Archive: Issue No. 79, March 2004

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03.03.04 KwaZulu-Natal Schools Art Exhibition 2004 at DAG
03.03.04 (Re)Union at the Bat Centre
03.03.04 Clinton De Menezes and Carla da Cruz at the NSA Gallery
03.03.04 Peter Rippon at artSPACE Durban
15.02.04 Images of displacement and disappropriation
15.02.04 Up Front and Personal at DAG
15.02.04 Lungelo Gumede at the Cupboard Gallery
15.02.04 Nkosi, Ziqubu and Gule at NSA
03.02.04 Ezequeil Mabote at the Menzi Mcunu Art Gallery, BAT Centre


KwaZulu-Natal Schools Art Exhibition 2004 at DAG

For a foretaste of who might be among the next up-and-coming generation of young artists the KwaZulu-Natal Schools Art Exhibition is often worth a view. This exhibition represents the best works collected from Grade 12 Schools during 2003. Given the spread of resources and opportunities for schools in the province the work varies from indigenous craftwork made in rural schools to painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, printmaking as well as computer generated images.

The exhibition will be opened by Paul Mikula.

Opened: February 11
Closes: March 28

(Re)Union at the Bat Centre

Somewhat in the manner of Red Eye but not quite, the ever energetic, award winning choreographers of the city, Jay Pather, Lliane Loots, David Gouldie and Sbonakaliso Ndaba will be presenting (Re)Union at the BAT Centre Hall on Saturday March 6.

The evening will feature Durban's top contemporary dance companies such as Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company, Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, Flatfoot Dance Company, Phenduka Dance Theatre and Backbench Ballerinas. Dance will integrate with poetry, video art installations, food and cutting edge fashion designers. (Re)Union is a passionate celebration of Durban.

Trans-Africa Express will host a gastronomic three-course meal especially inspired by Brendan the chef, for this occasion. For those interested dinner will kick off at 7pm sharp. Followed by the main event at 8.30pm. This will be concluded by desert and coffee and a little bit of a party.

This project is supported by BASA (Business and Art South Africa).

Bookings: Tel (031) 209 0142/3

Opens: Bat Centre Hall March 6 at 8.30pm (R50 per person)

Clinton De Menezes

Clinton De Menezes
Invition image

Carla da Cruz

Carla da Cruz
Capsule II, 2003

Clinton De Menezes and Carla da Cruz at the NSA Gallery

The NSA hosts two exhibitions by Masters students from the Durban Institute of Technology Fine Art Department who will be presenting for their Degrees.

Occupying the main gallery, Clinton De Menezes is exhibiting a selection of multi-media works investigating the concepts of location, identity and the politics of space in a South African context. Acknowledging the change in representation of the landscape from 18th century colonialism to the post-colonial present De Menezes explores the competition for land and space with its conflicts for power and control.

In the post-colonial present the re-mapping of the physical landscape from four colonial provinces into nine post-colonial provinces redefines both politics and geography. In his installation, De Menezes explores these tensions by inviting the viewer to embark on a journey through the gallery, which is transformed into a space akin to an oversized board game. The work plays out the tensions between 'real' and 'imagined' space.

De Menezes states that "this exhibition critically investigates our past as it challenges our future. It maps a non-linear path through our historical, physical and metaphoric geographies. These geographies define the place where we as a culture, of South Africans, exist ".

De Menezes lives and works in Durban and this will be his fifth solo exhibition. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions nationally and in collaborative performances internationally. The exhibition received sponsorship from Maizey Plastics, Laser Junction and Stepping Stone Press.

In the Park and Multimedia Gallery, ceramicist Carla da Cruz exhibits her ceramic sculpture in an exhibition entitled 'Incased'. Da Cruz's work is reminiscent of the industrial forms and textures associated with large-scale weaponry. Making large bomb-like encasings that appear heavily secured she sets up a contrasting tension with materials that appear to protect, insulate and cover. It is the play between interior/exterior, protective/vulnerable that informs the work of da Cruz.

Da Cruz states: "The forms I use are archetypal and are intended to evoke a sense of subconscious recognition and familiarity. The images are taken from and influenced by my surroundings and my interaction with everyday objects. The inherent limitations and unpredictable nature of clay are an important part of my choice of this material.

"I am fascinated by the transformation clay undergoes during the working process. The process is never static," she continues. "The idea may change as the clay transforms. I am testing the limitations of the medium in my use of scale and my choice of forms".

Da Cruz has participated in numerous group exhibitions in addition to working on public commissions for murals and mosaic projects. This is her first solo exhibition.

Opens: March 9, at 6pm
Closes: March 28

Peter Rippon

Peter Rippon
'Untitled'� 2003
Oil on canvas

Peter Rippon at artSPACE Durban

Peter Rippon is a highly skilled painter with a fascination for detail and the macabre. He has spent years building up a portfolio of intense works that explore the interstices between the mundane and the strange. His meticulous depictions of ordinary spaces such as a basin in a bathroom or a medicine cupboard become charged with a strange ambivalence when juxtaposed with a birthday cupcake or jars of baked beans.

'True Life Story' present images of containment, Rippon's white rat in a tin or his own face squashed into the space of a photocopier. Fascinated by the sanitisation and objectification of death through medicine and science he often renders his own image with a similar depersonalisation. His recent forays into video, however, provide a highly personalised view of interior worlds. Often alluding to the imaginative world of children or to people marginalized by society as eccentric, he explores the uneasy edge between reassurance and fear.

Currently finishing his Master's degree in Fine Art at the Durban Institute of Technology 'True Life Story' is Peter Rippon's first solo show.

For further information contact Karen Bradkte on (031) 312 0793.

Opening: February 25, at 6pm
Closes: March 16

Images of displacement and disappropriation

'Frontiere Borders Fronteras' is an exhibition by Giuseppe Lanzi, director of the Scalabrini Development Agency in Cape Town. Subtitled A Photographic Exposition of Migration around the World, the exhibition is a photographic document of involuntary migration and refugee movement in different parts of the world.

Lanzi's exhibition provides valuable insights into a worldwide phenomenon: the displacement and disappropriation of large numbers of people around the world. The images invoke stories of hardship and adversity but also of endurance and courage under extreme conditions and address the presence of borders at institutional, physical and conceptual levels.

Up Front and Personal

'Up Front And Personal - Three Decades Of UK Political Graphics'� exhibition poster

Up Front and Personal at DAG

'Up Front And Personal - Three Decades Of UK Political Graphics' recently opened at DAG. British designers, advertising agencies, artists and activists have brought a particular language to projects relating to social and political causes.

Much of the work shown in this exhibition is culled from the past two decades, ranging from landmark advertising campaigns and iconic poster images, to spray-can billboard liberation and ephemera from community workshops and alternative presses. Humour and wit are present in projects throughout (harking from the great English tradition of satire), as are works of great subtlety and sensitivity - where difficult messages are communicated tactfully, but memorably.

The exhibition therefore covers a wide variety of statements, approaches and techniques. Highlights include: the classic Saatchi and Saatchi election poster; "Labour Isn't Working" (1979); satirical comments in the form of Private Eye magazine covers and Spitting Image puppets.

Lesser known but no less striking are grassroots graphics relating to the anti Poll Tax movement, Women's Liberation, the miners' strike, anti-racism and gay rights movements as well as campaigns tackling difficult issues such as child abuse and the current preoccupations with environmental, anti-corporate and anti-globalisation movements.

Enlivened by contrasts in scale (from small badges to large billboards) this exhibition celebrates how freedom of expression in British culture and politics is exercised both creatively and graphically. It also shows how that freedom is constantly probed and pushed to the limit by artists and activists alike, creating a visual dynamic that ensures that public viewpoints and tolerances never remain stagnant.

The exhibition has a locally designed South African component.

Curated by design historian and writer Liz McQuiston the exhibition was commissioned by the British Council in London on behalf of the British Council in South Africa in partnership with The Johannesburg Art Gallery, The South African National Gallery and Iziko Museums and the Durban Art Gallery.

For further information, please contact: British Council Southern Africa's Paul Johnson on cell / voicemail 083 626 1427.

Opened: February 11
Closes: March 28

Lungelo Gumede at the Cupboard Gallery

The Cupboard Gallery, Home will be exhibiting various pieces of art by Lungelo Gumede, a recent graduate from the BAT Centre's Annual Artists in Action Residency Programme.

This program offers budding artists the opportunity to develop their skills under the tutelage of experts in their respective fields. The program is designed to equip artists with the expertise they require to earn a viable living from their work. Launched three years ago, it already boasts more then 90 successful graduates.

The Artists in Action Residency Program is made possible by the sponsorship of the National Lottery Development Trust Fund and the Durban Metro Department of Economic Affairs. Lungelo Gumede recently personally presented to the president a portrait he had painted of him and Nelson Mandela.

For more information contact Lisa Turner:
Tel: 084 515 9899

Opens: February 17
Closes: March 14

Gabisile Nkosi

Gabisile Nkosi
Invitation image

Khwezi Gule

Khwezi Gule
exhibition invitation image

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

Ezequeil Mabote

Ezequeil Mabote
oil on canvas

Ezequeil Mabote at the Menzi Mcunu Art Gallery, BAT Centre

Born in Mozambique, in 1979, Ezequeil Mabote's background bestowed upon him a multicultural fluency that includes Portuguese, Spanish, Shangaan and IsiZulu. He received his early training at the Nucleo de Arte Art Centre in Maputo, where he was influenced by observing textile workers and local wood carvers. His interest in printing and design was later reinforced in South Africa when he was an artist-in-residence at the Bat Centre. Here he met with Samuel Natangwe Mbingilo, a woodcut artist from the John Maufangejo Art Centre in Namibia. Later a stint at the Caversham Press in Pietermaritzburg gave him further skills as a bookbinder.

Utilising the emphasis of narrative in his training, Mabote pays tribute in his work to the oral tradition from which he comes, translating the traditional folk tales and family stories told by his grandparents into visual form. His pictorial narratives often have a mythic dimension, but can also be extremely intimate reflecting his childhood memories. The exhibition at the BAT Centre focuses on his painting.

Mabote has exhibited widely in South Africa. In 1999 'Art Of My Life' travelled to Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban, under the auspices of the Alliance Francaise. In 2001, Mabote, together with six other artists, was awarded the Ithunga Fine Art Award for collaboration in an art calendar exhibited at the Durban Art Gallery. For many contemporary artists a peripatetic existence is not only a mark of growing success but has become a necessity for survival. Mabote has recently returned from the USA where he exhibited in Chicago and New York. He is soon due to return there.

Opens: February 5, at 6pm
Closing: March 6