Modern African Art : A Basic Reading ListSouthern Africa
10 years, 100 artists: art in a democratic South Africa / edited by Sophie Perryer. Cape Town: Bell-Roberts Publications in association with Struik Publishers, 2004. 447pp. illus. (some color). N7392.2.A14 2004 AFA. OCLC 56956827.
Ten years after the transition to democracy in South Africa, 10 years, 100 artists appeared. This art publishing project was a collaborative and sometimes contentious process: how to choose 100 South African artists. Fifteen writers, curators, and art activists each selected ten artists, and then the back-and-forth negotiations began. The result is not a “top 100 artists,” but an almagamation of fifteen peoples’ opinions about which South African artists should be included. Among the final 100 are the well-known as well as emerging artists, black and white artists, expected names and surprises. Each artist is presented with commentary by one of the writers and reproductions of several works of art.
The 100 are: Alan Alborough, Jane Alexander, Siemon Allen, Bridget Baker, Bongi Bengu, Kim Berman, Willie Bester, Willem Boshoff, Conrad Botes, Andries Botha, Wim Botha, Kevin Brand, Candice Breitz, Lisa Brice, Jean Brundrit, Pitso Chinzima, Peter Clarke, Steven Cohen, Marlene Dumas, Zamaxolo Dunywa, Paul Edmunds, Garth Erasmus, Ângela Ferreira, Rookeya Gardee, Kendell Geers, David Goldblatt, Thembinkosi Goniwe, Frances Goodman, Kay Hassan, Matthew Hindley, Sipho Hlati, Nicholas Hlobo, Stephen Hobbs, Robert Hodgins, Fanie Jason, Sfiso Ka Mkame, Alison Kearney, William Kentridge, Sharlene Khan, Nkosinathi Khanyile, David Koloane, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Terry Kurgan, Moshekwa Langa, Brenton Maart, Noria Mabasa, Churchill Madikida, Langa Magwa, Zamani Makhanya, Mustafa Maluka, Thando Mama, Senzeni Marasela, Zen Marie, Colbert Mashile, Kagiso Pat Mautloa, Samson Mnisi, Santu Mofokeng, Samson Mudzunga, Thomas Mulcaire, Brett Murray, Christian Nerf, Gabisile Ngcobo, Sam Nhlengethwa, Gabisile Nkosi, Vuyisa Nyamende, Sophie Peters, Johannes Phokela, Thabiso Phokompe, Cameron Platter, Thembeka Qangule, Jo Ractliffe, Robin Rhode, Colin Richards, Tracey Rose, Roderick Sauls, Claudette Schreuders, Peter Schütz, Berni Searle, Usha Seejarim, Durant Sihlali, Penny Siopis, Dinkies Sithole, Kathryn Smith, Mgcineni Sobopha, Doreen Southwood, Greg Streak, Guy Tillim, The Trinity Session, Andrew Tshabangu, Clive van den Berg, Hentie van der Merwe, Minnette Vári, Nontiskelelo Veleko, Diane Victor, Jeremy Wafer, Ernestine White, Sue Williamson, Nhlanhla Xaba, Ed Young, and Sandile Zulu.
Reviewed by Kim Gurney in Art South Africa (Cape Town) 3 (2) summer 2004, pages 11-13; by Melanie Hillebrand in De arte (Pretoria) 71, April 2005, pages 76-79; by Roger Kershaw in African book publishing record (Oxford) 32 (4) 2006, page 318
A labour of love: Kunst aus Südafrika: die 80er jetzt / Weltkulturen Museum; edited by Yvette Mutumba and Gabi Ngcobo. Bielefeld: Kerber, 2016. 317pp. illus. (color), portraits, bibl. refs. N7392.L33 2016 AFA. OCLC 933212277.
"A Labour of Love" offers a new look at contemporary South African art in the 1980s. The Weltkulturen Museum (Museum of World Cultures) in Frankfurt had, prior to the Wind of Change speech and the culmination of the negotiations to end the apartheid system, already collected 600 artworks by exclusively black South African and nowadays famous artists such as John Muafangejo, David Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa, Azaria Mbatha and Peter Clarke. This publication contains, alongside recently discovered works by young South African artists, new essays by international art specialists, interviews with artists, previously unpublished archival material, and more than 300 illustrations of artworks.
Alexander, Lucy and Evelyn Cohen. 150 South African paintings: past and present. Cape Town: Struikhof, 1990. 180pp. illus. (color), bibliog. glossary. ND1092.A376 1990 AFA. OCLC 22721516.
"What is a South African artist?" is the opening question posed by the authors. This is neither the first nor the last time that that question arises in South Africa, but Alexander and Cohen offer their own definition. Elements of European painting traditions, such as the sublime or the picturesque, are found in early South African painting. The uniquely South African landscape -- Table Mountain, the Karoo, the highveld -- features prominently. The quest to portray black people in traditional clothing and settings is another recurring theme defining South African painting. The nationalistic art movement in the interwar years was replaced by self-conscious moves away from what came to be seen as provincialism. For many white artists, European art training and travels shaped their interpretation of the South African experience. In recent times, the painters' quest for a South African identity has intensified. And indeed the nature of South African painting has shifted and broadened, as more and more black artists entered the arena.
Opening this panorama of painting with a tribute to the original South African painters, the San rock artists, the viewer is quickly brought forward several millenia to Francois Le Vaillant in the eighteenth century. The selection of 150 paintings by Alexander and Cohen, though inevitably subjective, does try to present a healthy cross section of South African canvasses right up to the present. For each color plate, they give some background on the artist and some commentary on the work itself. Most of the paintings illustrated are from public South African collections. Glossary.
Reviewed by Amanda Jephson, "Paint and popular texture: making South African art accessible," ADA: art, design, architecture (Cape Town) no. 9: 58, 1990/1991.
Ardmore: an African discovery / by Gillian Scott; photographs by Anthony Bannister and Kathleen Comfort. Vlaeberg, South Africa: Fernwood Press, 1998. 79pp. Illus. (color). NK4210.A684S38 1998X AFA. OCLC 41618272.
Ardmore Ceramic Art Studio in rural KwaZulu-Natal was established by ceramicist Fée Halsted-Berning in 1985. Her studio assistant Bonnie Ntshalintshali, born in 1967, soon became her artistic partner, and in 1990 the two shared the Standard Bank Young Artist Award. Ntshalintshali became the star of Ardmore with her fanciful, colorful glazed ceramic sculptures, which are showcased in this book. In 1993, she exhibited work in the Venice Biennale. Success led to the expansion of Ardmore, which now engages several dozen ceramicists both men and women, who make highly decorated functional ceramic ware as well as sculptures. The history and growth of Ardmore are documented in this well-illustrated book. Ntshalintshali died of AIDS in 1999 after this book was published.
Arnold, Marion I. Women and art in South Africa. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996; Cape Town: David Philip, 1996. x, 186pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. (pp. 178183). N7392.A77 1996X AFA. OCLC 35318603.
Feminist perspectives are long overdue in South African art history. The histories of women artists need to be retrieved, and the meanings behind images of women need to be revealed. In a series of essays, Arnold tackles these gender-based topics, first examining pre-twentieth century women artists and the depictions of women in South Africa by artists of both genders. Landscape painting and botanical art, areas that attracted women artists, are discussed in separate essays. "Portrait of servitude" examines depictions of women as servants. The painter Irma Stern (1894-1966) is the focus of another esay, and women's self-portraits, yet another -- with reference to Maggie Laubser (1884-1973), Maud Sumner (1902-1985), and Dorothy Kay (1886-1964).
Moving to the more recent period, Arnold critiques the work of sculptors and their depictions of the body, with particular reference to Wilma Cruise (1945- ) and Jane Alexander (1959- ). Feminist perspectives overflow in a final essay on modern women artists active in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s: Penny Siopis (1953- ), Pippa Skotnes (1957- ), Sue Williamson (1941- ), Reshada Crouse (1953- ), Sandra Kriel (1952- ), Helen Sebidi (1943- ), Allina Ndebele (1939- ), Noria Mabasa (1938- ), Margaret Vorster (1953- ), and Philippa Hobbs (1955- ).
Art and justice: the art of the Constitutional Court of South Africa / photography by Ben Law-Viljoen. Parkwood, South Africa: David Krut, 2008. 203pp. illus. (pt. color). N8846.S6A77 2008 AFA. OCLC 297162559.
The art collection of the Constitutional Court of South Africa reflects how artistic vision, human rights and the workings of justice can come together aesthetically, architecturally in the spirit of reconciliation and unity. The art is integrated fully into the concept and architectural design of this most uncourt-like building, housed on the ground of South Africa’s notorious Old Fort Prison in Johannesburg. The moving spirit behind this art project is Justice Albie Sachs. And this book represents the complete visual documentation of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Art from South Africa. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art: London: distributed by Thames and Hudson, 1990. 95pp. illus. (pt. color). N7392.A784 1990 AFA. OCLC 23088898.
"Art from South Africa," the exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, kicked up a dust storm of controversy even before it opened in June 1990. This was not unexpected, as shown by some of the essays in the catalog. It brought onto a new stage some of the debates that had been raging already in South Africa. Controversies about the role of art in the political struggle, cultural appropriation, pluralism and domination, "transitional" art, all dealt with in essays in this catalog, remain unresolved. The exhibition attempted to be non-racial, showing works by artists from South Africa's different communities. Sixty-four artists are represented. The show later traveled "home" to South Africa.
Exhibition reviewed by John Picton in African arts (Los Angeles) 24 (3): 83-86, July 1991; by Pat Williams, "A hard-won place in the sun," Independent (South Africa) February 24, 1991, page 16; by Neville Dubow, "A picture of SA's polyglot art," Weekly mail (Johannesburg) July 3-6, 1992, page 22.
Reviewed by Nevill Dubow, "The Babel of South African art," Weekly mail (Johannesburg) January 10-16, 1992, pages 21-22.
Art routes: a guide to South African art collections / edited by Rayda Becker and Rochelle Keene. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 2000. viii, 248pp. illus. (color). N3810.S6A78 2000X AFA. OCLC 47081493.
Art routes is a directory of the major public art museums in South Africa, arranged by province. Highlights from each museum are illustrated. Many of the selections are works of living South African artists. There is an index to the artists. For each museum listed, the background of the collections is given along with contact details, open hours, and facilities.
Reviewed by Nessa Leibhammer in De arte (Pretoria) 64, September 2001, pages 96-100.
Berman, Esmé. Art & artists of South Africa: an illustrated biographical dictionary and historical survey of painters, sculptors and graphic artists since 1875. New enlarged edition. Cape Town: A. A. Balkema, 1983. xviii, 545pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. N7392.B47 1983X AFA. OCLC 11031114.
Berman's dictionary of South African art, first published in 1970, has become the standard reference book on the subject, though like any reference book, it will become dated and stand as an historical marker. The vast majority of artists, art movements, organizations, training centers treated by Berman refer to the white art establishment, although not exclusively so by any means. Entries for individual artists who merit consideration include basic biographical data, list of major exhibitions and public collections, and a summary of the artist's life and work, with illustrations. Appendices cover chronology of major exhibitions with participating artists and a list of South African artists exhibiting professionally since 1900.
Berman, Esmé. Painting in South Africa. Johannesburg: Southern Book Publishers, 1993. xxiv, 395pp., 99pp. of color plates. illus. (pt. color). ND1092.B49 1993 AFA. OCLC 31200286.
Painting in South Africa is a radically revised and repackaged version of Berman's 1975 The story of South African painting. It remains, as Berman states, a survey and "an outline of the sources, sequences and developments that have been significant [in South African painting], and a glimpse of the most prominent and influential careers and styles" (author's preface). The story begins in the nineteenth century and is carried forward chronologically to the present, told within the local South African context but related also to international movements and trends. White painters predominate, as painting was their preserve until recent decades. South African reality is accurately mirrored here, but a fair balance is struck in portraying latter-day developments. Certain painters are singled out along the way for their particular contributions, a roll call of major players. Among them: Hugo Naudé, J. H. Pierneef, Maggie Laubser, Irma Stern, Gregoire Boonzaier, Gerard Sekoto, Jean Welz, Walter Battiss, Alexis Preller, Larry Scully, Cecil Skotnes, Cecily Sash, Louis Khehla Maqhubela, William Kentridge, Malcolm Payne, Penelope Siopis, Karel Nel, Helen Sebidi, and Norman Catherine.
Between Union and liberation: women artists in South Africa 1910-1994 / edited by Marion I. Arnold. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005. xv, 230pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliogs. N7395.6B47 2005 AFA. OCLC 55665461.
Ten essays covering South African women’s art in the 20th century, including crafts. Contents include: Visual culture in context : the implications of union and liberation / Marion Arnold -- Florence Phillips, patronage and the arts at the time of union / Jillian Carman -- European modernism and African domicile : women painters and the search for identity / Marion Arnold -- Constance Stuart Larrabee's photographs of the Ndzundza
Ndebele : performance and history beyond the modernist frame / Brenda Danilowitz -- Art, gender ideology and Afrikaner nationalism - a case study / Liese van der Watt -- Technologies and transformations : baskets, women and change in twentieth-century KwaZulu-Natal / Nessa Leibhammer -- Breaking the mould : women ceramists in KwaZulu-Natal / Wilma Cruise -- On pins and needles : gender politics and embroidery projects before the first democratic election / Brenda Schmahmann -- Narratives of migration in the works of Noria Mabasa and Mmakgabo Sebidi / Jacqueline Nolte -- Representing regulation - rendering resistance : female bodies in the art of Penny Siopis / Brenda Schmahmann.
Reviewed by Shannen Hill in African arts (Los Angeles) 42 (2) summer 2009, page 90; by Jeanne van Eeden in De arte (Pretoria) 73, 2006, pages 59-63.
Botschaften aus Südafrika: Kunst und künstlerische Produktion schwarzer Künstler / text by Minika Stötzel; foreword by Josef Franz Thiel. Frankfurt am Main: Museum für Völkerkunde, 1987. 156pp. illus. (Roter Faden zur Ausstellung, 11). N7392.B74 1987 AFA. OCLC 22436326.
The Museum für Völkerkunde in Frankfurt has in recent years shown a commitment to collecting and exhibiting modern art from outside Europe. This 1987 show which focused on art from South Africa, mainly from the 1970s and 1980s, included works by Hamilton Budaza, Peter Clarke, Smart Gumede, Austin Hleza, David Koloane, Billy Mandindi, Kagiso Mauthoa, Azaria Mbatha, Derrick Mdanda, P. David Mogano, George Msimango, Sam Nhlengethwa, Dan Rakgoathe, Sydney Selepe, Cyprian Shilakoe, Lucky Sibiya, Durant Sihlali, Tanki and Ephraim Ziqubu. Two other artists are showcased separately: Namibian John Muafangejo and South African Vuminkosi Zulu. In her text, Stötzel tries to place these artists and their work within the context of contemporary South Africa.
Brett Kebble Art Awards (2nd : 2004 : Cape Town, South Africa). The Brett Kebble Art Awards 2004. Cape Town: Marulelo Communications, 2004. 299pp. illus. (color). N7393.B75 2004 AFA. OCLC 57532703.
South African businessman Brett Kebble was murdered in 2005, two years after establishing the Brett Kebble Art Awards (BKAA), intended to showcase the best and brightest of South African artists. This second BKAA had over 2,000 submissions of which only 11% were finally selected for competition. The BKAA afforded an opportunity for emerging and less well known artists to gain exposure. The BKAA, which covered all artistic media with no size restrictions, was a juried competition in addition to which there was a selection committee which screened all the entries. The selected entries are published in this catalog along with a statement about the work by each artist. Clive van den Berg served as chief curator.
Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Public Library. Black South African contemporary graphics; [exhibition held March 25-May 16, 1976] / introduction by Sylvia Williams. New York: Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Public Library, 1976. 64pp. illus., bibliog. NE788.6.S6B87 AFA. OCLC 3479561.
Featured artists in this 1976 Brooklyn exhibition included Azaria Mbatha, Eric Mbatha, John Muafangejo, Dan Rakgoathe, Cyprian Shilakoe, Vuminkosi Zulu, Judes Mahlangu, Linda Nolutshungu and Caiphas Nxumalo. All were trained or worked at Rorke's Drift Art and Craft Center, well known for graphic arts instruction. The fifty-eight works illustrated are linocuts and etchings. Williams categorizes five themes in this group of graphics: love, birth, maturation and sexual consciousness; social protest of the human condition; psychological states -- the power of fear, silence, lonliness and despair; death; and hope for regeneration.
Cape Town Triennial (1982). Cape Town Triennial 1982 = Kaapstadse Trienniale 1982. [Cape Town]: Rembrandy van Rijn Art Foundation, . pp. illus. (pt. color). Text in English and Afrikaans. N7392.C23 1982 AFA. OCLC 31418432.
The Cape Town Triennial is intended "to bring together the best contemporary art being produced" in South Africa. Sixty-nine artists were represented at this first Cape Town Triennial; they are selected by local panels of judges from five regional centers: Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Kimberley. The gold medal went to Karel Nel; the silver, to Annette Pretorius; and the bronze, to John Clarke. The exhibition was held at the South African National Gallery and other venues in South Africa between September 15, 1982 and November 6, 1983.
Cape Town Triennial (1988). Cape Town Triennial 1988. Cape Town: Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation for the Cape Town Triennial, 1988. 75pp. illus. (pt. color). N7392.C23 1988 AFA. OCLC 19256767.
The Cape Town Triennial is a nationwide art competition in South Africa whose works go on tour in several exhibitions around the country. This third triennial selected eighty-five works with four winners who were exhibited at the South African National Gallery and other venues in South Africa between September 28, 1988 and January 7, 1990. Although this event is organized and funded by the white art establishment, there were ten black artists represented in 1988: Jackson Hlungwane, Noria Mabasa, Sfiso Mkame, Saint Mokoena, Tommy Motswai, Bonie Ntshalinshali, Derrick Nxumalo, Helen Sebidi, Mashego Segogela, and Tito Zungu.
Cape Town Triennial (1991). Kaapstadse Triënnial 1991 = Cape Town Triennial 1991 / introduction by Elza Miles; foreword by Christopher Till. Cape Town: Kunsstigting Rembrandt van Rijn, . 115pp. illus. (pt. color). Text in Afrikaans and English. N7392.C23 1991 AFA. OCLC 25328621.
The grand winner of the 1991 Cape Town Triennial was William Kentridge, and the three merit awards went to Willie Bester, Sandra Kriel and Russell Scott. They were chosen from a field of 137 artists, whose work made the final cut of six regional panels of jurors. As South Africa's most prestigious national exhibition, the Triennial carries in its wake great interest and controversy alike. Efforts to democratize and broaden the selection and evaluation of artists resulted in a greater diversity than evident in previous Triennials, but one might say that the Triennial itself in is a process of evolution. The selection of regional jurors has also been opened up and given freer reign, as we see by their published comments on the Triennial process. Elza Miles in her introduction highlights some of the outstanding and original art works in the 1991 Triennial. All 147 works in the exhibition are illustrated.
Exhibition reviewed by Christopher Till, "Melting pot's diffused focus," New nation (Johannesburg) May 8-14, 1992, page 23; by Judy Kukard, "Works of violence, decay...and hope," Southside (Cape Town) October 10-16, 1991, page 10; by Muffin Stevens, "Divergent art to expand definitions," South African arts calendar = Suid-Afrikaanse kunskalender (Pretoria) 17 (2): 22-23, 1992. See also Marilyn Martin, "Herhalings asook veranderings: Kaapstadse Tríënnale 1991," [Cape Town Triennial, 1991]. South African arts calender = Suid-Afrikaanse kunskalender (Pretoria: South African Association of Arts) 16 (3): 4-5, 1991.
For a critique of the skewed historical "package" of national art exhibitions, such as the 1985 "Tributaries" (see below) or the Cape Town Triennials, see T. H. King, "Tributaries and the Triennial: two South African art exhibitions," Critical arts (Johannesburg) 5 (3): 39-57, 1991. King addresses issues of selection criteria for exhibitions, access or lack of access, self-serving publicity and media attention versus real art criticism, and goals of sponsorship.
Coexistence: contemporary cultural production in South Africa / Pamela Allara, Marilyn Martin, and Zola Mtshiza. Waltham, MA: Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, 2003. 92pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. (page 92). N7392.2.A452003 AFA. OCLC 52206313.
The Coexistence exhibition project is a collaborative enterprise between the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and the Art Division of the Iziko Museums of Cape Town. Its goal is “to analyze the role of cultural production in the socioeconomic transformation of [South Africa’s] evolving culture” in the post-Apartheid period. Essays by curators, artists, art critics from South Africa and the American curator Pamela Allara explore the political, economic, and social aspects of South African art since 1990. The artworks exhibited are almost all from 1995 to the present, representing a wide range of art production and artists.
Reviewed by Carol Boram-Hays in African arts (Los Angeles) 38 (1) spring 2005, pages 90-91. Exhibition reviewed by Sandra Klopper ijn ArtSouthAfrica (Cape Town) 2 (2) summer 2003, pages 58-60.
Collector's guide to art and artists in South Africa: the visual journey into the thoughts, emotions, and minds of 558 artists / compiled by Tai Collard. Claremont, South Africa: Twenty Two Press, South African Institute of Artists and Designers, 1998. 205pp. illus. (color). N7392.C65 1998X AFA. OCLC 44750884.
For each of the 558 artists listed in this directory, there is a condensed biography comprised of a brief statement by the artist, a reproduction of one work of art (occasionally more, sometimes none), a minuscule face portrait, birth date, preferred medium, education, group exhibition (very abbreviated), and most usefully, contact information. The majority of artists listed are painters. Only living artists are included. Artists living outside South African are excluded. Coverage is not comprehensive and there are some surprising omissions (e.g., Jane Alexander, David Koloane, Sue Williamson, Sophie Peters, Pippa Skotnes, to name a few).
Colours: Kunst aus Sudafrika / Katalogredaktion, Alfons Hug, Sabine Vogel. Berlin: Haus der Kulturen der Welt: Ars Nicolai, 1996. 190pp. illus. (chiefly color), bibl. refs. Text in German. qN7392.C65 1996 AFA. OCLC 36717722.
This large South African art exhibition held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, May-August 1996, features works of thirty-six artists. The theme of "Colors" (as in "rainbow nation") was a celebration of the New South Africa emerging from apartheid and in the wake of the 1994 transition of power. The exhibition was a European venue for the South African component of the 1995 Johannesburg Biennale, "Africus." The artworks spread across the spectrum -- sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, photographs, collages, and mixed media. All are illustrated. Biodata on the artists is included.
Included in the catalog are eight essays and contributions that provide the background and context: Colours / by Alfons Hug -- Die falsche Farbe / by Sabine Vogel -- Kunst und Kunstlersein in Sudafrika--einst und jetzt: Bongi Dhlomo-Mautloa im Gesprach mit Sabine Vogel -- Bild und Text : Vergangenheit und Zukunft in der sudafriken Kunst / by Andries Walter Oliphant -- Vom Werden : die Kunste des Moglichen / by Jane Taylor -- Die Perversitat meiner Geburt--die Geburt meiner Perversitat -- Kendell Geers -- Koloniale Gedachtniskunst / by Ivor Powell -- Die Regenbogennation--Identitat und Wandel / by Marilyn Martin.
Common and uncommon ground: South African art to Atlanta, April 12-June 7, 1996 / essay by Steven Sack, curator. Atlanta: City Gallery East, 1996. 48pp. illus. (color). N7392.C66 1996 AFA. OCLC 47079471.
South African Art to Atlanta was a bridge-building project conceived in 1993 by organizers Susan Woolf in South Africa and Eddie Granderson in Atlanta. Steven Sack, engaged as curator, assembled a multi-faceted exhibition comprised of professional artists, workshops artists, art projects and photo documentation of "People's Parks." The illustrated catalog Common and uncommon ground is the record of this collaborative art venture between the city of Atlanta and South Africa. It includes brief biographies of the artists and one or a few works each. All media are represented – painting, sculpture, mixed media, prints, installations, and photography.
Contemporary African photography from The Walther Collection: appropriated landscapes / edited by Corinne Diserens. Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2011. 406pp. illus. (some color). TR115.C66 2011 AFA. OCLC 730413767
This weighty tome was published on the occasion of an exhibition held at The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, June 11, 2011- May 13, 2012. It featured works by Jane Alexander, Mitch Epstein, Angela Ferreira, Peter Friedl, David Goldblatt, Christine Meisner, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, Zanele Muholi, Jo Ractliffe, Penny Siopis, Mikhael Subotzky / Patrick Waterhouse and Guy Tillim.
Contents: Some Afrikaners, Bantustans, In Boksburg, Structures, Soweto, and Joburg, 1952-2009 / David Goldblatt -- Chasing shadows, appropriated spaces, landscapes, billboards, townships, Bloemhof, and train church / Santu Bofokeng -- The present-- "--luminous with another than a professional light"/ "--'Can you turn back?'" and Landscape and fate / Christine Meisner -- American power, 2004-2008 / Mitch Epstein -- African adventure : Cape of Good Hope, 1999-2000 / Jane Alexander -- Landscapes 2002-2009 / David Goldblatt -- Obscure white messenger / Penny Siopis -- Country girls and At home / Sabelo Mlangeni -- The power of naming / Zanele Muholi -- Drive by shooting and early works / Jo Ractliffe -- King Kong / Peter Friedl -- Avenue Patrice Lumumba / Guy Tillim -- Maison Tropicale and Political Camers (For Mozambique series) / Ângela Ferreira -- Jo'burg / Guy Tillim -- Ponte City / Mikhael Subotzky/Patrick Waterhouse -- Terreno Ocupado and As Terras do Fim do Mundo / Jo Ractliffe -- Artists' portraits.
Contemporary South African art: the Gencor collection / edited by Kendell Geers. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball Publishers, 1997. 168pp. illus. (color), bibliog. (pp. 165-166). N7392.2.C66 1997X AFA. OCLC 37843149.
In 1994 the Gencor corporation engaged South African artist and art critic Kendell Geers to develop its corporate collection of modern South African art for its new corporate headquarters in Johannesburg. Rather than acquire a random selection of art works, a central theme was chosen: the transition from the old to the new South Africa. The works acquired and commissioned are decidedly modern and predominantly political in content; most date to the 1980s and 1990s. In this published catalog of the Gencor collection, there are eleven essays by experts on various aspects of modern South African art. Contributors are: Kendall Geers, Lesley Spiro, Mark Pencharz, Elizabeth Rankin, Okwui Enwezor, Colin Richards, Elza Miles, Julia Charlton, Olu Oguibe, Marilyn Martin, and Ashraf Jamal.
Reviewed by Anthea Bristowe in Nka: journal of contemporary African art (Ithaca, NY) no. 8: 64, spring-summer 1998.
Cross, cross currents: contemporary art practice in South Africa, an exhibition in two parts; Atkinson Gallery, Millfield School, June to September 2000 / edited by John Picton and Jennifer Law. Street, Somerset, England: Atkinson Gallery, Millfield School, 2000. 120pp. illus. (color), bibliog. (page 60). N7392.C698 2000 AFA. OCLC 46928157.
South African art of the last two decades of the twentieth century was spawned by and reflects the final throes of apartheid and the early years of the Rainbow Nation. This transition out of apartheid remains a rocky road despite the euphoria of the birth of the New South Africa in 1994. Nation-building in heterogeneous, democratic South Africa is the backdrop for this large two-part exhibition held in the summer of 2000 in England. Diversity is the operative impulse both for curatorial choices and artistic intent.
The artists represented are Bill Ainslie, Beezie Bailey, Deborah Bell, Willie Bester, Willem Boshoff, Breyten Breytenbach, Lisa Brice, Marlene Dumas, Garth Erasmus, Leora Farber, Dumile Feni, Craig Hamilton, Kay Hassan, Jackson Hlungwani, Robert Hodgins, David Koloane, Dumisane Mbabso, Billy Mandindi, Chabane Manganyi, Louis Maqhubela, Johannes Maswanganyi, Kagiso Pat Mauthloa, Walter Meyer, Titus Moteyane, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Karel Nel, Albert Netshidzati, Sam Nhlengethwa, Johannes Phokela, Thabiso Phokompe, Phillip Rikhotso, Claudette Schreuders, Helen Sebidi, Phuthuma (Phatuma) Seoka, Durant Sihlali, Penny Siopis, Paul Tavhana, Dominic Tshabangu, and Sandile Zulu.
Included in this catalog are introductory essays by co-curators John Picton and Jennifer Law, and several other short essays by artists, art historians and critics, which together the provide history and context for contemporary South African art.
Reviewed (the catalog and the exhibition) by Mario Pissarra, "Cross currents: contemporary art practice in South Africa," Third text: critical perspectives on contemporary art and culture (London) 52: 95-102, autumn 2000.
De Jager, E. J. "Contemporary African sculpture in South Africa," Fort Hare papers (Fort Hare, South Africa) 6 (6): 421-458, September 1978. illus., bibliog. (p. 456). AS611.G6X AFA.
Contemporary black South African artists are part of what de Jager calls "neo-African art," meaning that their art retains the "essence" of traditional art forms but also strikes out in new directions. Black South African sculptors do not have, after all, the great sculptural traditions to draw upon, as do those sculptors from Western and Central Africa. Their art is a humanistic, people-centered art; it also expresses an awareness of urban life. Sculptors work mainly in wood (it is cheap and available), and they draw upon three sources: folklore, Christianity and daily life. Stylistically, their work is characterized as "African Expressionism." De Jager introduces ten sculptors with biographical information and comments on the work of each. They are: Michael Zondi (1926- ), Sydney Kumalo (1935- ), Ezrom Legae (1938- ), Lucas Sithole (1931-1994), Eric Ngcobo (1933-1987), Solomon Sedibane (1933- ), Stanley Nkosi (1945- ), Dumile (1939-1991), Cyprian Shilakoe (1946-1972), and Solomon Maphiri (1945- ). Brief mention is made of the Polly Street Centre and Ndaleni Art School. Twenty works (by some of the above and others) are illustrated.
De Jager, E. J. Art, artist and society: a social-historical perspective on contemporary South African black art. Mafikeng, Bophuthatswana: Institute of African Studies, University of Bophuthatswana, 1990. 31pp. (Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje memorial lecture, 18th October 1990. [not in AFA Library]. OCLC 27337237.
Art may be viewed aesthetically through the language of art criticism and art appreciation. Or it may be viewed through the socio-historical perspective of the artists and their society. Both approaches are valid. De Jager elects the latter approach in considering black South African artists and what he calls their "expressive culture." How have the particular historical realities of South Africa -- apartheid, township life -- shaped and defined black artistic expression over the past sixty years?
Three phases are apparent in the history of contemporary black art. The early pioneering artists and the few art centers available to blacks (Polly Street, Rorke's Drift) form the history of the period from the 1930s through the 1950s. By the 1960s a new Township Art movement had coalesced to define two more decades. By the 1980s yet a new stage was reached, one still in process of unfolding. The black art scene today in South Africa is witnessing many new, younger artists, including women, the emergence of an informal art sector, artists exploring non-figurative art styles, the growth of "transitional" art, the proliferation of urban mural art, the intensification of protest and resistance art, and the organization of black artists into associations and centers, such as FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists) or CAP (Community Arts Project) in Cape Town. The chasm between black artists and white artists still exists, but it is being bridged.
De Jager, E. J. Contemporary African art in South Africa. Cape Town: C. Struik, 1973. 31pp., 128 plates. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. N7392.D4X AFA. OCLC 830033.
This was the first attempt to publish a substantial book on black South African artists. Although De Jager makes no claims to authority or art scholarship, he clearly felt a calling to begin the process of visual documentation. And this he has accomplished: a first step.
In his essay "Contemporary African art in South Africa" (pp. 17-31), he paints the peculiar South African backdrop against which these emerging artists must be seen, and he collectively attributes their artistic style to "humanisitic figurative expressionism." Within this encompassing stylistic category, he explores the content and themes of individual artists, highlighting several of the outstanding exemplars. The main part of the book is given over to illustrations. The majority of the works are from the University of Fort Hare collection.
A portion of De Jager's text appeared earlier in the article" Contemporary African art in South Africa," Zeitschrift für Ethnologie (Braunschweig) 96 (heft 2): 137-144, 1971.
Reviewed by John Povey in African arts (Los Angeles) 8 (2): 72-73, winter 1975.
De Jager, E. J. Images of man: contemporary South African black art and artists. Alice, Republic of Ciskei: Fort Hare University Press in association with the Fort Hare Foundation, 1992. , 220pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. N7392.D32 1992 AFA. OCLC 26617819.
The University of Fort Hare began collecting contemporary art of black South African artists in 1964, and consequently has one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of its kind in South Africa or anywhere. Using works from that collection, De Jager surveys twentieth-century black South African artists, according to a mixed schema of chronology, schools and movements, and media. All of the major artists are represented along with some less well-known ones. There are chapters on the five pioneer painters, on the township art movement, on Rorke's Drift, and on the sculptors. The art works are reproduced in color.
Decade of democracy: witnessing South Africa / edited by Gary van Wyk. Boston: South African Development Fund, 2004. 82pp. illus. (color). N7392.2.D433 2004 AFA. OCLC 56472189.
The tenth anniversary of South African’s new democracy was celebrated internationally with several art exhibitions in 2004. This exhibition was held at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. Five essays and eight “perspectives” by scholars, critics, and artists provide the context and political-cultural environment for the art work exhibited. Twenty mostly younger artists (in their 30s) are featured.
Reviewed by Michael Herbst in ArtSouthAfrica (Cape Town) 3 (2) summer 2004, pages 86-87. Exhibition reviewed by Sandra Klopper in ArtSouthAfrica (Cape Town) 2 (4) winter 2004, pages 68-69.
Directory of South African contemporary art. volume 1: Painting 1997/1998 / introduction by Benita Munitz. Stanford, South Africa: Contemporary Arts Publishers in association with Africus Institute for Contemporary Art, 1997. 170, pp. illus. (color). N55.S6D574 AFA. OCLC 39244637.
This directory of South African painters includes those who could pay for space or get sponsors to do so. As such, it is limited primarily to white South Africans. The impetus behind the publication of this directory (the first of three planned volumes) is that artists should take the initiative to promote themselves and not rely on the vagaries of the art market and chance contacts. It is also propelled by a desire on the part of many of those represented to be liberated from the stranglehold of de rigeur political art. There are, after all, South African artists doing non-political art. Also included are gallery ads, a select listing of galleries, artists' studios and other art-related businesses, and an address list of South African painters.
Directory of southern African contemporary art practices. Volume 2: Ceramics, sculpture and works of art 1998/1999 / edited by Jean Campbell. Stanford, South Africa: Contemporary Arts Publishers, 1998. 175pp. illus. (color). N7395.6.D57 1998 volume 2 AFA. OCLC 42643173.
An effort to publicize contemporary South African art, this second volume of the directory lists more than 100 artists, the majority of whom (to judge by their names) are white artists. It also includes art galleries and dealers in South Africa. There are nice color illustrations showing one example of each artist’s work. The directory is oddly and unhelpfully arranged, neither alphabetically nor regionally, but rather randomly. Moreover, although its title indicates "ceramics, sculpture," most of the art work illustrated is painting ("works of art 1998/1999"). It does have biodata and contact information on some artists, but not all. There is a section on Zimbabwe stone sculptors supplied by Chapungu Sculpture Park in Harare.
Echoes of African art: a century of art in South Africa / compiled and introduced by Matsemela Manaka; foreword by Eskia Mphahlele. Braamfontein: Skotaville, 1987. 111pp. chiefly illus. (pt. color) (Skotaville graphic series, no. 2). qN7392.E18 1987 AFA. OCLC 17634113.
Although Manaka covers traditional South African art, his main interest in this work is the documentation of contemporary sculptors, painters and graphic artists. Chiefly illustrated, it contains many new and lesser known artists (as well as some of the older ones, such as Sekoto, Sithole, Dumile and Bhengu) who are working in the 1980s and who are strongly shaped by Black Consciousness. South African artists in exile are the most overtly political in their work.
The sculptors work more frequently in wood or clay than in metal because of availability and cost. Painters and graphic artists are found more often in the urban areas ("township art") and are more clearly Western-influenced than rural artists.
Reviewed by Brenda Danilowitz in African arts (Los Angeles) 21 (4): 84-85, August 1988; by Jacques Alvarez-Pereyre in Third world quarterly (London) 11 (3): 263-266, 1988; by Anitra Nettleton in South African journal of cultural and art history (Pretoria) 3 (3): 287-290, July 1989; by Andries Walter Oliphant in Staffrider (Braamfontein) 7 (1): 92-96, 1988; by Frieda Harmsen in South African journal of cultural and art history (Pretoria) 3 (3): 284-286, July 1989; by Amanda Jephson and Nicolaas Vergunst, "Imijondolo: black and white in gold," ADA: art, design, architecture (Cape Town) no. 6: 46, ; by J. L. F. in Africana news and notes (Johannesburg) 28 (6): 245, June 1989.
Engaging modernities: transformations of the commonplace: Standard Bank collection of African art (University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries). Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries, 2003. 92pp. illus. (color). N7391.65.E54 2003 AFA. OCLC 52781892.
The engaged “modernities” are new forms-old media, new media-old forms, or some combination of novelty and originality of material and imagery. Colon figures, beaded jackets, objets of recupération, angels videotaping, AIDs wire baskets, dance staffs in the form of guns, barbershop signs, and test-tube necklaces – all engage modernity in some way. This collection belongs to the Standard Bank Collection of African Art, at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Reviewed by Sandra Klopper in De Arte (Pretoria) no. 69, 2004, pages 107-109.
Garb, Tamar. Figures and fictions: contemporary South African photography. Göttingen, Germany: Steidi; London: V&A Publishing, 2011. 312pp. illus. (some color), bibliog. (pp. 77-85). TR119.S6G37 2011 AFA. OCLC 701807119.
This catalog was published to coincide with the exhibition Figures & fictions: contemporary South African photography in the Porter Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, curated by Tamar Garb and Martin Barnes, 12 April - 17 July, 2011. It presents images, with a focus on figural photography, produced between 2000 and 2010 by seventeen South African photographers: David Goldblatt, Santu Mofokeng, Guy Tillim, Pieter Hugo, Zwelethu Methethwa, Berni Searle, Jodi Bieber, Terry Kurgan, Zanele Muholi, Hassan and Husain Essop, Roelof van Wyk, Graeme Williams, Kudzanai Chiurai, Sabelo Mlangeni, Jo Ractliffe, Mikhael Subotzky, and Nontsikelelo Veleko. Tamar Garb’s essay offers a broad sweep of figural photography in South Africa as the background for the 21st century photos in this catalog.
Grundy, Kenneth W. "Cultural policy in South Africa: an inconclusive transformation," African studies review (Atlanta) 39 (1): 1-24, April 1996. bibliog. (pp. 23-24). DT1.A1A26 AFA. OCLC 01461411.
Includes discussion of the struggle of South African artists, cultural workers, and the art establishment during the transition from the apartheid to the post-apartheid periods. Also includes discussion of the African National Congress' Department of Arts and Culture, the Albie Sachs controversy, the National Arts Coalition, and other art groups.
Hobbs, Philippa and Elizabeth Rankin. Printmaking in a transforming South Africa. Cape Town: David Philip, 1997. ix, 204pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. (pp. 126-127). NE788.S6H62 1997X AFA. OCLC 38238931.
Printmaking in South Africa has been a medium of choice for artists across the color line. It serves those who lack access to well-equipped studios (usually black artists) as well as those who are better placed. Printmaking, however, has been overshadowed by painting and other fine arts media. This book by printmaker Hobbs and art historian Rankin is meant to redress this imbalance. Their approach is by print technique: relief, intaglio, planographic, stencil, mixed media and computer-generated. They highlight artists who are exploring each technique. The seventy-eight prints illustrated are all recent work, mainly from the 1990s, so this is not an historical look at South African printmaking. Includes "Register of South African printmakers" (pp. 128-137).
Hobbs, Philippa and Elizabeth Rankin. Rorke’s Drift: empowering prints. Cape Town: Double Storey, 2003. xv, 242pp. illus. (pt. color). NE788.6.S6H63 2003 AFA. OCLC 52126695.
The E.L.C. Art and Craft Centre, commonly known as Rorke’s Drift, nurtured a generation of social and politically astute artists who managed to survive under the shadow of apartheid in South Africa. Started in the early 1960s by two art-minded, agnostic Swedish hippies, Peder and Ulla Gowenius, Rorke’s Drift was not the missionary enterprise as commonly believed, even though it was under the umbrella of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) and operated within their precincts.
There are really two Rorke’s Drifts: the crafts workshops and the Fine Art School. The idea for arts training emerged from initial efforts of art-making as occupational therapy at the hospital at Ceza in 1962. Weaving of tapestries and printmaking were begun at first to train people to work in other hospitals in occupational therapy. Art as income-generating enterprise became a secondary, but increasingly important motivation. Azaria Mbatha, as a hospital patient, was one of the first to receive instruction at Ceza. He later was sent on scholarship to Sweden, and became a teacher at Rorke’s Drift. His preferred medium – linocut with black figures on white background – became the most popular medium of students at Rorke’s Drift and is widely (but incorrectly) thought of as the Rorke’s Drift style. Allina Ndebele, a hospital employee, also was an early student-teacher at Rorke’s Drift in the tapestry workshops. The linocut print designs were used by women tapestry weavers. The sale of tapestries in turn helped fund the Fine Art School. But gradually the workshop side of Rorke’s Drift was superceded by the Fine Art School, which was almost entirely male students, although the proceeds from tapestries sales funded the school.
In 1963 the Goweniuses moved to mission property at Rorke’s Drift, distancing themselves from the Lutheran affiliation and oversight, while not severing all ties. The idea of establishing a Fine Art School at Rorke’s Drift to complement the craft workshops germinated in 1968. Among the first students taken in 1968 were Dan Rakgoathe, Cyprian Shilakoe, and John Muafangejo. The Goweniuses were replaced by other Swedish art teachers, including Ola Granath, Otto Lundblom and Malin Lundblom, Jules and Ada van der Vijer, Keith van Winkel, and Americans Carroll Ellerton and Jay Johnson. Despite its solid reputation at home and abroad, the Rorke’s Drift Fine Art School had persistent financial, staffing and equipping problems, which ultimately led to temporarily closing the school in 1982, a closure that became permanent.
Stylistically, Rorke’s Drift prints are much more varied than generally thought. Different printing techniques, such as intaglio and screen printing, produced quite different prints in “look and feel.” But even among the linocut relief prints, style, perspective, and content varied. Peder Gowenius always believed in the social value and democratic nature of prints, and his activist philosophy pervaded Rorke’s Drift long after he departed. Thematically, too, Rorke’s Drift prints exhibit a diversity beyond the Christian narratives of Mbatha and Muafangejo. Social critique, Zulu identity, gender issues, political struggle, all show up in the prints. But even the Biblical prints could have “forbidden mesages,” as Gowenius realized. The graduates carried the spirit of Rorke’s Drift’s “empowering prints” into the struggle of the final decade of apartheid.
See also the special issue of Art talk (Sandton, South Africa) 4 (1) 2003, which is devoted to the history of Rorke’s Drift, the new book and related exhibition.
Reviewed by Pippa Skotnes in De Arte (Pretoria) no. 69, 2004, pages 92-94; by Leora Maltz in African arts (Los Angeles) 37 (2) summer 2004, pages 88-90; by Alex Dodd in Sunday independent (Johannesburg) July 27, 2003, page 18.
Huntley, Merle. Art in outline. volume 1: An introduction to South African art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. 182pp. illus. (pt. color), bibl. refs. N278.6.S6H95 1992 AFA. OCLC 30093004.
Learning how to appreciate art can be fun, as this lively textbook sets out to show. The context is South African art with much emphasis on the recent periods. Modern Western-style art fills two central chapters of Huntley's book: "Western art comes to southern Africa" and "The melting pot," in which she weaves a swift-flowing, never dull narrative of art trends, influences, and artistic intention. Many artists are brought into the well-illustrated discussion. Other sections of the book deal with older art traditions, including Eastern art influences, and architecture.
Reviewed by Frieda Harmsen in De arte (Pretoria) no. 47: 41-43, April 1993.
Images of defiance: South African resistance posters of the 1980's / the Poster Book Collective, South African History Archive. Johannesburg: Raven Press, 1991. ix, 181pp. chiefly illus. (color). DT1963.I46 1991X AFA. OCLC 26188033.
Posters have been very much part of the struggle in South Africa. Even publishing this poster book, which documents some of those produced under the broad umbrella of the ANC, would have been impossible a few years ago. Community, even underground, workshops provided venues for the cultural workers, who made the posters in less than ideal circumstances. See especially the introductory essay "Making posters in South Africa" (pp. 2-9). From exile in Botswana, the Medu Art Ensemble also created posters for distribution within South Africa.
The collection on which this book is based is that of the South African History Archive (SAHA). Through their foresight in collecting these posters, an important cultural-artistic component of the struggle against apartheid has been preserved. The 320 posters illustrated here in color are a selection from the two thousand owned by SAHA; they are presented in six broad categories by theme: politics, labor, community, education, militarization & repression, and culture.
Incroci del sud: arte contemporanea del Sudafrica: mostra collaterale con il patrocinio della XLV Biennale di Venezia 1993, giugno-dicembre 1993 = Affinities: contemporary South African art: collateral exhibition under the patronage of the XLV Venice Biennial 1993, June-December 1993; [exhibition Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, Venice, 1993]. Roma: Ambasciata del Sudafrica, 1993. 95pp. illus. (color). Text in Italian and English. N7392.I37 1993 AFA. OCLC 29018574.
South Africa rejoined the international art community through its official participation at the Venice Biennale in 1993. The twenty-seven artists, shown at three separate venues, were drawn from all segments of South Africa's multicultural society and were selected on the curatorial premise of "affinities" between the various communities of artists, black and white. At the Giardini di Castello, two artists were featured: Jackson Hlungwane and Sandra Kriel. Ceramic sculptor Bonnie Ntshalintshali showed separately. At the main venue: Willie Bester, Andries Botha, Norman Catherine, Keith Dietrich, Kendell Geers, Philippa Hobbs, Sfiso Ka Mkame, William Kentridge, David Koloane, Noria Mabasa, Trevor Makhoba, Johannes Maswanganyi, Tommy Motswai, Karel Nel, Tony Nkotsi, Malcolm Payne, Joachim Schönfeldt, Helen Sebidi, Mashego Segogela, Penny Siopis, Pippa Skotnes, Willem Strydom, Sue Williamson, and Tito Zungu.
See also the commentary by Mary Angela Schroth inAfrica e Mediterraneo: cultura e società (Bologne) 1 (6) no. 55, agosto 2006, pages 50-51.
Iziko Museums of Cape Town. A decade of democracy: South African art, 1994-2004: from the permanent collection of Iziko: South African National Gallery / edited by Emma Bedford. Cape Town: Double Storey Books; Cape Town: Iziko Museums of Cape Town, 2004. ix, 149pp. illus (pt. color), bibliog. (pp. 138-141). N7392.I95 2004 AFA. OCLC 56592662.
The first decade of democracy in the new South Africa spawned several art exhibitions and international celebrations. A decade of democracy is the major such exhibition in South Africa itself. It showcases the collections of the South African National Gallery, now part of the Iziko Museums of Cape Town. The art works, all created since 1994, represent a broad range of artists and media, black and white, local and expatriate. Many big name South African artists are represented as are several less well known, emerging artists. A dozen essays by curators, critics and artists provide a focused look at a cross-section of artistic production.
Reviewed by Michael Herbst in ArtSouthAfrica (Cape Town) 3 (2) summer 2004, pages 86-87. Exhibition reviewed by Ivor Powell in ArtSouthAfrica (Cape Town) 2 (4) winter 2004, pages 62-64.
Jephson, Amanda Anne. Aspects of twentieth century black South African art, up to 1980. M.A. thesis, Faculty of Fine Art and Architecture, University of Cape Town, 1989. 2 volumes. [volume 1, viii, 239 leaves; volume 2, plates]. illus., maps, bibliog. [unpublished]. N7392.J54 1989a AFA. OCLC 22883587.
Urban art of black South African artists flows from two streams of influence: Western-style art schools in South Africa and rural art forms and styles of South African blacks, notably figurative wood carving and mural painting. The evolution of modern art in South Africa is not unrelated to what occurred elsewhere on the continent, namely the decline of older art forms, the emergence of new popular forms, and the introduction of art schools and workshops as missionary enterprises or as academic programs. This comparative background is dealt with by Jephson in chapter 1. In the second chapter, she treats at length the rural art forms of figurative wood carving (Tsonga, Venda, Pedi, and Lovedu) and mural painting (Southern Sotho, Ndebele and Xhosa).
The beginning of urban black art is traced to four artists who are characterized as transitional figures: John Koenakeefe Mohl (1906-1985), Gerard Benghu (1910- ), George Pemba (1912- ), and Gerard Sekoto (1913-1993). All four of these artists developed and worked independently. Products of rural environments and mission schools, none had much formal art training.
The two principal art centers that became focal points for black South African artists and which are key to understanding the real emergence of urban art are the Polly Street Art Centre in Johannesburg and Rorke's Drift Art Centre, a missionary enterprise in KwaZulu (see chapter 3). These were the training grounds for the artists who came to the fore in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, and it is this group of artists who are at the heart of Jephson's thesis. In the fourth (and central) chapter, she discusses the work of fifteen artists working in four media: sculpture, painting, drawing/mixed media, and printmaking. They are Sydney Kumalo, Lucas Sithole, Ezrom Legae, Gladys Mgudlandlu, Ephraim Ngatane, Louis Maqhubela, Leonard Matsosa, Tshidiso Andrew Motjuoadi, Mslaba Dumile, Tito Zungu, Azaria Mbatha, Daniel Rakgoathe, Lucky Sibiya, Cyprian Shilakoe, and John Muafangejo.
Volume 2 contains all plates.
Joburg Art Fair (1st : 2008 : Johannesburg, South Africa). Joburg Art Fair: directory / presented by First National Bank. Johannebsurg: Artlogic, 2008. 175, 79pp. illus. (pt. color). N7393.J633 2008 AFA. OCLC 229890762.
The Joburg Art Fair launched its first platform in 2008 with the goal of showcasing contemporary African art and attracting international buyers and sellers. Little surprise that South African galleries and South African artists were most prominently represented, but there were 22 galleries from seven countries present. The flipside was an exhibition curated by the indefatigable Simon Njami, which largely featured African artists in the diaspora. Curators, critics, gallerists, and artists participated in a collective Q & A, reflecting on the Joburg Art Fair.
Joburg Art Fair (2nd : 2009 : Johannesburg, South Africa). Joburg Art Fair / presented by FNB. Johannesburg: Artlogic, 2009. 337pp. illus. (chiefly color). N7393.J63 2009 AFA, OCLC 318100646.
The second annual installment of the Joburg Art Fair boasted “400 artists; 25 galleries; 12 special projects,” all presented in this catalog. It represents South Africa’s effort to position itself as the magnet for 21st century African art on the continent, particularly the market side as this is a commercial art fair. The 2009 Joburg Art Fair featured more non South African artists than in 2008, and this is the desired trajectory. The catalog itself is impressive, except for the stiff cardboard binding that makes it almost impossible to open.
Joburg Art Fair (3rd : 2010 : Johannesburg, South Africa). Joburg Art Fair catalogue 2010. Johannesburg: Artlogic, 2010. 197pp. illus. (chiefly color). N7393.J63 2010 AFA. OCLC 609784506.
Joburg Art Fair enters its third year optimistic if battered by the downturn in the art market. Seventeen South African galleries set up shop; six from abroad, the common thread being African artists. There were eight special projects featuring South African artists, designers, filmmakers, and workshops.
Kennedy, Jean. "South African artists speak for the voiceless," pp. 171-183. In: New currents, ancient rivers: contemporary African artists in a generation of change. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992. illus., bibl. refs. (pp. 192-193). N7391.65.K46 1992X AFA. OCLC 22389510.
South African "townships" are the crucible in which the art of black artists was forged, especially in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s. Making art, and indeed living life itself, was like walking on a tightrope. Death came early for Julian Motau (1948-1968), Winston Saoli (1950-died in prison), and Cyprien Shilakoe (1946-1972). Exile was a way out for others -- Louis Maqhubela (1939- ), Dumile Feni (1939-1991), and Gavin Jantjes (1948- ). Some endured and persevered at home -- Michael Zondi (1926- ), Lucas Sithole (1931-1994), Sydney Kumalo (1935-1988), Vumikosi Zulu (1947- ), John Muafangejo (1943-1987), Tito Zungu (1946- ).
Koloane, David Nthubu, 1938- "Moments in art," pp. 140-157, 316. In: Seven stories about modern art in Africa / organized by the Whitechapel Art Gallery; concept and general editor, Clémentine Deliss. Paris; New York: Flammarion, 1995. illus. (color)., bibl. refs. (page 316). N7380.5.S49 1995 AFA. OCLC 33663281.
David Koloane, as invited curator to represent South Africa at the Whitechapel Art Gallery's "Seven Stories" exhibition, is expected to tell the South African story from an insider's perspective. The political realities of apartheid defined art production for both black and white artists, both in the limits it imposed and the stimulus it provided. This essay by Koloane sketches out his conception of this uniquely South African story. It reads, however, like an outline rather than the fully realized essay, which should have been published here.
Koloane, David Nthubu, 1938- "The Polly Street art scene," pp. 211-229. In: African art in Southern Africa: from tradition to township / edited by Anitra Nettleton and David Hammond-Tooke. Johannesburg: Ad. Donker, 1989. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. (page 252). N7391.7.A25 1989b AFA. OCLC 22501798.
Community art centers in South African townships have been (and still are today) the primary venues for teaching art to black youth. Among them, the Polly Street Art Centre in Johannesburg stands as the premier and certainly the most renowned of these informal art schools. Founded in 1948 -- the year after Gerard Sekoto left South Africa for Paris -- Polly Street Art Centre became a training ground for many of the talented black artists whose names are familiar today -- Durant Sihlali, Louis Maqhubela, Sydney Kumalo, Ezekiel Segola, and Louis Sithole. The philosophy of teaching art adopted by Cecil Skotnes (who became director in 1953) was that formal instruction should be set aside in favor of spontaneous creativity -- a philosophy that became a sore point with some of the artists, who felt that some grounding in principles of art was essential. In the 1960s the Centre moved to new quarters and was called Jubilee Centre, and in 1980 was renamed Mofolo Art Centre. Although some of these artists had commercial success in the white art galleries and enjoyed the patronage of whites, this was an exploitative, patronizing and ultimately limiting development -- a situation still unresolved.
Liberated voices: contemporary art from South Africa / edited by Frank Herreman, assisted by Mark D'Amato. New York: The Museum for African Art; Munich; New York: Prestel, 1999. 190pp. illus. (color), bibliog. (pp. 185-188). qN7392.L53 1999 AFA. OCLC 43035759.
Can South African artists, black and white, learn to live without the enemy? Now that apartheid is history, how are artists confronting, challenging, and critiquing "post-apartheidism"? "Liberated Voices" explores that question with works of nine artists created between 1994 and 1999 - - the first five years of the New South Africa. Featured artists include Brett Murray, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Mbongeni Richman Buthelezi, Penny Siopis, Samson Mnisi, Thabiso Phokompe, Bridget Baker, Sandile Zulu, and Claudette Schreuders. For each artist, there is an essay by a critic or other artist; in two cases, the artists speak for themselves.
Commentaries on the recent South African past, artistic expression then and now, and "where do we go from her" are provided by poet Mongane Wally Serote, artist David Koloane, artist Sue Williamson, curator Mark D'Amato, critic Andries Oliphant, and anthropologist Kristine Roome.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Rankin in De arte (Pretoria) 64, September 2001, pages 89-95.
Lissoos, Sheree. Johannesburg art and artists: selections from a century. Johannesburg: Johannesburg Art Gallery, 1986. 96pp., 12pp. of plates. illus. (pt. color), notes, bibliog. qN7395.J65L77 1986 AFA. OCLC 19254834.
Marking the centenary of the city of Johannesburg and the 75th anniversary of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, a major retrospective exhibition of Johannesburg artists was mounted in 1986. The first part of this catalog features pioneer artists, those active between 1886 and 1939. It includes an historical essay on the growth of art institutions in Johannesburg during this period, notably the Johannesburg Art Gallery itself. Two prominent Johannesburg artists -- painter Willem Hermanus Coetzer (1900-1983) and sculptor Anthonie Van Wouw (1862-1945) -- are featured in a separate section. The third section focuses on the art centers of the 1950s and 1960s, including the Wits Group (associated with the fine arts department of the University of the Witwatersrand), the Amadlozi Group under the guidance of Egon Guenther (which included Sidney Kumalo), and the Polly Street Art Centre.
A succession of now well-known black artists passed through Polly Street Art Centre or taught there. Founded in 1948, it did not hold its first exhibition until 1955. Cecil Skotnes, appointed in 1952 as Cultural Officer, oversaw what can be seen, certainly in retrospect, as a vital artistic program for black artists. Sidney Kumalo was one of its most illustrious art teachers. In the 1960s Polly Street Art Centre closed; the program shifted to the Jubilee Social Centre. The latter-day spiritual successor to these early undertakings is the art center operated by FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists).
Luggage is still labeled: blackness in South African art / a film by Vuyile C. Voyiya and Julie L. McGee. [South Africa]: Vuyile C. Voyiya and Julie L. McGee, 2003. 60 minutes. sound color DVD format. Features PAL and NTSC standards on alternate sides of the disc. video 000574 AFA. OCLC 52761698
For South African artists of color the demise of apartheid did not radically change access or attitudes. Separateness and difference still divide the contemporary art world into black and white. Black artists are beginning to take on some of these issues - - access, recognition, education. Despite initiatives such as Vakalisa ("Awake"), the Community Arts Project, or BLAC art project, South African artists of color are still disadvantaged. Formal art education, which was not available to artists of color in the apartheid days, remains an elitist enterprise with little collegial support. Michaelis School of Art in Cape Town has not yet shaken off its institutional racism in terms of student intake, faculty recruitment, or Eurocentric curriculum. Art criticism is similarly biased against artists of color. Old paradigms persist, e.g., "township art" or "black art." Artists are still pigeon-holed. Freedom of artistic expression has not really arrived. Where are the black art critics?
The South African National Gallery (SANG), formidable, unwelcoming, admits to huge gaps in its collections. Artists of color perceive SANG as another white bastion not yet breached. They feel that SANG is not interested in them and their work.
To explore these issues of race and access the filmmakers conducted interviews with several South African artists and players on the art scene. Among those on camera are Peter E. Clarke, Garth Erasmus, Thembinkosi Goniwe, Zayd Minty, Gavin Younge, David Koloane, Mgcineni Sobopha, Berni Searle, Lallitha Jawahirilal, Gabisile Ngcobo, Moshekwa Langa, Graham Faulken, Marilyn Martin, the director of SANG, and writer Lionel Davis.
Martin, Marilyn. "Is there a place for black abstract painters in South Africa," De arte (Pretoria) 44: 25-39, September 1991. illus. (color), notes, bibliog. qN8.A34A78 AFA.
One of the many artistic ghettos to which black South African artists are confined is the one labeled Figurative and Narrative Painting. To break out of this ghetto into the garden of abstraction, as a few have tried (David Koloane and Louis Maqhubela, for example), is to invite total ostracism and to be roundly criticized. The Thupelo Art Project is a dramatic case in point. There are many reasons why figurative and narrative work predominates among black South African painters, but, Martin argues, abstraction as a stylistic choice should not be off limits for anyone, black or white.
Memory and magic: contemporary art of the !Xun & Khwe / edited by Hella Rabbethge-Schiller. Johannesburg, South Africa: Jacana Media, 2006. 114pp. illus. (color), bibl. refs. N7391.7.M46 2006 AFA. OCLC 69309959.
The !Xun & Khwe Cultural Project, founded in 1993 in Northern Cape of South Africa, offered a haven to San people from Angola and Namibia, displaced by years of warfare. The Project worked with these self-taught artists in a therapeutic context. Their paintings and prints draw on oral tradition and mythology, but also memory and modernity. The exhibition “Memory and Magic” and this catalog feature eleven artists with biographies and selections of their art works.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Rankin in De arte (Pretoria) 75, 2007, pages 76-79.
Messages and meaning: the MTN Art Collection / edited by Philippa Hobbs. Johannesburg: MTN Foundation; David Krut Publishing, 2006. 301pp. illus. (pt. color). N5208.S62M76 2006 AFA. OCLC 71364429.
The art collection of MTN [Mobile Telephone Networks] is scarcely a decade in the making, yet has almost 1,400 artworks and a full-time curator, Philippa Hobbs. Site-specific works have also been commissioned for the new MTN headquarters in Johannesburg. In this book, the MTN collection is introduced and illustrated with essays by eleven specialists in particular areas of the collection. Although contemporary art predominates, the art team sought to build the depth and breadth of the collection by acquiring traditional African art from South Africa and from other African countries, and artworks from earlier periods in South Africa, including posters from the liberation struggle.
Originally intended to “decorate” the new headquarters, the resulting installation generated some opposition among MTN employees who either did not like the works or felt the collection was being built at the expense of their bonuses and salary increased.
Reviewed by Brenda Schmahmann in De Arte (Pretoria, South Africa) 75, 2007, pages 83-85.
Exhibition of the MTN collection was reviewed by Gisele Turner in Rootz Africa (Roggebaai, South Africa) 25, 2007, page 76.
Messages and meaning: the MTN Art Collection / edited by Philippa Hobbs. Johannesburg: MTN Foundation: David Krut Publishing, 2006. 301pp. illus. (some color). N5208.S62M76 2006 AFA. OCLC 71364429.
Miles, Elza. Land and lives: a story of early black artists. Cape Town: Human and Rousseau; Johannesburg: Johannesburg Art Gallery, 1997. 191pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. OCLC 39485472. N7395.6.M55 1997X AFA. OCLC 39485472.
Elza Miles, South African art historian, is helping to rescue unsung black South African artists through her research and writing. Her earlier book on Ernest Mancoba was a Noma Award Honorable Mention title in 1995 (Lifeline out of Africa), and she has also written a book on another black artist, Selby Mvusi. The present book, Land and lives, is more ambitious in scope; it presents forty-seven black South African artists (plus the work of a few anonymous artists) all born before 1930 (the criterion for inclusion). Her research grew out of a 1993 exhibition of six of the better known pioneering artists, during which she uncovered material on several "abandoned artists" and began documenting this broader history. The culmination of the effort is this book and a corresponding 1997 exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery (an exhibition checklist of 144 works is included). Land and lives is more than an exhibition catalog, however. It will remain as a text on the subject long after the show closes. Although several of the forty-seven artists are familiar names -- Gerard Sekoto, Job Kekana, Peter Clarke, Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba, Gladys Mgudlandlu -- most are not household names, even in South Africa. In comparing Land and lives with the landmark exhibition catalog The neglected tradition (1988), it is fair to note that there is some overlap of artists covered. However, the scope of The neglected tradition being much broader, it treats the early artists less completely than Miles does in Land and lives.
Land and lives is essentially a biographical encyclopedia. The individual essays on each artist vary in length -- some run to several pages; others only a couple of paragraphs. Miles has tried to uncover as much as possible on each and to include at least one illustration of an artwork (usually more).
Miles is careful to point out the dramatic impact that access (or lack of access) to art education and mentoring had on these South African artists. In fact, the primary criterion around which she organized the book is just that -- the schooled and the unschooled. The predominant theme of the study is that these artists, both schooled and unschooled, took up art-making and continued to create despite the obstacles placed in their paths by apartheid, by poverty, by lack of opportunities for training, by overly protective/patronizing or "visually illiterate" mentors.
In the first of two sections, Miles treats those artists who lacked formal training and who remained relatively isolated throughout their lives. These early artists were not without mentors, and they did occasionally have their work exhibited in shows of "native arts and crafts." The artists discussed in the second section ("Emerging independence," she calls it) all had benefit of some post-secondary education or tutelage with other artists. In most cases, they had exposure to original art works and art books, which broadened their horizons. A few studied abroad. Although Miles' organizing device of schooled and unschooled is occasionally blurry (e.g., some "emerging independent" artists did not actually have formal art training), it is certainly one way of presenting the material. Others might argue that the art itself (rather than the background and training of the artist) is a more valid way of viewing art history. Still others might argue that the dialogue between artist and audience/mentors is the truest way to read art history. The role of mentors is itself a fascinating angle, because mentors are the leitmotif throughout these stories. As Miles draws the distinction, the untrained artists' work "seems to comply with the wishes of well-meaning mentors who were often visually illiterate and upheld the notion that art should be imitative. These artsist were required to make art that appeared natural and was often illustrative" -- (preface). By contrast, the independent artists were presumably much freer in their artistic expression.
Miles makes no claim to having done an exhaustive study. Other early artists will no doubt come to light -- for some reason, she does not include Jackson Hlungwane (ca. 1923- ), though he is mentioned in passing -- and more information on the lives and careers of the present artists is waiting to be discovered. Many of the artists are still alive or have family and colleagues still alive, so the task is far from complete. Miles herself interviewed many in the course of research. Ever modest about her goals, Miles' "homage" to the artists certainly builds a solid foundation, and future researchers will invariably refer back to this publication.
Reviewed by M. A. Nolte, "Finally, recognition for African art," Weekend Argus Saturday Books (Cape Town) February 7-8, 1998, page 17.
Miles, Elza. Polly Street: the story of an African art centre. Johannesburg: Ampersand Foundation, 2005. 166pp. illus. (color). N333.S683J645 2004 AFA. OCLC 57389839.
The Polly Street art center figures prominently in the history of black South African art, but there are lots of mis-perceptions and mis-information about the real story. Elza Miles seeks to set the record straight. The result is a rich and satisfying narrative that re-ignites the vitality and struggle of this Johannesburg art center from its founding in 1949 to the 1980s. In 1960 the art center moved from Polly Street to Jubilee Centre in Eloff Street, and in 1969 it moved again (squeezed out by anti-black legislation) to Mofolo Art Centre. Many of South Africa’s now revered black artists taught or studied art at Polly Street/Jubilee Centre/Mofolo Art Centre: Sydney Kumalo, Ephraim Ngatane, Louis Maqhubela, Ezrom Legae, Durant Sihlali, Dumile Feni, and Dan Rakgoathe, among others.
The book is generously illustrated with color reproductions of art works produced by Polly Street artists and archival photographs of students, teachers, and art studios. Cecil Skotnes is the teacher most closely associated with Polly Street - - and he was indeed a seminal figure - - but there were many others. The art students executed several commissions for churches, including murals, mosaics, sculpture and statuary, and they sometimes explored religious themes in their own more personal work. But secular themes, addressing social and political issues, are as strongly present in their work as are purely expressive works that have nothing to do with apartheid. Miles’ story ends in 1981 with the retrospective exhibition “Black Art Today,” which was the culmination of thirty years of Polly Street/Jubilee/Mofolo art center.
Reviewed by Lize van Robbroeck in De arte (Pretoria) 73, 2006, pages, 56-58; by Ivor Powell in ArtSouthAfrica (Cape Town) 3 (4) winter 2005, pages 86-87.
Modern palimpsest: envisioning South African modernity / written by Lisa Allan [and others]. Johannesburg: Graham’s Fine Art Gallery, 2008. 187pp. illus. (color). N7392.M634 2008 AFA. OCLC 269452736.
The modern palimpsest is a book for art collectors, compiled by Graham’s Fine Art Gallery. As such it serves as a reference guide to South Africa’s modern and contemporary artists who have attained some threshold of name recognition and collectability. Of the 32 artists included, most were born before World War II. Emphasis is on painters.
Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.). Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to now: prints from the Museum of Modern Art / curated by Judith B. Hecker. New York, NY: Museum of Modern Art, 2011. 93pp. illus. (some color). NE788.6.S6M87 2011 AFA. OCLC 692287491.
This catalog was published in conjunction with an exhibition held March 23-August 14, 2011, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. MOMA explores the culture of South African prints before and after the demise of apartheid. All the prints exhibited are from MOMA’s collection. The earliest is an Azaria Mbatha print (1965) acquired in 1967. Most of the prints, however, were acquired since 2005 and represent the major art workshops, collectives, and print studios of South Africa, historically speaking.
Ndaleni Art School: a retrospective. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Tatham Art Gallery, 1999. 111pp. illus., bibl. refs. N333.S6N33 1999 AFA. OCLC 54311700.
Ndaleni Art School was one the pioneering initiatives to provide art training to black South African artists from the 1950s to 1981. Located in KwaZulu-Natal, Ndaleni was primarily an art teacher training school , though a few well known artists came out of Ndaleni, such as Dan Rakgoathe and Paul Sibisi. This catalog accompanied an exhibition at the Tatham Art Gallery that covers the history of Ndaleni, its curriculum, students, and teachers.
Neglected tradition: towards a new history of South African art (1930-1988) ; Johannesburg Art Gallery, 23 November 1988-8 January 1989 / guest curator: Steven Sack. Johannesburg: Johannesburg Art Gallery, 1988. 155pp. illus (pt. color), bibliog. (pp. 135-153). qN7392.N38 1988 AFA. OCLC 19747702 [and] The neglected tradition: towards a new history of South African art (19301988), Johannesburg Art Gallery, 23 November 19888 January 1989 / guest curator, Steven Sack
Steven Sack has put together a ground-breaking retrospective exhibition of black South African artists whose catalog, The neglected tradition, stands as a major, perhaps the first significant book on the subject. The exhibition was notable not only because it was the first time a large public art gallery in South Africa had devoted such serious attention to black artists, but, more importantly, because it and the catalog lay the scholarly foundation for the study of these artists. Sack and his collaborators have amassed a tremendous amount of biographical and bibliographical data on one hundred artists, which serves as the essential reference source on the subject. His text presents an historical survey covering: The Pioneers, the Polly Street era, Rorke's Drift Art and Craft Centre, the New Generation, and New Generation Sculpture. The photographs, while not of outstanding quality and most, sadly, in black and white, offer a wealth of visual information.
Reviewed by Brenda Danilowitz in African arts (Los Angeles) 23 (2): 94-96, April 1990.; J. L. F. in Africana notes and news (Johannesburg) 28 (8): 331, December 1989; Anitra Nettleton in South African journal of cultural and art history (Pretoria) 3 (3): 287-290, July 1989; Frieda Harmsen in South African journal of cultural and art history (Pretoria) 3 (3): 284-286, July 1989.
Exhibition reviewed by Joyce Ozynski in South African journal of cultural and art history (Pretoria) 3 (3): 276-284, July 1989.
Ogilvie, Grania with Carol Graff. The dictionary of South African painters and sculptors, including Namibia. Johannesburg: Everard Read, 1988. xvii, 799pp., pp. of plates. illus. (color), bibliog. N7395.6.O34 1988 AFA. OCLC 20185364.
This monumental effort to document 1,800 painters, sculptors and graphic artists of South Africa and Namibia stands as a major reference book on modern southern African art. Based on questionnaires to artists and extensive archival and library research, the compilers highlight the artists' careers, listing public collections where their works are represented, and provide bibliographic references for further research on any particular artist. The criteria for inclusion, the methodology, and the format are clearly spelled out in the introduction. An extensive bibliography (pp. 773-781) and a list of gallery, museums and other useful addresses are appended.
Reviewed by Brenda Schmahmann in South African journal of cultural and art history (Pretoria) 3 (3): 290-292, July 1989.
Panoramas of passage: changing landscapes of South Africa. Washington, DC: Meridian International Center; Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries, 1995. 121pp. illus. (pt. color), maps. N7392.P36 1995 AFA. OCLC 34713121.
South African landscape is the theme of this traveling exhibition planned on the eve of the transition to democracy to introduce South African art to American audiences. Landscape is a persistent and complex subject in South African art, just as land itself is a contentious issue in South African politics. Curator Clive van den Berg selected an eclectic group of artworks from nineteenth and twentieth century artists to develop the idea of landscape -- as place, as memory, as metaphor.
In the catalog the works are not presented chronologically, but rather alphabetically by artist, which creates unsettling juxtapositions of serene vistas and claustraphobic townships, of Voortrekkers on the veld and forces removals, of frontiers and states of emergency. For some artworks, the artists comment. The sole catalog essay by Elizabeth Delmont and Jessica Dubow ("Thinking through landscape: colonial spaces and their legacies") gives a one-sided perspective on contested territories and the imagination: that of the white South African. On the changing landscapes of the late twentieth century, there is no explication.
Peffer, John. Art and the end of apartheid. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 2009. xxii, 339pp., 8 pp. of plates, illus. (pt. color), bibliog. (pp. 281-324). N7392.2.P44 2009 AFA. OCLC 268957332.
The art of resistance in South Africa dating from the imposition of the Nationalist government in 1948 until the democratic multi-racial elections in 1994 was increasingly political, polemical, and defiant. Peffer explores the Apartheid era artistic practice with case studies of individual artists, among who are Thami Mnyele, Ezrom Legae, David Koloane, Pat Mautloa, Madi Phala, Wayne Barker, and Durant Sihlali (to whom an entire chapter is devoted). The struggle for liberation is the inevitable meta-narrative and the Cold War, the backdrop.
Contents: Grey areas and the space of modern black art -- Becoming animal: the tortured body during Apartheid -- Culture and resistance: activist art and the rhetoric of commitment -- Here comes mello-yello: image, violence, and play after Soweto -- Abstraction and community: liberating art during the states of emergency -- These guys are heavy: alternative forms of commitment -- Resurfacing: the art of Durant Sihlali -- Censorship and iconoclasm: overturning Apartheid's monuments -- Shadows: a short history of photography in South Africa.
Reviewed by Amanda du Preez in De arte (Pretoria) 82, 2010, pages 93-94.
Personal affects: power and poetics in contemporary South African art. New York: Museum for African Art; Cape Town: Spier, 2004. 2 volumes. illus. (color). OCLC 60885010. N7392.P47 2004 AFA.
New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the unlikely setting of this exhibition of South African art, celebrating South Africa’s ten years of democracy in 2004. Yet the setting may be completely appropriate as a testament to South Africa’s extraordinary political and social transformation. Seventeen artists and an international curatorial team put together “Personal Affects,” which comprised site-specific works chosen by the artists. There is a second New York venue, the Museum for African Art, which offered a white-box alternative to the Gothic cathedral. Then there was a Cape Town showing as well. Okwui Enwezor, Liese van der Watt and Steven Nelson provide opening essays. The participating artists are: Jane Alexander, Wim Botha, Steven Cohen, Churchill Madikida, Mustafa Maluka, Thando Mama, Samson Mudzunga, Jay Pather, Johannes Phokela, Robin Rhode, Claudette Schreuders, Berni Searle, Clive van den Berg, Minnette Vári, Diane Victor, and Sandile Zulu. In the first volume, the artists are interviewed by Tracy Murinik. The second volume illustrates the installations at St. John the Divine.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Corr in African arts (Los Angeles) 38 (4) winter 2005, page 8. Exhibition reviewed by Gerhard Schoeman in ArtSouthAfrica (Cape Town) 3 (2) summer 2004, pages 54-57; by Sean O'Toole in Business day art supplement (Johannesburg) December 2004, page 22.
Plessis, Antoinette du. "The Cape Town Triennial: a phenomenon of the Eighties," De arte (Pretoria) 45: 15-24, April 1992. notes, bibliog. (page 24). qN8.A34A78 AFA.
The 1991 Cape Town Triennial was the last and most controversial of the four that were held (1982, 1985, 1988 and 1991). Intended as one of South Africa's most prestigious art exhibitions, the Triennials became a vortex of controversy, drawing in and spewing out more and more acrimony and protestations (as well as praises). In the end the sponsor, the Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation, had had enough and withdrew support. What went wrong?
Du Plessis offers a dispassionate post mortem on the Cape Town Triennials in which she considers the processes of selection and rejection of artists, the opening up to black artists, the changing composition of jury panels, the prize money, the role of the sponsor, and ultimately the increasingly volatile socio-political environment in South Africa within which this story unfolds.
For more opinions on the Cape Town Triennial, the final eruption, see "Special Feature: the 1991 Triennial," De arte (Pretoria) 45: 24-48, April 1992. illus. qN8.A34A78 AFA.
That the Cape Town Triennials drew such fire and aroused such heated debate are not necessarily to be deplored. Art-making and exhibiting should elicit viewer response and stimulate discussion. Even before the Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation withdrew its support, the editors of De Arte had invited a host of commentators to offer their views on the issues surrounding this national South African art exhibition -- issues of selection criteria, quality of works, and even of the role of national competitions within a rapidly evolving arts scene.
Included here are contributions by Dick Leigh, Neville Dubow, Wilma Cruise, Alexander Podlashuc, John Sampson, Sally Thompson, Marilyn Martin, Elza Miles, Linda Givon, Kim Siebert and Zirk van den Berg.
Rankin, Elizabeth L. "Black artists, white patrons: the cross-cultural art market in rural South Africa," Africa insight (Pretoria) 20 (1): 33-39, 1990. illus (pt. color), notes, bibl. refs. HC800.S727 AFA.
The commercialization of Ndebele beadwork is only one of many examples of white entrepreneurs embracing the inventiveness and adaptability of the black artists in a relationship that is at once exploitative and manipulative -- on both sides. The white promoters are not shy about intervening to influence production, and the black artists are quick to take advantage of new outlets and new consumers by catering to the market. Some of the rural-based artists who have been most successful in this urban white market are sculptors Johannes Maswanganyi, Nelson Mukhuba, Phuthuma Seoka, and Noria Mabasa, all discussed here.
Rankin, Elizabeth L. "Black artists, white patrons: the cross-cultural art market in urban South Africa," Africa insight (Pretoria) 20 (1): 25-32, 1990. illus (pt. color), notes, bibl. refs. HC800.S727 AFA.
The relationship between black South African artists and their white patrons is a complex one, built on dependency, mentoring and at times exploitation. The urban artists discussed by Rankin in this context include: Gerhard Bhengu, Gerard Sekoto, John Koenakeefe Mohl, Helen Sebidi, Sydney Kumalo, Ephraim Ngatane, Durant Sihlali, Winston Saoli, Alphen Ntimbane, Peter Sibeko, Emmanuel Sibanda, Lungile Phambo, Thomas Motswai, Mslaba Dumile, Julian Motau, Azaria Mbatha, John Muafangejo, Andrew Motjuoadi, Leonard Matsoso, Cyprian Shilakoe, Lucky Sibiya, Louis Maquabela, Dumisani Mabaso, Philip Malumise, David Koloane, Bongiwe Dhlomo, Ezrom Legae, and Tony Nkotsi.
Rankin, Elizabeth L. and Elza Miles. "The role of the missions in art education in South Africa," Africa insight (Pretoria) 22 (1): 34-48, 1992. illus. (pt. color), bibl. refs. HC800.S727 AFA.
Apart from the Evangelical Lutheran Art and Craft Centre at Rorke's Drift, the role of missions in art education of black South Africans has been overlooked. Rorke's Drift and the secular Polly Street Arts Centre in Johannesburg are often assumed to have been the only places where black South Africans could receive any art instruction. Not so. Several Protestant and Catholic missions alike afforded opportunities for art training -- either as part of a curriculum or as an extra-curricular activity. Often art was encouraged for the production of church furnishings and religious images, but this was not always the case. Sometimes there was an economic incentive -- producing works to sell. In short, there were a variety of attitudes toward art, levels of tuition (or non-tuition), and incentives to create with an equally diverse output.
Among the missions discussed are the Anglican mission at Grace Dieu, Mariannhill Mission in Natal, and Ndaleni Training College also in Natal. Among the many students who passed through or were otherwise affiliated with these institutions are: Gerard Sekoto, Job Kekana, Ernest Mancoba, Bernard Gcwensa, Ruben Xulu, Duke Ketye, Zamokwakhe Gumede, Dan Rakgoathe, Solomon Sedibane, and George Ramagaga.
Rankin, Elizabeth L. Images of metal: post-war sculptures and assemblages in South Africa / foreword by Alan Crump; preface by Rayda Becker. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press and University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries, 1994. 206pp. illus., bibliog. NB1220.R19 1994 AFA. OCLC32909847.
Images of metal is a companion volume to Rankin's Images of wood (1989), both of which redress the lack of public and scholarly attention to sculpture and sculptors within South African art history. The unifying theme in the present volume is metal as medium -- bronze, steel, aluminum, iron, and wire. Twenty-two sculptors are singled out, most of whom are white artists (for reasons spelled out by Rankin in her main text). The featured sculptors are: Bruce Arnott, Vincent Baloyi, Willie Bester, Andries Botha, David Brown, Neels Coetzee, Guy du Toit, Marc Edwards, Michael Goldberg, Sydney Kumalo, Ezrom Legae, Louise Linder, Noria Mabasa, Johann Moolman, Titus Moteyane, Walter Oltmann, Jan Redelinghuys, Durant Sihlali, Willem Strydom, Jeremy Wafer, Richard Wake, and Gavin Younge. For each, Rankin provides a biographical essay in which she discusses the style, technique and evolution of the artist's work in metal (several of the artists also work in different media). A small selection of wire toys, also included in the exhibition, reveal how intricate and sophisticated these "toy" sculptures have become (see pp. 71-76).
The field of South African metal sculpture has been dominated by those who have had access and exposure to a formal art education, the white artists. The technical requirements and costs of working in this medium (using bronze foundries, for example) automatically restricted participation. Women, even white women artists, tended to avoid taking up metal sculpture. As for black South African artists, it is only a few, through rare opportunity or sponsorship, who have concentrated on metal sculpture, notably Sydney Kumalo, Percy Konqobe, and Ezrom Legae. Public sculptural commissions and art competitions have perpetuated these racial and gender distinctions.
Rankin explores the history and evolution of recent metal sculpture in South Africa along three themes, namely, formally trained sculptors, informally trained sculptors, and competitions and commissions (see pp. 9-68). Most of the sixty-nine sculptures in the exhibition are from the University Art Galleries of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. All photographs are in black and white.
Reviewed by Shannen Hill in African arts (Los Angeles) 31 (4): 13-14, 89, autumn 1998.
Rankin, Elizabeth L. Images of wood: aspects of the history of sculpture in 20th-century South Africa; [exhibition, Johannesburg Art Gallery, 1989]. Johannesburg: Johannesburg Art Gallery, 1989. 188pp. illus., bibliog. NB1255.S6R2115 1989 AFA. OCLC 20359737
Sculpture in wood was the theme of this retrospective exhibition of twentieth-century artists of South Africa, which curator Rankin acknowledges is a neglected and largely uncharted realm of South African art history. Around ninety sculptors, black and white (including a few anonymous works), were selected as representative of sculptural traditions through the century.
In her long essay, Rankin explores these trends taking a chronological approach, beginning with early exemplars Mary Stainbank, Ernest Mancoba and Job Kekana. The different opportunities for art training available to artists, both formal and informal, account for the wide range of sculpture produced in South Africa. In piecing together this art history, discernible "schools" or families of sculptors emerge from the university fine arts programs (available to white students), from mission training courses, and from community art centers and workshops. Likewise, impulses toward abstraction and naturalism found divergent expression among white and black sculptors. Much of the sculpture of black artists was representational, while a few white sculptors sought an "African-ness" in their work. The art market, too, played a predominate role in shaping developments and defining sculptural products, particularly for black artists.
The peculiar social environment in South Africa itself defines art and the discourse about art; this becomes more apparent when one considers recent sculpture of South African artists. The biographies of the artists and photographs of their works, which fills two-thirds of this catalog, constitute a major contribution to South African art history.
Reviewed by Rayda Becker in South African journal of art and architectural history (Pretoria) 1 (2): 72-74, May 1990; by William Boshoff in South African journal of art and architectural history (Pretoria) 1 (2): 70-72, May 1990; by Eunice Basson in De arte (Pretoria) 42: 68-71, September 1990.
Rankin, Elizabeth L. Reclaiming black art history in South African galleries and museums. Paper presented at the South African Association of Art Historians conference, Durban, South Africa, June-July 1993. [s.l.: s.n.], 1993. 18pp. bibl. refs. [unpublished]. qN8846.S6R2115 1993 AFA. OCLC 29624068.
A survey of black artists represented in South African art museums and galleries reveals a "profound neglect" until very recent times. This situation mirrors the general disregard for South African black art throughout the century. Ethnographic museums did, of course, collect African artifacts, but it was neither viewed nor exhibited as "art." Commercial art galleries led the way, beginning in the 1960s, to show work of black South African artists, and the art museums and galleries tentatively began to acquire works. But it took publications on black South African art to really begin to legitimize museum acquisitions.
Exceptional among institutional collections is that of Fort Hare University, an exclusively black university, which began to develop a collection of black South African art in 1964. This effort and the 1988 landmark exhibition "The Neglected Tradition" at the Johannesburg Art Gallery raise a troublesome question: should black artists be so segregated, apartheid-like, or should their work be integrated into a color-blind South African art history?
Another unresolved question: how should museums and galleries treat non-conventional categories of "art," that is, work regarded as "craft"? Differences in artists' backgrounds and training create real differences in art production in South Africa today. Museums and galleries are still grappling with how to become ecumenical without pandering and without abandoning evaluative criteria altogether.
Rankin, Elizabeth, Louis Vorster, and Hella Rabbathge-Schiller. Contemporary art !Xu & Khwe, Kimberley/South Africa. Johannesburg: [s.n.], 1997. 53pp. illus. (pt. color). qN7392.R36 1997X AFA. OCLC 46790831.
Out of the bleak relocation camp in Schmidtsdrift, Northern Cape, South Africa, emerges an art project for displaced San people from Angola. Deprived of any livelihood in this refugee camp, their prospects are dismal. The !Xu and Khwe Cultural Project, begun in 1993, offers a ray of hope for a few to make a living from art.
The work of several of the most successful San artists is illustrated and discussed by Elizabeth Rankin. She explores the imagery and compositions of the paintings and prints. Louis Vorster provides the political and economic background on these Angolan refugees. Bios are given for thirteen artists.
Revisions: expanding the narrative of South African art: the Campbell Smith collection / edited by Hayden Proud. Pretoria: SA History Online; UNISA Press, 2006. 360pp. illus. (pt. color). N7392.2.C36 2006 AFA. OCLC 81248938.
Bruce Campbell Smith, described as a maverick art collector, has amassed an impressive number of artworks by black South African artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Inspired by Steven Sack’s landmark 1988 "The Neglected Tradition" exhibition, Campbell Smith set out to redress that neglect by building a collection of previously excluded or marginalized artists, especially black artists. Campbell Smith, an artist manque, a former political activist, and now businessman, has made art collecting his passion. Many under-represented artists are re-introduced in the Revisions exhibition at the Iziko South African National Gallery, for which this catalog was prepared. More than eighty artists are represented, mostly all men and somewhat heavily weighted towards artists from KwaZulu-Natal where Campbell Smith hails from. In Campbell Smith’s collection, figurative and realistic artworks predominate as do two-dimensional works, especially prints. Fair enough. It is one man’s collection and as such reflects his personal predilections, tastes, and pocket book. He has certainly raised the bar on art patronage and on building exemplary art collections in South Africa. This well illustrated, weighty tome offers mini-essays on each artist along with biodata contributed by Rayda Becker, Joseph Dolby, Elza Miles, Gabi Ngcobo, Mario Pissarro, Hayden Proud, Ivor Powell, and Mzuzile Mduduzi Xakaza.
Reviewed by Lize van Robbroeck in De arte (Pretoria) 77, 2008, pages 67-69; by Andy Mason in Art South Africa (Cape Town) 5 (4) winter 2007, page 88.
In 2008 a supplementary volume was published: Revisions+ : expanding the narrative of South African art : the Campbell Smith collection. 2nd edition. City of Tshwane, South Africa: UNISA Press; Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery, 2008. It contains works of 43 artists acquired by Bruce Campbell Smith since 2005, though the works date almost entirely from earlier periods.
Richards, Colin. "About face: aspects of art, history and identity in South African visual culture," Third text: Third World perspectives on contemporary art & culture (London) 16-17 double issue: 101-133, autumn-winter 1991. illus., bibl. refs. NX1.T445 AFA.
The totalitarianism of the apartheid vision created its own culture of resistance. But what happens after apartheid is swept away? What will sustain creative energy? What identity will artists seek or claim for themselves in the New South Africa? How will competing ideologies and opposing views of nationalism be resolved post-apartheid? Richards explores these questions which have already been percolating within artistic circles in South Africa for several years.
The controversial 1990 exhibition of photographer Steven Hilton-Barber, which exposed "rites of passage" images, was one flash point. Sue Williamson's installation "For Thirty Years, Next to His Heart" was another. In it, she visualized the history of the hated passbook. Other visions of history and historiography of the South African experience emerge in the work of Penny Siopis, Helen Sebidi, and Durant Sihlali.
Richards, Colin. "Desperately seeking 'Africa,'" pp. 35-44. In: Art from South Africa. Oxford: Museum of Modern Art; London: distributed by Thames and Hudson, c1990. notes. N7392.A784 1990 AFA. OCLC 23088898.
"Transitional" art is a problematic category in South Africa, implying an appropriation by the dominant art establishment. These cultural debates emerged in South Africa in the 1970s when "transitional" art of black artists became, for better or worse, an acceptable category. The official ideology of pluralism has become another strategy of maintaining differences and domination.
Sack, Steven. "`Garden of Eden or political landscape?': street art in Mamelodi and other townships," pp. 191-210. In: African art in Southern Africa: from tradition to township / edited by Anitra Nettleton and David Hammond-Tooke. Johannesburg: Ad. Donker, 1989. illus. (pt. color), notes (pp. 249-251), bibliog. (page 251). N7391.7.A25 1989b AFA. OCLC 22501798.
Street art recaptures the social function of art, which has been the preserve of the elite (certainly in the twentieth century). Nowhere is this move to the streets more clearly seen than in South African townships. A partial parallel can be drawn to the spontaneity of popular mural art in Mozambique before independence, but there the government co-opted and redirected this popular art into a larger cultural program after independence. In South Africa, this has not yet happened.
The example of "people's parks" in townships in the year 1985 is the inevitable culmination of a cultural-political process that found no other suitable outlets. Even poster art, though populist in intent, was created by a few. People's parks, on the other hand, were spontaneous creations, assemblages of found objects, painted signs and slogans, intended as attempts to reclaim and beautify public spaces. They were an affirmation of pride, an expression of solidarity, and tributes to heroes, such as Biko, Mandela or Luthuli, put together by untrained artists. These "gardens of Eden" were inevitably viewed by the authorities as dangerous "political landscapes," and they were all demolished.
Sack, Steven. "Art in black South African townships," Art monthly (London) no. 17: 6-9, June 1989. illus., bibl. refs. qN1.A7843 AFA.
With the widespread unrest in South African townships in the 1980s and the collapse of the authority of township councils, a political and social vaccuum was created. One of the responses to this was the spontaneous creation of peoples' parks where some kind of overt political expression could take place. A public art in the form of assemblages of found objects (e.g., tires, bicycle wheels, painted stones) sprang up in these common areas. They were largely affirmative positive expressions, efforts at reclaiming the township environment and reasserting control. Sadly, however, they were destroyed by the armed forces who saw them as threatening. This brief artistic flourishing was effectively quashed.
Sack, Steven. "From country to city: the development of an urban art," pp. 54-59. In: Catalogue: ten years of collecting (1979-1989): Standard Bank Foundation Collection of African Art, University Art Galleries' Collection of African Art and selected works from the University Ethnological Museum Collection / edited by David Hammond-Tooke and Anitra Nettleton. Johannesburg: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Art Galleries, 1989. illus., color illus. (pp. 81-82), bibliog. N7380
The development of black artists in South Africa since the 1930s must be understood within the framework of a capitalist economy which imposed restrictions on where people could live and work. It was not only white middle-class patronage that influenced the content of art, but the duality of rural homesteads and urban townships, which for the black artists translated into works of art which speak to both environments. Sack explores this duality in the works of John Koenakeefe Mohl, Gerard Sekoto, Andrew Motjuoadi, Helen Sebidi and others. The early depictions of township life in works by Mohl and Sekoto, for example, are the only glimpses we have of what it was like in the 1930s and 1940s. Later, as black townships became off limits to whites, paintings (sold to a white market) carried the added responsiblity of letting whites see what it was like.
Sack draws an important distinction between "protest art" and "resistance art." The former is art made by township artists and bought by whites and rarely seen by township residents, an art which communicates "between victims of oppression and the oppresor" (page 58). Resistance art, on the other hand, arose out of the Black Consciousness movement; it was one of affirmation, cultural awareness and pride. Art was meant to empower people (for example, the "peoples' parks"), and it became an adjunct to the political struggle and subject to the same repressive forces. The number of artists who have died young (the roster with which Sack introduces this essay) is unassailable testimony of the toll that repression, direct and indirect, has taken on township artists.
Sack, Steven. "In the name of art: a reflection on fine art," pp. 74-96. In: Culture in another South Africa / edited by Willem Campschreur and Joost Divendal. London: Olive Branch Press, 1989. illus. (color). NX589.8.S6C96 1989 AFA. OCLC 19264868.
Political and artistic landscapes merged in South African townships in the 1980s where a new "artculture" challenged the system, but also affirms and negotiates its own "liberatory vision." Some white artists, too, were caught up in this new vision. "Art," as Sack puts it, "lost its innocence" in the years since the Soweto uprising in 1976. All this occurred despite official attempts to subvert or neutralize the emerging and shifting art culture and despite the continuing dilemma of co-option by white middle-class structures for mediating art (galleries, museums).
Twenty-eight color photographs of art works and installations, some since destroyed, are presented with commentary by Sack.
Sasol art collection = Die Sasol-Kunsversameling / designed by Frank Horley; introduction by Leoni Schmidt. [Johannesburg]: Penrose Press, 1988. vi, 73 color plates. Text in Afrikaans and English. N7392.S25 1988 AFA. OCLC 27365254.
The Sasol art collection, like many corporate collections, began rather casually. Around 1982 a more systematic approach was formulated under the artistic guidance of Leoni Schmidt and others to develop a representative collection of contemporary South African art from the 1960s forward. A selection of seventy-three paintings from the Sasol collection is presented in this volume, introduced by Schmidt. A second volume was published in 1991; see next entry.
Sasol art collection = Die Sasol-Kunsversameling. volume 2 / designed by Frank Horley; introduction by Leoni Schmidt. [Johannesburg]: Penrose Press, 1991. viii + 70 pages of plates (color). Text in Afrikaans and English. N7392.S25 1988 volume 2 AFA. OCLC 27365254.
Sasol, South Africa's major oil company, has been building a serious art collection since the early 1980s, although the beginnings date back to the 1960s. The Sasol collection specializes in paintings by South African artists from the 1960s to the present. The first volume on the collection was published in 1988 (see preceding entry). This second volume is published on the occasion of the opening of the Sasol Art Museum at the University of Stellenbosch in October 1991.
The paintings reproduced in the first volume were largely abstract works, typical of the 1960s and 1970s. But those in the present volume reflect a shift toward figurative and expressive works. Four themes are discernible: nature, man, community and cultural tradition; the book is organized around these broad themes. Eighty-one paintings and works in other media, dating mainly from the late 1980s, are illustrated (in color).
See also Opening of the Sasol Art Museum in the Eben Dönges Centre at Stellenbosch University, 3-24 October 1991. [Stellenbosch: s.n.], 1991. 36, 36pp. Text in English and Afrikaans. N3885.S8O614 1991 AFA. OCLC 27356158.
Schmahmann, Brenda. Mapula: embroidery and empowerment in the Winterveld. Parkwood, South Africa: David Krut Pub., 2006. 121pp. illus. (color), bibliog. (pp. 118-119). TT769.S6S34 2006 AFA. OCLC 83593659.
Autobiography, social commentary, empowerment and enterprise come together in the Mapula Embroidery Project. The women of Winterveld, South Africa, victims of poverty, discrimination, and disadvantage, have turned victimhood into a flourishing income generating program. The colorful embroideries tell personal stories, address social and political concerns, or are vibrantly celebratory. The history of this women’s project, begun in 1979, introduces many players and groups, some external. But it is the words and deeds of the women themselves that invigorate and sustain the Mapula Embroidery Project. Well illustrated with color reproductions of the embroideries.
Reviewed by Elisha Renne in De arte (Pretoria) 75, 2007, pages 89-91 (N8.A34A78 AFA).
Schmahmann, Brenda. Through the looking glass: representations of self by South African women artists. Johannesburg: David Krut Publishers, 2004. 109pp. illus. (color), bibliog. (pp. 101-104). N7392.S35 2004 AFA. OCLC 55794336.
Exploring the theme of self-portraiture, curator Brenda Schmahmann captures the work of twenty-four South African women artists as they see themselves. She organizes these portraits into four broad categories: self as artist, self and family, self and body, and enactments, which uses “fantasy and role-playing to stage ideas about female identities and their construction” (p. 8). The art works cut across media – paintings, prints, sculptures, installations, photographs, and videos.
Reviewed by Amanda du Preez in De Arte (Pretoria) 71, April 2005, pages 80-82; by Kim Gurney in ArtSouthAfrica (Cape Town) 3 (1) spring 2004, page 64.
Seeing ourselves: a series of short documentary films on contemporary art and artists in South Africa, southern Africa and the diaspora [videorecording]. Produced and directed by Wayne Barker and Susan Glanville. Johannesburg, South Africa: Distributed by Film Resource Unit, [1999?]. 54 minutes. sound, color. PAL format. video 000779 AFA. OCLC 173511953.
Ten five-minute profiles on the Southern African artists: Pat Mautloa, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Stephen Hobbs, Steven Cohen, Mmakgabo Helen Sebidi, Willie Bester, Karl Gietl, Jo Ractliffe, Wayne Barker, and Herve di Rosa. Part 1 introduces a diverse range of artists and contemporary art practices in South Africa exploring the role the artists played historically and continue to play within a society undergoing a dramatic state of political and social transformation. The artist's lives and work reflect the complex matrix of the context within which they work and these short profiles present myriad insights.
Selection of Eastern Cape art / compiled by Helena Theron; text by Bert Olivier. Port Elizabeth: Bird Street Publications, 1994. pp. illus. (pt. color). N7394.C25S46 1994 AFA. OCLC 32520163.
Artists from the Eastern Cape have suffered under the misbegotten label of provincialism within the context of South African art, but this, Helena Theron argues, is unfair and blind-sighted. To prove that art is alive and well in the Eastern Cape, she assembled the work of seventy artists. Predominantly painters, predominantly white, one work of each is reproduced along with a photograph of the artist and a biographical sketch.
Sixpence a door: black art in South Africa [videorecording] / directed by Gavin Younge; produced by Les Films du Village, 1990. 1 videocassette (ca. 55 minutes): sd.: color: ½ in., PAL format. video 169 AFA. OCLC 28652025.
This video, originally done for French television, is intended to give some of the variety of flavors of contemporary artistic expression of black South African artists, both urban and rural, trained and self-taught. Gerard Sekoto, Jackson Hlungwane, and Helen Sebidi are among featured artists. One segment of the film is devoted to politically inspired posters produced by cooperatives associated with the labor movement. "Art" is also extended to cover contemporary manifestations of Christian worship and church dress, e.g., Shembe's Zionist church. On this last point, see Karen H. Brown's review of the exhibition "Spiritual art of Natal," African arts (Los Angeles) 27 (1): 78-79, January 1994.
South Africa. Department of National Education. Contemporary South African art. [s.l.: Department of National Education, ca. 1992]. 1 volume (unpaged). illus. N7392.2.S678 1992 AFA. OCLC 50308042.
The art collection of the South African Department of National Education was assembled in furtherance of the propagandistic mission of the government of South Africa to present the creative face of a multi-cultural country. The art selected was for exhibition abroad during what turned out to be the final years of Apartheid. As cultural policy this initiative belongs to the Nationalist government’s attempts since the 1960s to promote South Africa as an enlightened, modern state. The anonymously written introduction to this catalog reveals none of the turmoil of the times, the 1980s, but rather emphasizes the diversity of themes, styles and techniques employed by the artists, and the uniquely “South African-ness” of the art. Both black and white artists are represented in this catalog.
South African National Gallery. Contemporary South African art, 1985-1995 from the South African National Gallery permanent collection; [exhibition, South African National Gallery, December 14, 1996-March 31, 1997] / edited by Emma Bedford; introduction by Marilyn Martin. Cape Town: South African National Gallery, 1996. 176pp. illus. (pt. color), bibliog. (pp. 169-174). N7392.2.S68 1997 AFA. OCLC 38418131.
The acquisitions policy of the South African National Gallery (S.A.N.G.) has shifted dramatically over the last fifteen years as a direct response to the new political and cultural environment of the dissolution of apartheid. In many sectors of the art world and at S.A.N.G. in particular, this sea change has been long anticipated and accommodated, even helped along by a liberalizing attitude and expansive approach to collecting and exhibiting South African art.
Neville Dubow, the chairman of S.A.N.G.'s acquisitions committee from 1982 to 1995, discusses this new direction in an interview with Emma Bedford. A cross section of modern art acquired during this period is presented chronologically with complete catalog information on each artist and each work of art.
Reviewed by Ruth Kerkham in Third text: Third World perspectives on contemporary art and culture (London) 45: 104-106, winter 1998-1999.
Spier Contemporary (Exhibition) (2008-2008 : Stellenbosch, South Africa, etc.). Spier Contemporary 2007: exhibition and awards/ editor, Jay Pather. Stellenbosch, South Africa: Africa Centre, 2007. 268pp. illus. (chiefly color), portraits, bibl. refs. N7392.2.S684 2007 AFA. OCLC 212896806.
Spier Contemporary is an initiative to establish a biennale in South Africa begun in 2007. This biennale focuses exclusively on South African artists and seeks to be truly national, cutting-edge, and not exclusively urban-based. Fissures still exist in post-apartheid South Africa between urban and rural artists, black-and-white artists, and artists working in different media. Spier Contemporary tries to bridge these differences through open competitions and juried selections. The Spier project also included residencies and outreach.
In 2007 participating artists were: Sanell Aggenbach -- Colleen Alborough -- Leila Anderson -- Phil Andros (aka Aries Kuijers) -- Ryan Arenson -- Pieter Badenhurst -- Brett Bailey -- Nina Barnett -- Gerard Bester -- Tamlin Blake -- Kevin Brand -- Roelin Brink -- Tegan Bristow -Mathew Brittan -- Christina Bryer -- Jonathan Cane -- Phula Richard Chauke -- Marco Cianfanelli -- Jacques Coetzer -- Steven Cohen -- Wilma Cruise -- Gavin Younge -- Fred du Preez -- Hasan Essop -- Husain Essop -- Bronwen Findlay -- Justin Fiske -- Hans Foster -- Abrie Fourie -- Frances Goodman -- Andries Gouws -- Elizabeth Gunter -- Daniel Halter -- Gerrit Hattingh -- Dawid Henning -- Renee Holleman -- Nadine Hutton -- Mwenya Kabwe -- Lunga Kama -- Philani Khomo -- Bongani Khoza -- Adam Letch -- Khotso Nicolas Letsoa -- Ruth Levin -- Jacky Lloyd -- Kai Lossgott -- Phanuel Marka Mabaso -- Charles Maggs -- Ruth Makgahlela -- Nomusa Makhubu -- Bettina Malcomess -- Thando Mama -- Dawie McNeill -- Philip Miller -- Peter Modisakeng -- Anthea Moys -- Zanele Muholi -- Brett Murray --Robyn Nesbitt -- Andrzej Nowicki -- Lindi Nyaniso -- Mduduzi Nyembe -- Peet Pienaar -- Beverley Price -- Andrew Putter -- Gabrielle Raaff -- Julia Raynham -- Phillip Rikhotso -- Alice Rikhotso -- Jonah Sack -- Lyndi Sales -- Bradshaw Schaffer -- Peter Schütz -- Johannes Scott -- Themba Shibase -- Jaco Sieberhagen -- Kathryn Smith -- Chuma Sopotela -- Doreen Southwood -- Pamela Stretton -- Linda Stupart -- Myer Taub -- Nkahloleng Lucas Thobejane -- Johan Thom -- Hentie van der Merwe -- Peter van Heerden -- Roelof van Wyk -- Leon Vermeulen -- Jeremy Wafer -- Kemang WaLehulere -- Mark Wilby -- Sue Williamson -- Gavin Younge -- Dale Yudelman -- Sicelo Ziqubu -- Manfred Zylla.
Spier Contemporary (Exhibition) (2010 : Stellenbosch, South Africa, etc.). Spier Contemporary 2010: exhibition/ editor, Jay Pather. Stellenbosch, South Africa: Africa Centre, 2010. 290pp. illus. (chiefly color), portraits, bibl. refs. N7393.S685 2010 AFA. OCLC 603237240.
The 2010 Spier Contemporary was as contentious and provocative as previous editions. Performance, video and installation predominated. Selections were based on submissions, and the artists’ statements are included. Participating artists were: Angela de Jesus -- Anthony Strack van Schyndel -- Araminta de Clermont -- Arie Kuijers -- Brett Murray -- Bruno Brincat -- Brydon Bolton and Emile Maurice -- Cameron Platter -- Candice Borzechowski -- Carla Liesching -- Carolyn Parton -- Christopher Marsberg and Francois van Tonder -- Christopher Swift --Colin Payne -- Dale Yudelman -- Dan Halter -- Daniel Maggs -- Dave Robertson - David Bloomer -- David Koloane -- Dawood Petersen -- Dillon Marsh -- Ed Young -- Elizabeth Buys -- Eugene Arries, Jonathan Cane and Zen Marie -- Frans Masobe Mothapo -- Frikkie Eksteen -- Frina Galloway -- Gerrit Hattingh -- Gordon Froud -- Hanje Whitehead -- Hasan and Husain -- Helen Sebidi -- Jacki McInnes -- Jacky Lloyd -- Jaco Sieberhagen -- James Clayton -- James Webb -- Jane Solomon -- Janine Allen -- Jean Meeran and Sarah Ping Nie Jones -- Jessica Gregory and Zen Marie -- Joanne Bloch -- Johann van der Schijff -- Johannes Scott -- John Barrow -- Jonathan Cane -- Jonathan Cane and Zen Marie -- Jonathan Garnham -- Justin Brett -- Karen Suskin -- Kurt Campbell -- Kurt Pio -- Leán Coetzer -- Lindi Arbi -- Lucas Nkahloleng Thobejane -- Lucy Pooler -- Maja Maljevic -- Maja Marx -- Mamela Nyamza -- Maria Cleary -- Matthew Blackman -- Matthew Hindley -- Matthew Kalil -- Maurice Mbikayi -- Michael MacGarry -- Mlu Zondi -- Mohau Modisakeng -- Motseokae Klas Thibeletsa -- Mxolisi Nkomonde -- Ndivhuwo Gundula -- Neil le Roux -- Nicola Elliot, Brink Scholtz and Sonja Smit -- Nicolene Swanepool -- Nina Liebenberg -- Philippe Kayumba-wa-Yafolo -- Phillip Lice Rikhotso -- Phillip Raiford Johnson -- Phula Richard Chauke -- Richard Letsatsi Bollers -- Richard Penn -- Roelof van Wyk -- Roxandra Dardagan Britz -- Rudolph Tshie -- Sentso Lele -- Sicelo Ziqubu -- Stuart Bird -- Tegan Bristow -- Tim Leibbrandt -- Vusumuzi Derrick Nxumalo -- Wilhelm Saayman -- William John Martin -- Xolile Mazibuko -- Zakhele Moses Hlatshwayo.
Thorpe, Jo, 1921-1995. It's never too early: a personal record of African art and craft in Kwazulu-Natal 1960-1990. Durban: Indicator Press, Centre for Social and Development Studies, University of Natal, 1994. 112pp. illus. (pt. color). ISBN 1-86840-167-7.
Jo Thorpe began the African Art Centre in Durban in 1959 as a small part of the Natal region's South African Institute of Race Relations. Right from the start, the art shop promoted Zulu art as a means of helping rural artists, and Thorpe is credited with maintaining high standards of quality workmanship in all the arts and crafts that were offered for sale.
In this personal history of the African Art Centre, Thorpe tells first-hand its evolution through three decades. Over the years she acquired a small collection for the Centre, almost inadvertently, by keeping back choice objects. Three key events shaped the decade of the 1960s for the Centre: the launching of the bienniale "Art: South Africa: Today" exhibition in 1963; the collaboration with Rorke's Drift Art and Craft Centre, and the extraordinary and fortuitous "discovery" of Azaria Mbatha (1941- ) in 1962. The 1970s and 1980s witnessed major expansions in the operations and artistic repertoire of the African Art Centre. In 1982 the Centre became independent of the Institute of Race Relations and continued to flourish.
In telling this story, Thorpe profiles the key artists who have been associated with the Centre. In the 1960s, there were Allina Ndebele, Azaria Mbatha, Michael Zondi. In the 1970s: Tito Zungu, Dan Rakgoathe, Raphael Magwaza, John Muafangejo, Bridgeman Nyawo, Vuminkosi Zulu, Cyprian Shilakoe. In the 1980s: Wiseman Mbambo, Zamowakhe Gumede, Derrick Nxumalo, Paul Sibisi, Bheki Myeni, Mziwakhe Mbatha, Henry Mshololo, Saint Mokoena, George Msimnag, and Bafana. In the early 1990s: Moses Buthelezi, Joseph Manana, Sokhaya Charles Nkosi, and Trevor Makhoba.
Reviewed by Lyn Graybill in African book publishing record (Oxford) 23 (3): 223, 1997.
Tributaries: Quellen und Strömungen; Eine Ausstellung zeitgenössischer Kunst des südlichen Afrika; Bilder und Skulpturen = A view of contemporary South African art / edited by Ricky Burnett. [Johannesburg]: Communication Department, BMW South Africa, . 64pp. illus. (pt. color). Text in English and German. N7392.T82 1985 AFA. OCLC 19990829.
In retrospect, Ricky Burnett's "Tributaries" exhibition was ground breaking for South Africa; perhaps it was viewed so at the time. 1985 seems a long time ago and much has happened since then to transform the art scene in South Africa. "Tributaries" was a large show (111 works), whose curator reached out to artists not then in the mainstream, but whose work flowed, like tributaries into a river, toward a larger more panoramic view of contemporary South African art. In fact, it was the concept of tributaries, of diversity, rather than the mainstream, that motivated Burnett in his quest. It took some digging but he succeeded in unearthing "some compelling images" that shared, if nothing else, a common humanity. Portraits of the artists are included, along with illustrations of works.
For a critique of the skewed historical "package" of national art exhibitions, such as the 1985 "Tributaries" or the Cape Town Triennials, see T. H. King, "Tributaries and the Triennial: two South African art exhibitions," Critical arts (Johannesburg) 5 (3): 39-57, 1991. King addresses issues of selection criteria for exhibitions, access or lack of access, self-serving publicity and media attention versus real art criticism, and goals of sponsorship. The element of cultural dominance, intended or not, in these national art exhibitions has been overlooked in art historical writing in South Africa. The politics of exhibitions, he argues, is a legitimate, even critical theme in reconstructing South African art history. See also: Ivor Powell, "Killing the father: some thoughts on South African art and the BMW show," De Arte (Pretoria) 32: 45-47, April 1985.
Van Robbroeck, Lize. The ideology and practice of community arts in South Africa, with particular reference to Katlehong and Alexandra Arts Centres. M.A. thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, 1991. 140 leaves. [unpublished]. qNX820.S6V36 1991a AFA. OCLC 44463771.
Community arts projects have been vitally important in South Africa, and Von Robbroeck argues, "could provide viable solutions to some of the cultural and educational problems which beset this country" (page 1). The ideological foundation of community arts in Britain and America has been largely absent in South Africa, but the potential is there. In Chapter 1, Von Robbroeck, discusses the revolutionary aims of the international community arts movement. In Chapter 2, she discusses the socio-political and educational factors that gave rise to the community arts movements in South Africa. Includes references to Rorke's Drift, Polly Street, Nyanga Art Centre, the Black Consciousness movement, and the Funda Arts Centre. In Chapter 3, the centerpeice of her thesis, she examines the aims and ideology, political orientation, management, relationship with the community, funding, marketing and education of two of South Africas community art centers: Katlehong and Alexandra.
Verstraete, Frances. "Township art: context, form and meaning," pp. 152-171. In: African art in Southern Africa: from tradition to township / edited by Anitra Nettleton and David Hammond-Tooke. Johannesburg: Ad. Donker, 1989. illus. (pt. color), notes (pp. 245-246), bibliog. (page 246). N7391.7.A25 1989b AFA. OCLC 22501798.
The term "township art," if it is to be used at all, applies specifically to urban black art of the 1950s and 1960s, in particular painting and graphic art. (Gerard Sekoto was a precursor of "township art.") In an environment permeated with poverty, crime, bleakness, restrictions, physical and psychological pressures, artistic creativity, however limited, provided one outlet. The little painting that was done (given scarcity of opportunity, training and supplies) was a response to this oppression, an effort to humanize an inhuman situation. The themes of these paintings were invariably those of daily life in the township, not political in intent, but made so by the very circumstances of their creation and the expressive styles with which they were drawn or painted.
Verstraete singles out Mslaba Zwelidumile Mxgaji, known simply as Dumile, as the "best known exponent of the expressionistic style." His work confronts his own struggle to survive emotionally and physically in the hard urban environment from which there is no turning or escape. His concern is with the human condition, the hardships and suffering of life in the townships. As a true original, Dumile has had serious followers, such as Julian Motau or Winston Saoli, as well as a host of imitators, who have lowered the quality of "township art" by their pedestrian and now crassly commercial approach. Dumile went into exile [now deceased]; Motau is dead. The scene has changed -- Black Consciousness, the Soweto uprisings. These and new opportunities for black artists in South Africa from the 1970s on have altered the artistic landscape completely.
Visual century: South African art in context, Volume 1: 1907-1948 / edited by Jillian Carman. Johannesburg: Wits University; Oslo: Visual Century Project, 2011. 220pp. illus. (mainly color), bibl. refs. N7392.2.V57 2011 AFA. OCLC 768772055.
The Visual Century project attempts to give a chronological account of a hundred years of art in South Africa, looking back from post-1994 South Africa. The project brings together thirty contributors with the aim of providing multiple perspectives on South African art history. This first volume looks at early to mid-twentieth century South African art from a variety of angles. Jillian Carman writes on the beginnings of art museums in South Africa, which originally had little government funding and mainly focused on collecting European art. Nessa Leibhammer examines the representation of black South Africans by their white compatriots. Leibhammer describes the ‘scientific racism’ of the early twentieth century, where scientific ideas were used to justify the inhuman treatment of indigenous South Africans. This chapter also looks at traditional African art’s initial absence from the gallery, as such works tended to be seen as belonging more to craft, or ethnology. Leibhammer investigates how certain white artists tended to depict black ‘types’ who function more as symbols than as individuals, while others’ work seems to reveal an individual engagement with their sitters. Leibhammer and Vonani Bila write on disruption, change and continuity in traditional art.
Elizabeth Rankin looks at the careers of black artists in early twentieth century South Africa, including Ernest Mancoba, Gerard Sekoto and George Pemba. Apart from other restrictions, black artists were turned away from formal art education on the grounds that they would lose the talent they already had if they received formal training. Isolation was also a problem for emerging black artists of the time. Mancoba and Sekoto were able to study in Paris, where they could participate freely in the art world and in society in general, and both stayed in Paris permanently. Lize van Robbroeck looks at how these artists were positioned in relation to tradition/modernity, race and class.
Melanie Hillebrand looks at white artists during this time, while Federico Freschi examines the ‘fusion politics’ of the 1930s, as expressed in the decoration of public buildings. Freschi looks at the attempt to build a new white nationalism out of British and Afrikaner identities, and how this was expressed in the murals and sculptures commissioned for public buildings of the time. Juliette Leeb-du Toit explores South African landscape art as the expression of various attitudes to the land.
Visual century: South African art in context, Volume 2: 1945-1976 / edited by Lize van Robbroeck. Johannesburg: Wits University; Oslo: Visual Century Project, 2011. 217pp. illus. (mainly color), bibl. refs. N7392.2.V57 2011 AFA. OCLC 768772055.
This volume explores the changes taking place in South African society and art from the end of the second world war to the year of the Soweto uprising. Frederico Freschi writes on changes in the visual language of Afrikaner nationalism, from its focus on a narrative of suffering and heroism, which was useful in creating a national Afrikaner identity, to the Brutalist architecture and abstract public art which succeeded this, once the nationalist government had secured its control of the country and was confident in its ability to maintain it. Hazel Friedman explores what it was like to make art in a time when artists could be tortured for the content of their work and subversive art was treated as a threat to ‘Public Safety’.
Elizabeth Rankin looks at art centers and workshops, which offered art education to students who had few other options because of apartheid laws which kept ‘non-white’ students from attending most universities. Rankin focuses on Polly Street and its offshoot Mofolo Art Centre, BICA (Black, Indian, Colored Arts), Ndaleni, Rorke’s Drift and Bill Ainslie’s studio. Lize van Robbroeck writes on the reception of black artists by white mainstream critics of the time, where the artists were seen as out of their depth whenever they didn’t conform to a stereotypically African identity in their work, regardless of the relevance of this identity for the artist in question.
Christine Eyene writes on artists in exile during this time. Eyene looks at the conditions that gave rise to lives in exile, such as the Mixed Marriages Act, the attention of the Special Branch, restrictive pass laws and the banning of liberation movements. Eyene focuses on Ernest Mancoba and Gerard Sekoto in Paris, and Valerie Desmore, Albert Adams, Dumile Feni and George Hallett in London. Sandra Kloppers writes on modern innovations in the art and clothing of migrant workers and their families. Anitra Nettleton looks at primitivism in South Africa, both the idealization of the primitive and the formal imitation of ‘primitive’ art, focusing on the work of Walter Battiss, Alexis Preller, Cecil Skotnes, Edoardo Villa and Sydney Kumalo. Hayden Proud writes on how formalist theory was understood and practiced in South Africa.
Visual century: South African art in context, Volume 3: 1973-1992 / edited by Mario Pissarra. Johannesburg: Wits University; Oslo: Visual Century Project, 2011. 232pp. illus. (mainly color), bibl. refs. N7392.2.V57 2011 AFA. OCLC 768772055.
This volume discusses South African art during a time when violent oppression by the state, and internecine violence within the liberation movement (not always without state involvement) came to a head. Sipho Mdanda writes on art made during this time that focuses on the effect of apartheid on people’s ordinary experience, looking at works that reference the everyday experiences of miners and domestic workers, amongst others. Ruth Simbao looks at the ways in which blackness and Africanness were explored in art of the time, particularly in relation to the rise of movements such as Black Consciousness in the 1960s and 1970s. Mduduzi Xakaza writes on the use of Christian imagery in artists' representations of the struggle against apartheid. Emile Maurice looks at work that dealt specifically with the violence and destruction of the times.
Judy Seidman writes on the cultural worker’s movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Seidman looks at how art-makers began working more closely with one another, liberation movements and communities. Seidman discusses the government’s work against such initiatives (the bombing of buildings, banning of events and publications and so on) and how the resistance movement’s preparation to govern in the early 1990s saw the end of their need for these projects.
Hayden Proud writes on experimental art in the context of a repressive government interested in ‘immorality’ in art. Proud looks at the government’s fear of artists communicating even the possibility of personal choices (from political to sexual) to an audience, and artists who experimented as freely as possible under these conditions. Roger van Wyk explores humor and the absurd in art as a means of subversion in what he describes as a ‘desperate psychological environment’ where laughing at the state was a way of not giving in completely to despair at its madness and brutality. Mario Pissarra writes on South African art in relation to the rest of the world during this time, looking at the cultural boycott, artists in exile, and state-sponsored exhibitions of local work.
Visual century: South African art in context, Volume 4: 1990-2007 / edited by Thembinkosi Goniwe, Mario Pissarra and Mandisi Majavu. Johannesburg: Wits University; Oslo: Visual Century Project, 2011. 222pp. illus. (mainly color), bibl. refs. N7392.2.V57 2011 AFA. OCLC 768772055.
This volume explores art in South Africa from the unbanning of political organisations and release of Nelson Mandela up to the time of Jacob Zuma becoming president of the ANC. Gavin Jantjes writes on a problematic ‘globalism’ which ‘feigns equality by claiming to be an undifferentiated zone of exchange’.
Colin Richards explores the types of representational practices that lead to the dehumanization of people, and the role of the artist and writer in recognizing and rejecting these practices, in favor of active, open-hearted engagement with other human beings. Poet Gabeba Baderoon writes on intimacy and difference in South Africa’s past and present. She discusses the work of Berni Searle and Zanele Muholi.
Mgcineni Sobopha writes on representations of the body in contemporary South African art, including work by Johannes Phokela, Jane Alexander, and Leora Farber. Kathryn Smith discusses experimental art, while Zayd Minty writes on post-1994 public art projects. Andries Oliphant looks at what the future may hold for art in South Africa.
Walter Battiss: ‘I invented myself’: the Jack M. Ginzberg collection // curated by Warren Siebrits. Johannesburg: Ampersand Foundation, 2016. 335 pp. illus (color), portraits, bibl. refs. N7396.B28 A4 2016 AFA. OCLC 957348410
In my first attempt, I cobbled together elements of past reviews of Battiss’ work, his exhibitions, his travels. In my second attempt, however, I actually thumbed through this collection of his work, ‘I invented myself,’ which included biographical accounts, his poetry and aphorisms, and pieces of his correspondence. Needless to say, the second attempt was much more interesting than the first.
Battiss was a true Renaissance Man. His love for art, music, poetry, and life itself breathes through his letters and correspondences. His willingness to confront the boundaries of apartheid-era South Africa, all the cultural boundaries and not just the racial ones, marked him as an artist ahead of his time. This exhibit, “I invented myself,’ and the accompanying exhibit catalog, capture his life, his travels, his loves and his far-flung imagination in a most interesting way. His paintings on prehistoric rock art fascinated the senses and his five-part series, Orgy, both shocked and amazed.
Battiss’ writings and paintings on his imaginary utopia, Fook Island, are not to be missed. Using his persona as King Ferd the 3rd, Battiss managed, in curator Warren Siebrits’ words, to “fabricate an alternative philosophy and lifestyle, both of which were diametrically opposed to the life of cultural and intellectual subjugation imposed on South Africans by the Calvinist preservers of yesterday’s virtues and graces.” The exhibit covers all aspects of the world of Walter Battiss. The descriptive bibliography, arranged by Jack Ginzberg, covers everything he wrote or co-wrote over an amazing life and career.
Reviewed by Tsholofelo Moche in ART AFRICA (Johannesburg) 5: September 2016, pages 200-202.
Williamson, Sue and Ashraf Jamal. Art in South Africa: the future present. Cape Town: David Philips, 1996. 159pp. illus. (color). N7392.W54 1996x AFA. OCLC 37518816
This is a companion volume to Williamson's ground-breaking Resistance art in South Africa written from the perspective of seven turbulent years as witness to "the future present" in the New South Africa. Like the predecessor volume, Art in South Africa showcases recent work by forty artists, which collectively represents the flavor and sensibilities of art in the 1990s. Where is South African art in the "post-resistance" period? With apartheid on the scrap heap, what issues engage those artists who still want engagement? The curatorial guideline for artist Williamson and journalist Jamal is to seek "artists who express durable questions," who realize that the future may be as turbulent as the past. The present offering is certainly eclectic. With all the international attention on South Africa, the irruption of South African art exhibitions overseas, and the center-ring circus attraction of the 1995 Johannesburg Biennale, the past few years have been a heady, exhilarating and confused period for South African artists. It is not clear where this artistic vortex at the southern tip of the African continent is headed.
Reviewed by Joan Bellis, "Women who paint with the wolves," Mail and guardian review of books (Johannesburg) November 1996, pp. 1-2.
Reviewed by by Hazel Friedman, "SA art in technicolor," Mail and guardian review of books (Johannesburg) November 1996, page 2.
Williamson, Sue. Resistance art in South Africa. Cape Town: David Philip, 1989. 160pp. illus. (color) N7392.W732 1990 AFA. [London: Catholic Institute for International Relations, 1990. OCLC 20722632].
The Soweto uprisings of 1976 jolted artists both white and black out of their complacency and galvanized them to express their resistance to apartheid. Sue Williamson, an artist and activist, has compiled the works of more than sixty South African artists in this visual survey of the many forms and varieties of resistance art. Themes of violence, aggression, exploitation and anguish are mixed with those of satire even whimsy. The popular arts have played an equally important role -- graffiti, peace parks, T-shirts, posters. The white artists, most of whom are formally trained, take an intellectual approach to resistance, while the black artists, most of whom are self-taught or informally trained in workshops and community arts programs, express a more visceral "frontline" urgency in their work. Illustrated in color. Vignettes of text allow each artist to say something about his vision and purpose.
Reviewed by A. du Plessis, "Two more or less glossy books: problems in art documentation of the Eighties" South African journal of art and architectural history (Pretoria) 2 (3 and 4): 102-107, 1991. Du Plessis takes Williamson to task for a superficial, pandering, and unscholarly treatment of an important subject. While commending the attractive reproductions of art, he finds little else to praise. The criteria for including artists, the implicit nature of "resistance art" within the South African context, and the impressionistic tone of her commentary are all challenged by du Plessis. Ultimately her book "perpetuates the meaningless quest for identifying a `national identity' of South African art" (page 105).
Also reviewed by Andries Walter Olphant, "Resistance art by Sue Williamson," Staffrider (Johannesburg) 9 (2): 89-92, 1990; by Mary Molinaro in Art documentation (Tucson) 9 (3): 154-155, fall 1990; by Janet L. Stanley in African book publishing record (Oxford) 16 (4): 241-242, 1990.
Williamson, Sue. South African art now. New York: Collins Design, 2009. 320pp. illus. (color), bibl. refs. N7393.S68 2009 AFA. OCLC 262886306.
The “now” in South African art now is the forty years from 1968 to 2008, with an introduction to the period prior to set the scene. This book subsumes Sue Williamson’s two earlier landmark surveys of contemporary South African art: Resistance art in South Africa (1989) and Art in South Africa: the future present [with Jamal Ashraf] (1996) (see preceding entries). More importantly, it is weighted toward the 21st century. One reviewer referred to South African art now as a “curated-book” (see Allara below) because Williamson focuses on individual artists who are represented in the galleries and museum exhibitions. She omits the array of community-based art projects that have and still play an important role on the South African art scene. Arranged chronological but also thematically and by medium, South African art now covers around one hundred artists.
Contents: Foreword / Nadine Gordimer -- Appreciation / Elton John -- "Better lives", marginal selves : framing the current reception of contemporary South African art / Okwui Enwezor -- Art and life in South Africa 1968 to 2008 / Sue Williamson -- The stifling years : a time of exile -- Culture turns activist : the spread of a new resistance -- Between country and city : rural artists enter the art world -- Freedom at last : euphoria, doubt, and reflection -- Live from South Africa / Roselee Goldberg -- Searching for identity : imaging the new society -- Love and gender in a time of AIDS -- Old influences, new work : fresh interpretations of cultural traditions -- Punchline : a grim humor holds up a mirror to society -- The materiality of sculpture --The poetics of paint -- Acting out : the installation and performance artists --Through the lens : new interpretations of the photographic -- Biographies -- Chronology.
Reviewed by Steven C. Dubin, "What is African art?" Art in America (New York) 98 (9) October 2010, pages 57-60; Pamela Allara on H-AfrArts, H-Net reviews, November 2009. http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=25896; by Amanda du Preez in De arte (Pretoria) 82, 2010, pages 95-96; by Sunanda K. Sanyal in African arts (Los Angeles) 44 (1) spring 2011, pages 93-94; in Classic feel magazine (Randberg, South Africa) February 2010, page 106; by Mary Lou Hultgren in International review of African American art (Hampton, VA) 23 (1) 2010, pages 60-62; by Janine Stephen, "Exploding western cliches of Africa," Weekender (Johannesburg) November 7-8, 2009, page 4.
Younge, Gavin, 1947- . Art of the South African townships. New York: Rizzoli, 1988. 96pp. illus. (pt. color). N7394.H66Y68 1988X AFA. OCLC 17952862.
Younge's book, which is timely, well-illustrated and attractively produced by an international art publisher, has been disappointingly reviewed in part because of a missed opportunity. It is also criticized because Younge's category "township art" is problematic and politically fraught, and he includes a number of rural-based artists. It is also limited primarily to artists in the Cape area without explaining why other "township" areas, like Johannesburg, are excluded. Still, the visual catalog provided here is valuable exposure for artists whose work has not been widely seen or documented. Most of the art works illustrated date from the 1980s. The political and social context within which black South African artists work necessarily defines the content of that work, and this comes across clearly. Younge's text covers: Township art and politics; Art training and "Bantu education"; Township life and art; and Artists and the struggle.
Artists featured: Phatuma Seoka, Noria Mabasa, Titus Moteyane, Johannes Maswanganyi, Tito Zungu, Nelson Mukhuba, Zamokwakhe Gumede, Tommy Motswai, Derrick Nxumalo, Bernard M. Tshatsinde, Johannes Phokela, Billy Mandindi, Mpolokeng Ramphomane, Emile Maurice, Randy Hartzenberg, Craig Masters, Luthando Lupuwana, Madi Phala, Mboyi Moshidi, Paul Sibisi, David Hlongwane, Hamilton Budaza, Sfiso Mkame, Sam Nhlengethwa, Peter Clarke, Avashoni Mainganye, Nat Mokgotsi, Sydney Holo, Thamsanqwa Mnyela, Jackson Hlungwane, Jim Ngumo, John Muafangejo (Namibia). There is also a brief section on house painters.
Reviewed by Charles Ben Pike in African arts (Los Angeles) 22 (4): 83, August 1989; by Frieda Harmsen in South African journal of cultural and art history (Pretoria) 3 (3): 284-286, July 1989; by Anitra Nettleton in South African journal of cultural and art history (Pretoria) 3 (3): 287-290, July 1989; by Amanda Jephson and Nicolaas Vergunst, "Imijondolo: black and white in gold," ADA: art, design, architecture (Cape Town) no. 6: 46, ; by Jacques Alvarez-Pereyre in Third world quarterly (London) 11 (3): 263-266, 1988.
Za: giovane arte dal Sudafrica. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan: Silvana, 2008. 191pp. illus. (pt. color). N7393.Z3 2008 AFA. OCLC 214232156.
The premise of .Za, an exhibition of contemporary South African art in Milan, Italy, is artists choosing artists. Five well-known South African artists plus one Italian curator each selected young South African artists to participate. No parameters as to gender, medium, background, or country of residence were set. They only need to be young and talented. The South African artist-curators were Marlene Dumas, Kendall Geers, Berni Searle, Minnette Vári, and Sue Williamson, and the Italian curator, Lorenzo Fusi.
The artists featured are: Colleen Alborough, Bridget Baker, Zander Blom, Dino Seshee Bopape, Ismail Farouk, Frances Goodman, Simon Gush, Nicholas Hlobo, Moshekwa Langa, Churchill Madikida, Nandipha Mntambo, Zanele Muholi, Ruth Sacks, Sean Slemon, Doreen Southwood, Mikhael Subotzky, Johan Thom, Nontsikelelo Veleko, James Webb, and Ina Van Zyl.