Nkosi, Ziqubu and Gule at NSA
Gabisile Nkosi, trained as a printmaker and currently the Studio and Programme Assistant at the Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers, completed her Bachelor of Technology (Fine Art) at Technikon Natal (now the Durban Institute of Technology) in 2001. In 'Unveiling the Other Me' she will exhibit a suite of 20 screen and relief prints as well as hand-made books, which explore the expressive and narrative potential of the medium.
These were done at the Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers. In additional she will exhibit work completed during the recent three-month residency at the McColl Center for Visual Arts, USA. Her work is represented in numerous collections, including that of Oprah Winfrey.
Nkosi says that the work "is about sharing my inner-self with the outside world". Acknowledging the "masks" of the different personas she plays as daughter, sister, mother, friend, teacher, independent woman and artist she says that she is attempting to remove such disguises, in the process "unveiling" herself.
Given the narrative autobiographical thread in the work she examines the impact of what she calls "African culture" on her life and is acutely conscious of her identity as a South African woman. She also recognizes the important role that the Caversham Centre has played in her life.
As an artist Nkosi has a strong sense of community responsibility and co-ordinates art-related workshops as part of an Outreach partnership with, amongst others, Jabula Combined School, a local school in the Caversham area. The programme targets pupils, youth and adults from this disadvantaged community and focuses on creating HIV/AIDS awareness whilst examining different forms of creativity through story telling, writing, image making, bookmaking and performance.
Nkosi has a particular interest in the therapeutic effects of art making. Whilst committed to an active artistic life in South Africa her international profile continues to grow. In 2003 she exhibited in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA.
In the mezzanine gallery Sicelo Ziqubu's 'World According to an Artist' presents Ziqubu's highly idiosyncratic mixed media works. Using discarded and waste material Ziqubu makes sculptural pieces and paintings with personalised frames. Tackling subjects as wide-ranging as recollections from his traditional upbringing to depictions of historical or biblical events his concern is also to encourage the viewer to be more environmentally aware and to stop, as he says, "dumping carelessly and throwing away".
His own work exemplifies the possibility of transformative engagement with objects having been known to ingeniously turn children's plastic Red Indians into Zulu warriors when he needed them in a depiction of the Anglo-Zulu War.
Ziqubu, a one-time Art Gallery Assistant at the Carnegie Art Gallery in Newcastle, has participated in numerous group exhibitions locally and abroad. He exhibited on the Northern Natal Biennale and recently 'Untold Stories of Magic', an exhibition that travelled nationally. His work is represented in the collections of the Carnegie Art Gallery (Newcastle), Museum Stadthof Zwolle (Netherlands), the Tatham Art Gallery (Pietermaritzburg) and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. This is his first solo exhibition.
In the multimedia gallery is 'Paleotech', the final instalment of the 2003 Young Artists' Project (YAP), a NSA initiative that supports new work. 'Paleotech' is the work of Khwezi Gule who here foregrounds his interest in 'lapsed' or old and discarded technology. Mining the possibility of creating fresh imagery through the manipulations of, amongst other things, found 8 mm and 16 mm film Gule digitally remasters and represents these found sources with current technology.
The term 'Paleotech' was coined by Gule to refer to redundant technology. He says he is fascinated with old technology "because it is the graveyard of our dreams". Recognising that "what's high-tech today is tomorrow's low-tech" he believes that "technology reflects, through its products, our hopes, fears, desires and our sense of self".
Gule utilises 8mm film not only to "revitalize" old technology and "breathe new life into it, make it speak again" but also to "redefine the images on the original piece of film, to bring new meaning to it". Gule attempts to "re-open the dialogue between the old and the new, past, present and our future".
He is convinced that "we seem to see ourselves much clearer from a distance" and that "old technology allows us this distance". Infused with irony, the works include some musings and 'interventions' on found reels of retro porn. "Our fetish for technology" he says "reminds us of that which we lack. It is a portrait of our society in evolution".
Gule is an artist, teacher, researcher, activist, writer and a graduate of Technikon Natal. He has worked as an illustrator and editorial coordinator and also lectures Art Theory at the Durban Institute of Technology. From his student days he has been actively involved in and served as a member of both civil society organisations and arts organisations. He was one of the founder members of Third Eye Vision.
These exhibitions were all made possible with a generous grant received from the National Lottery.
Opens: February 17, at 6pm
Closes: March 7
NSA Gallery, 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood
Tel: 031 202 3686
Fax: 031 202 3744
Hours: Tues - Fri 10am - 5pm, Sat 10am - 4pm, Sun 11am - 3pm