Archive: Issue No. 33, May 2000

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Something to ask? A comment to make on ArtThrob? Email us at All queries answered by Paul Edmunds, Feedback Editor.

From: Liesl Lategan
Subject: Wanting to study film and video production /photography in natal
Received: May 5

Hi , my name is Liesl Lategan I am a 20 year old South African living in Atlanta, Georgia at the moment . I would like to go home next year and study at a good art college at the coast. Although I have been accepted to a great art school here, called the Art Institute of Atlanta, I am struggling with the student visa so I have decided to go home to get qualified and then come back to the States. My dilemma is that being here I am pretty much cut off and I am desperately looking for a good art and design college down at the coast because my folks are moving down there at the end of the year. Please would you get in touch with me and let me know of any universities or colleges in the Durban area that offer photography, graphic design or film and video production technology. I would be most grateful.


- Durban editor Virginia McKenny replies: Technikon Natal in Durban offers courses in all of the areas requested. It has a good Arts Faculty which offers Graphic Design, Photography and Video Technology. Their Graphic Design school has a reasonable reputation and the competition for entry is quite high.Their photography department is very much geared towards the commercial world and covers digital photography as well as setting up your own photography business. If you are more into creative photography then you'd be better off joining the Fine Arts Department in the same institution which encourages a far more personalised and explorative approach to photography - photography, as a major, though only kicks in in the second year of study and you'd have to do the foundation course with its full contingent of graphics, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and art theory before you could really get your teeth into it. The Tech info brochure for its video technology course claims it is the only programme in the country training people exclusively for the television industry - a three year, full time diploma course it covers all aspects of television production including scriptwriting, sound, camera, vision-mixing and editing. The Fine Art course also offers a fledgling video course, again very much with a bias toward personal creativity.

For applications to these courses you'd need to contact:
Central Applications Office
Private Bag X06
Dalbridge 4014

Tel 031-2684444 or Fax 031- 2684422
or check out the web site There is also another option on a somewhat different tack: Mediatek is a computer design school that is offering an interesting mix in art, graphic design and computer training which includes some training in computer video editing programmes such as Premier.

Tel 031-3054200

From: Janis Slingsby
Subject: Matters of opinion
Received: May 3

Dear ArtThrob

I don't think that Estelle Jacobs, Gallery Director of AVA, should be so paranoid about there being any confusion existing, as regards who AVA is. However, there is a discussion concerning the AVA's name currently circulating. Somebody has added a "B" before AVA resulting in BAVA. At a recent arty party, I overheard a group debating the "abc" of this "B". Below are some of their suggestions as to what the author of this "B" intended.

a. Business Association for Visual Arts? -As it is perceived to be a commercial gallery since secession.
b.Broeders Association for Visual arts? -Self explanatory.
c.BAaaaa of Visual Arts? - As in sheep.

However, the name that does cause confusion for me personally is that of the South African National Gallery. Stagnation is leading to fossilisation which leads me to believe that The Natural History Museum would be a more appropriate name.

Yours sincerely Chief Spokesperson for the Temporary Director General of the National Council for Independent Artists (CSTDGNCIA) Janis Slingsby

- Maybe it did seem as if Estelle over-reacted, but it seems important, both for the AVA and the SAAVA, that their identities are not confused. Also, it must be pointed out, the AVA does not make a profit to speak of from the work they exhibit and sell - hence the fact that they offer the Artsstrip free of charge and are willing to undertake so risky a venture as a show of Mark Coetzee's work. As for the National Gallery, their recent forays with the two Soft Serve events do go some way to dispelling this myth of stagnation. Nice acronym by the way

From: Bestpage
Subject: DAK'ART 2000
Received: May 4

Maybe you have heard about Peter Klashorst from The Netherlands who is in prison in Senegal. He made nude paintings and has been arrested for that reason! To draw attention to this I wrote to the National Newspapers in Holland and to the commission of the DAK'ART 2000. I hope you will also draw some attention to this case. Here is a copy of the message I have sent:

"Dear sir,

This is a statement from The Dakar Bi´┐Żnnale 2000:
'The selection reflects what is happening internationally, with a predominance of installations and video works; the emphasis is on younger artists and work which will be seen for the first time'

What about Peter Klashorst, the Dutch artist who is in prison right now in Senegal? Is it possible to show his work too?"

Peter Schoenmakers
The Netherlands

- I hope this letter draws more attention to the case, of which I was unaware, and helps to address the ongoing scourge of censorship and intolerance faced by artists all over the world.

From: Sean Slemon
Subject: Galleries-code of conduct ?
Received: April 30

Hi there, I'm writing to find out information on the Code of Conduct of galleries in SA. Young artists are often going into business, desperately trying to get their work out there and getting their fingers burnt in the process as I have by selling work through a gallery and not being paid for it. We as artists initially feel priveleged to get our work into a gallery, when in fact it is the gallery that exists because of us. We often stock the venue free of charge in the hope of a sale. What I want to know is, if there is any set way in which galleries operate and if not what should an artist be aware of when giving work to galleries? One gallery I spoke to laughed when I asked this question. Is there an Association of arts in SA that has a board to improve situations and organise events, much like the Association of Potters of SA (APSA)?

Thank you
Sean Slemon

- Sean, I sympathise with you, but I think there are two issues here. Firstly, there was an association, called the South African Association of Arts which held exhibitions and organised some international events through galleries across the country under their jurisdiction- The Arts Association of Bellvile for example. This Association has now splintered - read Estelle Jacobs letter in another part of feedback for more info on this. But the SAA did not concern itself with a code of conduct affecting all galleries. There is no such code or association. Perhaps young artists should start one.

But to get to your second point. Yours is a professional issue. Any art gallery is a commercial venture, and in exchange for your use of space and resources in their business, take commission on the sales of your work. It does sound to me that you have got a raw deal, but this is essentially a professional issue- if they have sold your work, they owe you the money, and if they don't pay, providing you made some agreement with them, you have legal recourse. Many galleries are less than professional in their dealings with artists, but the artists have to take responsibility in the matter. Never give work to a gallery without presenting a proper consignment note in duplicate with title, date and price of work. They must sign this, and keep one copy. One is for you, and is your proof of their legal obligation. Check back with them every three months at least to see how their stock of your work is getting on, and if you are due to be paid for work sold.

You are right that galleries do exist only because artists are able to stock them but it is up to you is to deal with galleries in a strictly professional way, covering all bases and possibilities. While this may seem a rather harsh way of behaving as a creative individual, it is better for both parties in the long run.

From: Estelle Jacobs
Subject: AVA in PRETORIA
Received: April 15

On a recent, but rare, trip through the ArtThrob site, I was horrified to see that a certain exhibition is listed as taking place at the AVA in Pretoria or Pretoria's AVA! AVA is the abbreviation of the Association For Visual Arts which exists only in Cape Town and nowhere else in South Africa. Surely, whoever wrote that listing means the Arts Association in Pretoria or else SANAVA, the recently changed name of the previous SA Association of Arts - coined by Conrad Theys president of the former SAAA now SANAVA, in order to further confuse the art world. Despite the risk of being accused of hair splitting, I will ask you to ensure that this confusion never arises again. We went to a lot of trouble and pain to secede from SAAA in 1995 when we became AVA, and for this reason, we do not wish to be confused with or mistaken for other organizations with whom we have absolutely NO formal links.
I would appreciate it if this error could be corrected on the ArtThrob site as soon as is convenient. I am sure you will understand where I am coming from. Thank you .
Estelle Jacobs

From: Clara Calitz
Subject: Helen Sebidi
Received: April 23

Hi, My name is Clara and I'm currently in matric and researching Helen Sebidi but i can't seem to find good information anywhere. If you can help me at all with info or links to where I can obtain it, write to me.

Thanks for your time

- Clara, you will find some info in Sue Williamson's book Resistance Art in South Africa. The city library, if you are in or near Cape Town, or the Michaelis Library if you are near Johannesburg, should have some catalogues which include her work. You can also go to The National Gallery or the Johannesburg Art Gallery libraries. Try also to contact the Standard Bank Gallery who should have info and pictures for you.

From: Herman Kruger
Subject: Direction required
Received: April 10

I have been referred to you (and your wonderful site - thank you dearly!!!) by Katherine who is my lecturer (Fine Arts) at The Open Window. Because of my background in music (classical education up to a point) and fine arts/design/electronic publishing I would really like to start experimenting with sound sculpture and any other experimental forms of alternative art media that includes sound or music and was wondering if you might have any advice to sparingly give me. I am really battling to find any information of shows, groups, organizations, artists in South Africa and would appreciate any kind of direction you might be able to give me in my searchings!
I am on the Civic gallery's mailing list, as well as Artzone's, but despite the fact that I have been intently "gazing" at my pc for any mails regarding this matter, I regretfully have not been getting anywhere.

Anxiously awaiting your reply

Herman Kruger
Tel: (012) 673 7698
Fax: (012) 673 7699

- Herman- a number of artists and musicians I can think of have been involved in these sorts of ventures. RAM, who work in this area, held their first 'solo' show here last year and contribute regularly as individuals and as a collective to many projects. You can contact their gallerist Mark Coetzee on (021) 424-1667 or 423-6708. His email is and he will put you in touch with them. Warrick Sony, recently of the band Trans Sky but for a long time the sole member of The Kalahari Surfers, has been involved with several visual art projects as well. I don't have contact details for him but I'm sure you will find something on the Web, try searching under 'Shifty Records'. Siemon Allen, a South African currently resident in the US, who trained as a sculptor in Durban, has also produced work in this area. The ArtThrob search engine may be able to help you out there too.

From: Debbie
Subject: Can anyone help?
Received: April 11

To the editor

My name is Marie Enslin and I and very interested in stained glass "murals", pottery and lino- all of which I have practiced as an amateur. I would dearly like to study further but am unable to. I was wondering is there was any other way of doing so for example an apprenticeship. Would it be possible for you to give me a list of names of local artists in these fields so that I may be able to approach them.

Many thanks
Marie Enslin

- Marie- I think you are right in wanting to approach individual artists. There is a possibility that an artist may take on an apprentice or assistant, but as you probably know, money is hard to come by as an artist and an assistant is not always an option. I'm not sure that I can provide you with a list, I can only suggest that you do some research at The Johannesburg Art Gallery who will probably have some kind of resource centre where you may be able to locate some people working in the field which interests you. Perhaps someone reading this may be able to help, but keep trying.

From:Rashid Vahed
Subject: Artist details
Received: April 9

Thank you for a most informative and captivating website- by far the one that had me hooked after hours of searching. I hope that you can help me in this regard. I would like to interview Jane Alexander as a part of my matric art project on a South African artist. I would appreciate it if you would forward her email address, or an alternate method of contacting her, as it doesn't appear on your website.

Thanking you in anticipation of your assistance,
Alia Vahed

- Alia- As you can well imagine, Jane is incredibly busy. She is not able to respond to everyone who wishes to interview or email her. To this end she directs them to the National Gallery who have a lot of info on her in their library. This info is regularly updated. Phone ahead though on 465-1628. There is plenty of info on her on ArtThrob, use the search engine to find her Artist Biography from July 99. Also you can visit where you should find her Young Artist Award catalogue online.

From: Robertson
Subject: Please Help Me!
Received: April 3

I'm a matric student at Wynberg Girls High (Cape Town). I'm desperately trying to find information on Jane Alexander and can't make my way into town or to any galleries, so all my information has to come from the internet. I don't know where to look for some in depth info. Please could you give me a few pointers?

Helen Robertson

- Helen- See my reply above, there's all the information you need

From: Craig Belknap
Subject: A Unisa Art History student living in California
Received: March 14


I am currently a registered 3rd year art history student at Unisa, (a returning student after 25 years), and am working on a project and need to find some info on Irma Stern and the history of women in South Africa as pertaining to the arts and repressions etc. I lived in SA for 36 years, and moved back to the States 6 years ago. Is there any help that you can provide as regards references, books, web sites etc. I would be very much obliged for any assistance whatsoever.

Yours sincerely,
Nancy Belknap

- There are two books by Marion Arnold which may be of use to you. The first, 'Women and Art in South Africa', was published in 1996 by St. Martin's Press in New York. The second, published in SA in 1995 is called 'Irma Stern: Feast for the Eye' by Neville Dubow. These books should help.

From: Mark Wilby
Subject: Simon Ford
Received: March 14

I am trying to locate the artist Simon Ford. Could he, or anyone knowing of his whereabouts, please contact me at

Mark Wilby

- I don't know him personally, but perhaps he or someone who knows him can get in contact with you.

From: Louise Botha
Subject: Billy Mandindi
Received: March 2

I am an art student at Herschel High School in Cape Town and I have to write an art essay of 1500 words on Billy Mandindi. I was wondering if you could please help me with information, as I have looked almost everywhere and there's very little information to be found. It would be much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,
Louise Botha

- Dear Louise,

There is a short piece on Billy Mandindi in 'Resistance Art in South Africa' by Sue Williamson which should be in your school library, but you could contact Billy Mandindi yourself at his studio in Greatmore Studios in Woodstock. Phone (021) 447-9699.




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