Willie Bester
Election 1994
Mixed media
206 x 160cm

Robert Hodgins
Voter 1998
Oil on canvas
122 x 91cm

Esther Mahlangu
Untitled 1998
Dung and acrylic paint
on canvas
103 x 109cm

Zwelethu Mthethwa
Mother and Child 1998
80 x 100cm


'[Rewind] Fast Forward.za' opens in Holland

The largest show of South African art to appear in the Netherlands since the post-1993 Venice Biennale Zuiderkruis at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam opens at the Van Reekum Museum of Modern Art in the small town of Apeldoorn on June 4. Entitled '[Rewind] Fast Forward.za', the show is described in the press release as "at once an exhibition and a news flash", opening as it does two days after the second general election, a moment at which interest in South Africa and her culture in transition should be high.

Willie Bester's painted and constructed collage, Election (1994), looks back to the magnetism of Mandela and the longed-for event of South Africa's first election, and even the acid-brushed Robert Hodgins paints a smile onto the face of his 1998 Voter. A new installation by Bongi Dhlomo-Mautloa is based on an aerial photograph in which the downtrodden Johannesburg township Alexandra contrasts strangely with its plush neighbouring suburb, the swimming pool-studded Sandton.

Curated by ex-South African Amsterdam-based Bozzie Rabie, and the director of the Museum, Frits Bless, the show includes video, installation art, assemblage, painting and sculpture by 11 artists - Willie Bester, Kevin Brand, Bongi Dhlomo-Mautloa, Robert Hodgins, William Kentridge, Noria Mabasa, Esther Mahlangu, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Sam Nhlengethwa, Nkosana Dominic Tshabangu and Sue Williamson.

All of the artists have been invited to Apeldoorn to see their work installed and to be present at the opening of the exhibition by Carl Niehaus, the South African ambassador to the Netherlands, at a reception on June 4 at 4pm.

The exhibition runs until September 6. Van Reekum Museum, Churchillplein 2, 7314 BZ Apeldoorn, Netherlands. Phone 31 (0)55 521-9155; fax: 31 (0)55 522-5456. Opening hours: Tuesdays to Fridays, 10am to 5pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 1pm to 5pm.



South African National Gallery

Jane Alexander's Butcher Boys,
the SANG's most popular piece

Cape Town museums "flagship" finally launched

No longer need the South African National Gallery worry about not being able to pay its electricity bill: under the new "flagship" dispensation, Cape Town's top five museums - the other four being the South African Museum, the William Fehr Collection at the Castle, the SA Cultural History Museum and the Michaelis Collection at the Town House - are now administratively linked with pooled resources. In future, in a new structure which came into being on April 1 this year, the institutions will function as a group, in the same kind of way as Washington's museums make up the Smithsonian Institute.

The new system, which launched many months after it was expected to, means that the museums can worry less about the actual day-to-day administration, and focus more on their primary function of presenting exhibitions and events to enrich the cultural life of the city.

In a quote in a Cape Times article, Michael Cluver, director of the South African Museum, had this to say: "The big advantage is that we will now have a critical mass and be able to draw on expertise that until now has been divided among the various museums. In addition to the pooling of resources which will make us stronger and more effective, this is an opportunity for us to re-examine our role as museums in South Africa and the route that should be followed into the next millennium."

A somewhat surprising choice for the acting chief executive of the "flagship", considering his lack of museum experience, is the urbane Colin Jones, former Anglican Dean of Cape Town and currently cultural director at the Spier wine estate. A permanent appointment has yet to be made.

Another surprise is that the Robben Island Museum is not a part of the new structure, though originally it was understood that the RIM would head up the flagship organisation. Unlike its under-funded sister museums, the Robben Island Museum has attracted massive funding as a result of its compelling history and symbolism. The speculation is that the RIM is protecting its own interests by holding itself apart.

In cyberspace, all Cape Town's museums have been linked since last year, when the website Museums Online was launched, with details of current exhibitions and activities.



A work by William Kentridge,
from the cover of the
festival booking kit

William Kentridge,
Drawing for Ulisse: Echo
At the Gallery-in-the-Round

Kim Bozaart
Silver, found object
On 'Low Lustre, High Art'

Francoinette van Rooyen
Silver, glass, enamel, peridot
On 'Low Lustre, High Art'

Grahamstown Festival preview

For the first time since the Eighties, there is no Standard Bank Young Artist Award with the accompanying exhibition on the Grahamstown Festival this year. Instead, the Monument Gallery space will be used for 'Treasures', a showcase exhibition of pieces from the Standard Bank African Art Collection. Also, there is an expansion of the artists in residence programme, with four artists setting up temporary studios in the Albany History Museum. From Zimbabwe, there is 30-year-old sculptor Dominic Benhura, from Namibia watercolourist Joseph Madisia, from Durban painter and printmaker Bronwen Findlay, and from Johannesburg mixed-media artist Deborah Bell.

The big show this year is 'Emergence', the Julia Charlton and Fiona Rankin-Smith curated overview of the last 25 years of South African art. "'Emergence' is not chronologically ordered," states the press release. "Rather, each decade is anchored by key works around which interrelated satellite groupings are positioned." Well-known artists such as Jackson Hlungwane, Penny Siopis and William Kentridge are on the show, as well as lesser-known artists such as Albert Chauke, whose work may well be new to festival audiences.

One of the giants of South African art, Gerard Sekoto, will be represented by a selection of drawings, sketches and works in colour. Curated by Joe Dolby and Alan Crump, this work has recently returned from France, the country of Sekoto's exile years, and this will be the first time the work is seen in this country.

Thematically linked to the William Kentridge/Handspring Puppet Company production of the opera The Return of Ulysses, Kentridge's installation Ulisse: Echo Scan Slide Bottle can be seen at the Gallery- in-the-Round, Monument Theatre. This remarkable three-screen projection, each with its own soundtrack, "investigates hidden but excavatable images of the inside of the human body as clues to the frailties of the spirit".

'Low Lustre, High Art' displays the art jewellery of 34 goldsmiths and jewellery designers, mainly from the Cape. There has been a relatively long tradition of studio jewellery in this country, and the number of goldsmiths who produce original work is steadily growing. Their innovative and unconventional pieces are playful, conceptual and adventurous, often incoporating such materials as latex, perspex and resin.

At the Dakawa Art Centre, Sue Williamson will be showing a series of interactive pieces entitled 'Truth Games' - a reflection on the processes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission first shown at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg last year.

The festival opens on June 29 and closes on July 11.


Lottery funds for art?

In Britain, many arts initiatives are made possible through lottery funds, and similar attractive opportunities might become available in this country - if artists and art organisations get their act together in time.

Trying to secure an appropriate share of future national lottery funds for the arts is the prime function of the National Arts and Culture Lottery Initiative. NACLI is a joint initiative by the country's three national arts and culture funding agencies - the National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC), Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) and the Arts and Culture Trust (ACT).

Since the 1994 elections, there have been no significant increases in the amounts of public and private sector funds to support the arts. Perhaps not surprisingly, basic needs like education and housing are seen as priorities. Against this background, the national lottery will probably be the single most important source of new funding for the arts and culture. However, with the lottery process quite advanced and with minimal input from the arts and culture sector to date, it is possible that this sector will receive the "Cinderella" portion of lottery funds unless it intervenes urgently and forcefully in what remains of the process. Hence the launch of NACLI.

There are currently two processes evolving. The first involves the awarding of a licence to an operator to run the National Lottery on behalf of the State. Tenders for this licence were submitted by the January deadline, and it is likely that this licence will be awarded by the end of June 1999. The operator will then have 3-6 months to launch the lottery, with the first proceeds being available for distribution to good causes by the end of 1999. The second process revolves around the appointment of "Distributing Agencies" to distribute the proceeds of the lottery for each "good cause" category, and specifically for charities (welfare), sport and recreation and for arts, culture and national heritage (including the environment).

NACLI is lobbying against having arts and culture lumped together with the environment, and is trying to achieve a share of lottery funds for arts and culture, at least equal to that for welfare charities and sport and recreation (in real terms, NACLI will lobby for at least R100-million in lottery funding for the arts and culture per annum).

For NACLI to be successful, it requires the support of as many cultural organisations and practitioners as possible. To pledge your support to NACLI, complete the form on the NACLI website, and return it to the given postal address or fax as soon as possible.

If you would like to provide further support or ideas or should you require further information, contact the founding organisations below:

BASA Business and Arts South Africa
Tel: (011) 784-9994/5; fax: 784-9996
PO Box 784481, Sandton City, Sandton, 2146
e-mail: basa@icon.co.za

NAC National Arts Council of South Africa
Tel: (011) 838-1383; fax: 838-6363
PO Box 500, Newtown, 2113

ACT Arts and Culture Trust
Tel: (021) 689-7672; fax: 689-7589
Suite 126, Private Bag X18, Rondebosch, 7701 e-mail: art27@iafrica.com



Winners of the second annual Business Day/BASA Awards

Companies making innovative and effective use of arts sponsorship were recognised at the second annual Business Day/BASA Awards for business sponsors of the arts. The awards focus on sponsorships and mutually beneficial business-arts partnerships during 1998. Although there were a number of visual arts-related nominations, like Johannesburg's Goodman Gallery, who received nominations in two categories - International Sponsorship and Sponsorship by a Small Business - almost all of the awards seemed to go to performance-related initiatives.

In the category Best Use of a Commission of New Art, which recognises those sponsors who have had the vision to support the creation of new, original work in any arts medium and to use the commission effectively, the award went to Mobile Telephone Network for the MTN Arts Programme and Institution.

The First Time Sponsor award went to the Sekunjalo Investment Group for sponsorship of performers at the Spier Festival. Increasing Access to the Arts focuses on those sponsors who have helped bring the arts to people who might not otherwise have access to them, and here the award went to Plate Glass and Shatterprufe Industries for the PGSI Field Band Foundation.

The International Sponsorship category recognises those businesses sponsoring South African arts abroad, or bringing an international arts project into South Africa, giving our public access to work it would not normally see. Vodacom won this one for The Three Sopranos.

Long Term Development - an award designed to recognise companies that have not only committed to but developed sponsorship of an arts organisation or project over 3 or more years - went to Electronic Media Network (M-Net) for M-Net's New Directions.

The category Single Project focuses on an outstanding sponsorship or a series of projects with one organisation, and had two winners - Electronic Media Network (M-Net) for the It's a Funny Country Comedy Development Programme at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees and to Standard Bank of South Africa for the Standard Bank National Jazz Circuit.

For developing a new corporate identity for Cape Town City Ballet, KSDP Design (Cape) won the Sponsorship by a Small Business award, and Cape Town-based Fine Music Radio won the Sponsorship in Kind award for creating high quality radio commercials and flighting them strategically for the Spier Festival. Strategic Sponsorship. Use of a sponsorship programme as an integral part of the sponsor's overall marketing strategy went to Sasol Limited for sponsorship of the National Symphony Orchestra and the South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation and to Unifoods for the Joko Storytelling Project.

One of the most popular areas for arts sponsorship is that which involves education and/or young people. In the category Youth Sponsorship, Anglo American Platinum Corporation and Impala Platinum Limited won for the Kaleidoscope Children's Arts Festival.

The Chairman's Premier Award for sustained excellence in sponsorship of the arts is made at the discretion of the Chairman of Business and Arts South Africa, and goes to First National Bank of Southern Africa Limited for the FNB Vita Awards system, a national programme of awards, events and exhibitions.

The judging panel included Hylton Appelbaum - Director, Liberty Life Foundation; Jenny Cargill - Managing Director, Business Map; Michael Coulson - Deputy Editor, Financial Mail; Derrick Dickens - Executive Director, Association of Marketers; Pearl Mashabela - CEO, Penta Publications; Dawn Mokhobo - Director, MBM; and Welcome Msomi - Director, Naledi. The voting process was monitored and audited by Philip Hourquebie, Managing Director of Ernst and Young.



Wrapping the world

Johannesburg is one of five cities around the world shortlisted to participate in a millennium project to be called Wrap the World. In Glasgow, in December 1999, initiator Neil Butler will thread the start of a 50 metre roll of paper into a fax machine. He will dial to another machine in New York and so start the creation of the largest artwork the world has ever known - Wrap the World - by beginning to make a drawing on to the roll.

In New York the output of the receiving fax machine will spill out across a table and become the input of a second fax machine. As it does so, a New York artist will add to Butler's drawing. The second machine will then fax the combined images to the next artist in a chain that will wrap the world. At each "station" around the world a camera will record the artist's work and the images will be sent to a wraptheworld.com website where the process can be watched on the net.

Up to eight artists will participate. As the last artist adds to Wrap the World, all will be working simultaneously on the collaborative project. This final contribution will be faxed back to Glasgow where the combined artwork will emerge from a second fax machine. The beginning of the artwork will emerge as the final section is completed.

At present, initial funding received from the Millennium Festival Fund, administered by the Glasgow City Council, will support five stations, currently shortlisted as: Glasgow, Johannesburg, Sydney, Hong Kong and New York. Additional sponsorship will allow the inclusion of a further three stations: Rio de Janeiro, Delhi, and Lisbon or Oporto. Each station will have two fax machines - programmed to receive and send a continuous roll of paper 50 metres in length - and a webcam to record and broadcast the event live via the internet to a designated website.

A shortlist of contributors is being prepared to include significant artists across the world. Recommendations have been sought from the British Council, the Arts Council, art schools and international curators.

More info: e-mail neilbutler@compuserve.com.



Sue Williamson
Cold Turkey: Stories of
Truth and Reconciliation

1996 (detail)
Mixed media

'Claiming Art/Reclaiming Space'

A first show displaying its holdings of South African contemporary art opened at the National Museum of African Art in Washington on June 20. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute, and is more generally known for its exhibitions of traditional or ethnic African art. 'Claiming Art/Reclaiming Space: Post-Apartheid Art from South Africa' represents a recognition by the museum that the face of art in Africa is changing. Paintings, prints and animated films are on exhibition, and will remain on view until September 26.

... MWeb

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