Archive: Issue No. 52, December 2001

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28.11.01 HIV/AIDS Billboards and Prints at Durban Art Gallery
21.11.01 December Red Eye at Durban Art Gallery
21.11.01 Christmas shopping and events at the NSA
31.10.01 Walter Oltmann, Standard Bank Young Artist 2001 at the DAG
DURBAN

Judy Woodbourne

Judy Woodbourne
Birdsong
2001
Etching


HIV/AIDS Billboards and Prints at Durban Art Gallery

December 1 is International AIDS Day and the Artists for Human Rights Trust is showing images from their much-lauded and internationally recognised billboard initiative, which uses artists' prints to promote an anti-HIV/AIDS message in the public domain. Thirty-one artists, from South Africa and other countries, have contributed work. So far only a few of the prints have reached full billboard size and of these three can be seen in communities around Durban. These include Sthembiso Sibisi's image at Vouyiswamatol School, KwaMashu; Mudduzi Xakazi's in Clermont and Gabisile Nkosi's in Umlazi.

The aims and objectives of the project are to use visual art as a medium to initiate a national campaign to intensify the awareness of HIV/AIDS. While many creative endeavours have supported the drive for fundraising and education for AIDS, most art-related initiatives have stayed within the confines of galleries and museums, thereby missing the vast majority of people. Utilising the slogan "Break the Silence", which was used to advertise the International AIDS conference last year, the campaign aims to get people talking in a culture largely afraid to engage the topic due to stigmatisation and discrimination.

The billboard project is different from the many mural projects dealing with AIDS in that murals tend to engage a specific locale while billboards can be mass-produced and are transplantable. Kim Berman's translation of the billboard as a solid wall with a graffiti version of 'Break the Silence' scrawled across it fulfils this brief. Other artists, however, tackle the problem in a different way. Carmen Perrin from Bolivia, perhaps less likely to know the specifics of the South African situation, creates a more abstract image. Her print is a barely visible ring of patterns each pierced with a steel pin. Ambiguous and contradictory, the clusters of rings recall cells growing and disintegrating while the pins signify both wounding and healing. Enlarging this print to billboard size without losing its sense of tactility will represent a considerable challenge. In fact many of the images present challenges as billboards - conceived as art pieces rather than advertising propaganda they may not prove as easily accessible as the traditional graphic. This, however, may make the images less likely to be glanced over and more likely to engender discussion.

Conceived and guided by Jan Jordaan, master printmaker at Technikon Natal, the portfolio of prints for the billboards, many of which still need sponsors to be seen full size, will be shown at the Durban Art Gallery. Simultaneously the South African National Gallery in Cape Town and various other institutions will also host the portfolio. Sponsors include the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (DACST), the National Arts Council (NAC), the KZN Department of Health, the MTN Art Institute, and Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys.

Opening: December 1 at 6pm by Dr Nono Simelela, National HIV/AIDS Directorate
Closing: January 1 2002

Durban Art Gallery, 2nd floor, City Hall, Smith Street
Tel: (031) 311 2262
Fax: (031) 311 2273
Website: www.durban.gov.za/museums/artgallery/index.htm
Hours: Mon - Sat 8.30am - 4pm, Sun 11am - 4pm


Red Eye @rt



December Red Eye @rt

Red Eye @rt, Durban's premier arts event held monthly at the Durban Art Gallery, will be breaking away from its normal location and launching itself into the CBD during the month of December for an end-of-year party of mega proportions. For something completely different, Red Eye will kick off the festive season with a bumper event on December 7 at the Wheel Shopping Centre in the space that formerly housed The Hub.

Bigger and better, this two-in-one event will take art out of the traditional gallery environment and lend a fresh perspective to both a conventional shopping location and the artworks themselves. Visual art will feature a selection of some of the best contemporary video, performance and fine art installations by various local artists and students. Work on show will include recent exhibitions by third and fourth year fine frt students from Technikon Natal.

Red Eye will also feature offerings from the local fashion, dance and music scenes. Check out the latest from Durban's funkiest young designers in a spectacular fashion show incorporating everything from hair art by Jenny B to traditional gumboot dancing.

Doors open at 6.30pm and the event will continue until midnight. Tickets are available from Computicket at R24 or at the door on the night for R34. Secure underground parking is available in the Wheel - entrance in Shamrock Avenue.

For more information contact Liana or Carol on (031) 311 2268/62.


Craft for Christmas

Craft for Christmas


Christmas shopping and events at the NSA

It's the silly season again when gallery curators capitulate to the demands of the time. In keeping with tradition the NSA Gallery becomes an art and craft emporium at Christmas. Gloria Hoff and Gail Wellbeloved have mounted a national search of trade fairs, suppliers, crafters, makers and inventors to assure that a huge selection of homeware, artworks, gifts and collectables will be available to the Durban public during the month of December. All is not frivolity, however, as this is shopping with a conscience - all proceeds generated during this time will be ploughed back into the NSA, a registered welfare organisation. Furthermore the society supports local artists and craftspeople - keeping the chain of creativity alive.

Collaborating with the Arts Cafe, the NSA Complex will be open to the public for extended shopping hours on December 13 and 20. Make use of this opportunity to shop, listen to the popular King Boy's choir and relax in the outside restaurant where Ralph Bronzin of the Arts Cafe will prepare a special menu for the occasion. A full bar will also be available.

In addition, on December 2 from 9am to 3pm, the NSA Gallery, again in conjunction with the Arts Cafe, will present its monthly 'See-eazi' where every possible inch of space (stoeps, driveways and pavements) between the Davenport and Ferguson Roads is invaded with quality artwork. A diverse range of Durban artists are given the opportunity to showcase their goods at a nominal fee - creating the only outdoor event of its kind in Durban.

Opening: Sunday November 25 at 2pm
Closing: December 30


Walter Oltmann

Walter Oltmann
Larva Suit
2001
Aluminium and steel wire
230 x 160 x 40cm


Walter Oltmann, Standard Bank Young Artist 2001 at the DAG

Fresh from his showing at the Tatham in Pietermaritzburg Walter Oltmann comes to Durban as this year's Standard Bank Young Artist. Weaving in wire day-to-day things such as vases of flowers, brushes, chairs, kettles and insects, he reinvigorates the mundane, reinfusing it with a sense of the extraordinary.

A few years ago people in the streets of Durban watched with curiosity as Oltmann's huge woven soft python held limply between two giant hands was carried from the storeroom, where it had been living, to the DAG where it went on display. A posse of council employees cleared a path ahead, a few formed a circle around to protect it, while a handful of others followed, answering questions. His work today, as then, never fails to provoke a response because it is both immensely accessible yet at the same time unexpected.

His techniques engage basket making, thatching and weaving in all its forms. Borrowing and referring to fabrics, tapestry, carpets, beadwork and traditional building methods for walls and fences he also uses the structures and methods of the natural world from beavers' dams to birds' nests. Bridging fine arts and crafts, Oltmann interrogates cross-cultural traditions in a post-colonial society while retaining his own unique sense of the poetic. A show not to be missed.

Opening: November 7
Closing: January 3 2002

See REVIEWS

Durban Art Gallery, 2nd floor, City Hall, Smith Street
Tel: (031) 311 2262
Fax: (031) 311 2273
Website: www.durban.gov.za/museums/artgallery/index.htm
Hours: Mon - Sat 8.30am - 4pm, Sun 11am - 4pm

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