took action in making her surroundings beautiful.

Koos Malgas died very recently. See News for his obituary.



"Europeans Only. Slegs Blankes." Introduces you to this website commemorating the area of District 6 and honouring the people who fought against the forced removals and Group Areas Act. On December 10 1994, the District Six Museum opened with its first exhibition "Streets - Retracing the Past".

The mission of the District Six Museum is to ensure that the history and the memory of forced removals in South Africa endures. It aims to foster understanding between communities, isolated by segregation, by focussing on the multicultural nature of District Six. Central to its mission is the documentation and imaginative reconstruction of the history, labouring life and cultural heritage of the District Six community.

The District 6 Museum website complements the museum itself very well. It is very well designed and thorough in providing information on the District 6 area, its community and what Vincent Kolbe, ex-resident, describes as the "living memorial".

Bang the Gallery

Bang the Gallery is a creative and energetic South African art gallery. Conceptualised and run by artist Alex Hamilton, it reflects a new and positive energy in the artworld of South Africa and provides a platform for contemporary artists.

The gallery opened on November 21 1997 at 92 Bree Street, Cape Town , and exhibits the work of a variety of local artists, including Alex Hamiliton, Shany van den Berg, Solomon Siko, Andrew Hollis, Karen Jay, Craig Foster and many more. The artwork includes paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and photography.


REDzine is a groovy looking site with articles, interviews and examples of work by artists and students of the contemporary art world. The look is fresh and gives the impression that there a lot is going on within... which there is. Devin Purvis runs this Durban based e-zine devoted to experiments in design, art, music, photography and the internet. The (all original) content is of both South African and International origin, with a focus on the socially challenging (likes to peel back the gloss).

The 'art attack' section is really going to be expanding soon due to a number of submissions received from interested fine artists (from conceptual to installation to bodyart) from around the globe.

In November REDzine was given exposure at the AraraquaraZine underground publishing expo in Brazil. An added expansion � a small-scale locally distributed print version is soon to take the stands.

Black Arts Collective

Black Arts Collective (BLAC) is a loose network of artists (from poets to playwrights, film makers to fashion designers, amongst others), academics, journalists and cultural workers. Since 1998 BLAC has been meeting regularly to discuss issues of arts, culture, race and identity in Cape Town (and South Africa) and to develop new discourse, especially around arts practise. The project consists of the BLAC seminar Series running successfully since 1999 and this website, Blaconline.

In late 1998 the development of a website by MWEB began and the site was launched in March � another forum to develop debates and discussions. BLAConline aims to keep you updated about current issues and events in the Cape Town art scene and boasts a growing database of emerging black talent in Cape Town and South Africa. Eventually, the site aims to create a channel for artists to distribute and promote their products for local and international audiences.

BLAC has recently changed the look of their site. Check out the articles written by Thembinkosi Goniwe, South African Art and Institutional Control, Weaam Williams, Graffiti, and Shukrie Joel, Return to the Source. Also, on the Blacground page, find Ryan Fortune's article, on the BLAC project, published in the July 1999 issue of the Cape Times, Zayd Minty's article on BLAC, published in the March 2000 issue of Mail and Guardian, and Mgcineni Pro Sobopha writes about the One City Festival � Returning the Gaze exhibition.

The Art Channel

'Diversity II' is an exhibition of works by 23 Southern African contemporary artists and is presently showing on The Art Channel. Included in this on-line exhibition are paintings, prints, bronzes, ceramics, wood sculpture and mixed media. Also included are Southen African rock art and ceramics from the Barbara Jackson studio of Cape Town.

This site seems to be mainly for promoting artists and selling their work.



The MTN Art Institute is committed to using its fine and expanding art collection and other resources as vehicles of expression to connect people to each other, and to South African and African art, culture and heritage. The institute's vision is to nurture heritage and cultural processes, and in so doing support the mechanisms through which society may be examined and restored. Although the site looks really good there are still problems with some pages. After clicking on some icons an error appears. This especially happens on the map that lists all types of art - metal, wood, mixed media, drawing, painting and all the rest.

Museums Online: South Africa presents all the current activities and exhibitions of local museums. The site includes an events section enabling anyone in the museum of related community to announce relevant activities on the internet, and a by-subscription mailing list which will allow one to be e-mailed regularly on museum activities. Discussion forums also give one the opportunity to voice an opinion on a variety of arts issues.

This is the website of the King George VI Art Gallery in Port Elizabeth, with news of current exhibitions and activities and a virtual tour of some of the gallery's highlights. The museum serves the public through programmes of art research, conservation, publications, educational and recreational events and exhibitions.

This site provides information on the monthly 'Red Eye' art-for-all event at the Durban Art Gallery, described here as a "kick in the pants art initiative". A sharp design in black and red characterises the site, with some nifty flash animations and sound effects. The site gives the philosophy of 'Red Eye', a history of the multi media event, galleries of past highlights, and tells you how to send in a proposal for a future 'Red Eye'.


The Alternative Museum provides a global forum where all nations celebrate and embrace their artistic and cultural differences. This site gives artists opportunities to sharpen their creative imagination while transforming art into new and preciously unimaginable forms. Curators from around the world decide what will be exhibited in the e-museum, which consists of artists working in all types of media, commenting on a variety of social issues. TAM succeeds in its mission to initiate, support, present and preserve interdisciplinary arts and criticism. The alternative edge is refreshing, the design is clean and it's easy to navigate one's way through.



The McCabe Gallery was founded in 1997 to promote contemporary South African art. The gallery provides a range of services to private, corporate and museum collectors.This site has a featured book and artist and updates on artists exhibiting in the future. The design is pretty simple, very easy to navigate through.

Cape Town's Association for the Visual Arts is one of the oldest galleries in the city, and under the directorship of Estelle Jacobs, provides space for a continuous round of exhibitions decided upon by a Committee. The AVA also serves as a clearing house for art information and has an outreach programme which benefits less privileged artists. Their website carries news of current shows, and information on previous exhibits


This New York based site exhibits work of artists showing at the contemporary art gallery, Agora, located in Soho, among a hub of galleries and museums. Many advantages for artists and clients are available as Agora offers gallery representation for artists and consultation services for buyers. There is a featured artist each month, a calendar of exhibitions and information for collectors. A list of artists, brief bios and examples of their work that enlarge to a good size are also available.

Stroom is an organisation in Holland which not only has its own gallery but also sponsors numerous public art projects by such artists as Vito Acconci. Their site lists and shows many such projects. At present, the site is in Dutch only, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem for South Africans.



Kendell Geers - the black hole in the rainbow nation in a fucked up world.
This site consists of articles and reviews of Geers' works and writings by the artist. Geers writes in his essay The Perversity of My Birth: The Birth of My Perversity, "I was born guilty without being given the option. As a white man (presumably heterosexual) born into a working class Afrikaans family I was precisely that being for whom Apartheid had been invented." Geers' portfolios may be viewed and much can be learned about this controversial artist. This site is very well designed and a lot of fun to navigate through.

As with all Alborough's work, the site avoids all non-essentials. Alborough is the Standard Bank Young Artist 2000, an award which carries a modest fee for a catalogue. That fee was used to design the website instead, and was launched to coincide with the opening of his award show in Grahamstown. As the show moves from place to place, the website will be expanded, so if you like Alborough's work, put this one on your favourites list.

During the Grahamstown Festival, well-known performance photographer John Hodgkiss showed a collection of evocative and visceral images under the title 'Negative' at the Dakawa Art and Craft Community Centre, where he shares the space with Mark Hipper. The title describes the process, whereby the images, be they X rays, colour prints or black and white photographs are printed as negatives. Subjects are skulls which turn black, x rays in which the human form becomes more tangible, and cuts of meat in eerie blue tones. The site features Hodgkiss' own work, with photo-related literature. Contributing artists are also included.


Marcello Mercado

Marcello Mercado's site is fun and original as is his work. He is a video artist, a painter and a performer and has put together one hell of a website exhibiting his projects. Mercado's nationality is Argentinian-Italian and he lives in Koln Germany. His work continually comments on Argentinian history through video art with great originality. Steve Seid of Pacific Film Archive reviewed his work and states, "Constructed in a computer using layers of moving images and precise graphical compositions, Mercado's uncompromising work is driven by an urgency of vision that could only be called inspired."

Mercado's site is very well designed and fun to use. Over the next few months it will be continually improving. More animations, music and downloads will be added.

Virtuele Expositie: Kheto Lualuali

Mozambican painter Kheto Lualuali has lived and worked in Amsterdam since 1998 and is a member of the Associaton Nucleo de Arte in Maputo, Mozambique.

This virtual exhibition contains 18 paintings divided in seven different phases. Each phase represents his 'archives', made of different artistic forms and styles, or techniques that the artist tries to develop continuously. The C.V. and biography of the artist are part of the exhibition. The exhibition is made in four languages; Dutch, English, French and Portuguese.

The theme of his artwork refers to the human being and 'la condition humaine'. At times we only see forms, like a hat on top of two legs, at other times more distinct figures, almost in a permanent movement. The images are indefinite, as if they are hiding something that the painter doesn't want to reveal.

The exhibition was sponsored by the NCDO, Dutch Non-Governmental Organisation for Sustainable Development, and SBK.

Ladies Weapons exhibits the work of Antonio Riello, an artist who photographs weapons and transforms them into high fashion accessories for sophisticated ladies. Weapons used are assault rifles, pistols, machine guns, carbines, sub-machine guns, hand grenades, rocket launchers and military guns. Also used to complete the pieces, leopard skins, brightly lacquered colours, jewels, furs, trendy fabrics and special technological appliances. These materials play along the thin line between fashion and trash. Each photograph is named after a woman.

This artist's website is that of Rob Moonen, a Dutch conceptual artist known to many South Africans after he participated in a Cape Town workshop in 1996. He is currently working with Kevin Brand on a collaborative textile piece to be made up at the Textile Museum in Tilburg, Holland. But his website is listed here because of its good design and the insight given into the artist's fine work.



sara: South African Resistance Art, Art and the journey to freedom in South Africa

How did artists respond to apartheid? How did the international art world react to South Africa's political situation? These questions and more are answered on this site.

It is at this point that we begin our journey exploring South Africa over the last 22 years. South African artists respond to the political situation through their talented and impassioned eyes, and their works mirror the journey to freedom in this country. The focus is on four top contemporary artists, each one depicting the struggle to free the country of apartheid through artistic expressions in a different way. They are Jane Alexander, Willie Bester, Jonathan Comerford and Helen Sebidi. Their personal backgrounds are explored, as well as their general artistic characteristics and examples of the works they produced specifically related to the apartheid government and its activities. The development of each artist since 1994 is viewed as well as some of their most recent works.

This independently funded directory of South African art, galleries and artists was sparked by the evident lack of marketing and publicity opportunities and techniques for artists and galleries in the region. The initiators of South African Artists claim that they are the leading source of info for anyone interested in South African art but there is little commentary on art. The site was specifically created to sell art. A book choice and featured gallery or artist are also published.

This is the website of Cape Town's South African Centre for Photography, and gives images and information about current photographic events. The Centre "endeavours to promote a broader understanding of the medium of photography in all its forms, and to foster the development of its practice, teaching, scholarship and criticism through the establishment of sustainable ongoing programmes".

Every artist deserves a business card on the net, the Artslink webmaster TJ de Klerk believes. And galleries can have a whole page, free. This local site becomes more and more useful, with its e-mailing of arts-related press releases available to anyone through its Acemail programme. Won the Arts and Culture award for best art site in the country in 1998.


Queer Arts Resource
"Queer Arts Resource is a not-for-profit educational forum for the display and discussion of queer art and culture. Until the recent advent of Queer Studies, the history of art has omitted most material of direct relevance to lesbians and gays. Much has been suppressed, much has been lost due to neglect or censorship, and a great deal has simply been overlooked. QAR is expanding the range and depth of knowledge about contemporary and historical queer art, and making this information freely available on this website.

This site operates as an interactive website which functions as a virtual museum. Under archive check out 'AIDS: Making Art and Raising Hell'. This exhibition gives a history and thorough information on AIDS related art works. Another perspective is also given as commentary focuses on how the AIDS crisis has effected the art community.

Art Crimes: The Writing on the Wall
In many places, painting graffiti is illegal. Although Art Crimes does not advocate breaking the law they believe that art belongs in public spaces and that more legal walls should be made available for this fascinating art form. It is very difficult to get books published and to keep photos from being seized and destroyed, therefore, the internet may be the best way to publish and preserve this information.

Main goals are to provide cultural information and resources and document the constantly disappearing paintings. The work on the site has been created by artists who call themselves "writers", their works are their writings. Art Crimes also dispels the negative stereotypes about people who produce graffiti art and their affiliation with gangs.

There are many featured artists from all over the world along with examples of their work. Art Crimes is huge containing hundreds of featured artists and thousands of works as well as links to artists' sites. There are links to HipHop sites, art sites, media and other graffiti sites. Interviews and articles are also included and a catalogue can be bought.

The Thami Mnyele studio in Amsterdam, established in 1993, is a home from home for two visiting artists a year, providing an air ticket and living and working space. The foundation is also considering artists from other African countries. The website tells how to apply for a fellowship and the conditions.

E-flux bills itself as the "the first electronic mailing company devoted exclusively to serving the international art world." Working from a data base of cutting edge critics, collectors, consultants, galleries and museums, e-flux will email information about exhibitions to its subscribers at "a small fraction of the usual mailing costs". Logging on to the site will provide information about a wide range of current exhibitions in the States and Europe. The curators of "Translation/Seduction/Displacement", the show of South African artists at the White Box earlier this year used e-flux to send out pix and info on the show.

ShanghART displays works by internationally acclaimed Chinese artists, as well as new and coming young artists from Shanghai and all over China. Since its establishment one year ago, ShanghART has featured some of the most interesting young artists who live in China today. It has become a unique centre for contemporary art in a country with a fast developing art scene. Through exhibitions this site contributes to the development, appreciation and collection of contemporary Chinese art.



To increase the artistic and cultural contact between South African and Dutch artists, a South African living in the Netherlands, Andrea Rolfes and a Dutch art project manager, Arend-Jan Weysters of Stichting AKKA, designed the Holland South Africa Line project (HSAL). This exhibition showed in Amsterdam in September, 2000. This project was designed specifically to have "dialogue" and "communication" between seven Dutch and seven South African artists as its primary basis and objective. Information on the exhibition, and examples of work by the artists involved, are also included on the site.

Continental Shift shows art to be an experimental forum for the co-existence of world cultures. This exhibition focuses on art as a blueprint for co-operation between diverse cultures. The exhibition has taken place from May 21 to September 10, 2000, in four different venues, the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen, the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, the Stadsgalerij in Heerlen and the Mus�e d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain in Li�ge. It features a number of artists from Africa and aims to create an image of the artistic relationships between Europe and other continents. Click on an artist's name to bring up samples of the artist's work, then mouse over each picture to reach other related information. This is a website of excellent design.

Isn't it a little strange to plan an exhibition of internet art and place it in a museum space instead of cyberspace? Well, that is what renowned curator Peter Weibel did, and you can see it on the net anyway. Check out net-condition on the very elegantly designed ZKM Online.

One of the better exhibition websites around is this one, which shows a number of works by each of artists on New York's Museum for African Art show, 'Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa'. It's a good place to go for all those matric essayists constantly seeking information on local artists. It presents paintings, sculptures and installations created between 1994, the end of the apartheid era and 1999.


Signatures provides a peek into the lives of artists in their studios. In September, 2000, four South African artists were approached to allow Signatures to install a webcam in their studio so that the creation of their work can be seen in an environment where few people are allowed. These artists are Peter Binsbergen, Bronwen Findlay, Ben Botma and Clare Menck. After completion, their work will be on exhibition at the gallery of the Bellville Arts Association and auctioned online by The Lot. If you are an artist, and have never exhibited solo before, check out this site to enter the New Signatures competition. Have your work exhibited on the site, at the Belville Arts Association then, also, auctioned online by The Lot.

Lapses and Erasures

Inspired by Robert Rauschenberg's Erased De Kooning drawing, Sawad Brooks has transported the concept of erasure from the analogue to the digital domain. Erasure always leaves its own traces, and Brooks raises the question of how we can decipher digital erasure with four elegant projects: Shuttle Shutter, Focus, Annotator and Register. It is the viewer that must perform the erasures. This is interaction at its most evolved.


Sensorium is a site of truly wondrous projects. Breathing Earth, for instance, is a visualisation of earthquakes that have happened worldwide in the past 14 days. A globe with a map of the world comes into view, and on each of the 14 dates, swellings bubble up indicating the location of the seismic activities. Other projects involve the number of kilometres the world has swung round the sun while you have been busy on the website, and the sounds of the web itself.


Plexus is one of the best - great artist projects, articles, news.


Stadium Web includes intriguing initiatives especially designed for the web from a variety of artists. All of them are worth checking out.



ZA@Play is a good daily read for anyone who wishes to keep up with the best of local cultural happenings. The site also features lively interviews and reviews taken from the Mail & Guardian.


Comprehensive and well designed, is packed with loads of information on the contemporary art scene in China. It contains an artist and online gallery of work in all types of media by artists whose biographies can be read after clicking on the thumbnail of each piece. The Museum and Gallery page contains a list of these institutions, located in China and the United States. The Education page gives listing of the top five art institutes available in China, all providing exchange programmes and links to each institution site for more details. There is a store where one can order China fashion dolls, delicate fine art prints, elegantly made sculptures, and well-designed T-Shirts. Art News provides information on what's happening in the contemporary art world of China. One can join a live chat session discussing a variety of art related topics, or simply leave an opinion or reply to a previous one.

Check out's exclusive feature of MacArthur Award winner Xu Bing. A retrospective of Bing's work over the last ten years, with interview and never before published photos and project. "Xu Bing describes himself as the generation of Chinese artists who have lived in ten years of socialist education, ten years of cultural revolution, ten years of open door policy and ten years of living in the west. The experiences gathered during these times have attributed to his unique and inventive concepts." is a New York-based website which is one of the best and the biggest, constantly updating current information on exhibitions, and offering excellent reviews and magazine coverage.


Focusing on an interchange of material about Africa, this fresh-looking Dutch-based site has a particular emphasis on the arts and culture of this continent, and searches for new virtual exhibitions to host online.

Published biannually in India, International Gallerie is the gorgeous online version of a global ideas magazine. Five issues old, it has won seven national and international awards for excellence addressing issues that are of universal concern through the arts, performing arts, essays, poetry, photo-essays, socio-political stories of communities and people.

Chinese artists are attracting more and more notice on the world art scene - check out this well designed site for a look at what's contemporary or traditional in the world of Chinese art. One can order magazines, books, there is an artist of the week and a calendar of events.

If you're up to grappling with questions of 'critical thought around the whole subject of how culture and technology are interweaving at the end of this century', you could click on the Frame site to read essays by contributors from around the world. Frame is an e-zine emanating from the UK. It's edited by Sue Thomas and Simon Mills.

New York artist Joy Garnett has started a website of interest to artists. Newsgrist,"where spin is art" has images and prose and poetry and articles. Not all that much there yet, but worth checking out.