The Michaelis Galleries and the Gordon Institute for Creative and Performing Arts (GIPCA) present the exhibition Not My War. A number of artists represented by David Krut took part in this exhibition.
GIPCA and Michaelis Galleries reflect through Not My War
The Michaelis Galleries and the Gordon Institute for Creative and Performing Arts (GIPCA) present Not My War, an exhibition of works by significant South African artists reflecting on the country’s involvement in border wars in Northern Namibia and Southern Angola during the 1960’s to 1980’s. The exhibition opening is at 18:00 on 29 June, and it will run until 25 July.
Up until 1994, almost all able-bodied white South African men were called up for National Service around the year they turned 18. Most were put through rigorous physical and skills training, and many sent to fight in South Africa’s so-called Border War in Northern South West Africa and Southern Angola.
Marking the 25th anniversary of what is now commonly referred to as the Border War’s bloodiest and most decisive battles, most notably at Cuito Cuanavale, Not My War looks at how a selection of artists have been impacted by and responded to this critical point in the nation’s of history.
As far as most of these conscripted young men were concerned, there was little option but to perform their national duty. One’s call-up could be deferred for a few years if one studied, but to avoid it meant facing harsh consequences. The options were to object on conscientious or religious grounds and face a six-year jail term, or flee the country.
Since the shift in political power in 1994, many of the men that fought in Border War have felt themselves to be recast in an insidious light. While many soldiers believed the SADF’s rhetoric that they were fighting in Angola to shield their country from the violent tide of communism, the war is now widely regarded as an unjust conflict that upheld the racist interests of Apartheid. The Border War has in many ways become forgotten in post-Apartheid South Africa, as remembering this ‘silent war’ it would mean – both on an institutional and personal level – engaging the struggle to reconcile the propaganda, trauma, heroism and racism implicit in a discussion of its nature.
In recent years, however, a large amount material concerning South Africa’s Border War in Namibia/Angola has burst onto the cultural landscape. Where a decade ago such material was scarce, in the last five years there has been a considerable surge of novels, biographies, documentaries, films, theatre, photography and visual art all dealing with this subject. It would seem that the muzzle on South Africa’s ‘silent war’ – in the cultural sphere at least – has begun to lift.
Furthering the resurgence of dialogue around this ‘silent war’, Not my War will endeavor to engage the complex personal and institutional discourse surrounding this conflict, as well as highlight the war’s continuing relevance and effect on South African society.
The exhibition is curated by David Brits, and participating artists are Wayne Barker, Christo Doherty, Paul Emmanuel, John Liebenberg, Jo Ractliffe, Colin Richards, Chad Rossouw, Penny Siopis, Christopher Swift and Gavin Younge. Exhibition and catalogue text by Natasha Norman.
For further information, please contact Cara van der Westhuizen, Tel: 021 480 7170 and email@example.com.
The Michaelis Galleries are at the Michaelis School of Fine Art on the Hiddingh Campus, 37 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Opening hours are Tues – Fri 11.00 to 16.00, Sat 10.00 to 13.00 or by appointment.
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In a video interview featured in the Telegraph‘s The Culture Minute series, Nicholas Hlobo reflects on what he’s learned under the mentorship of British artist Anish Kapoor when he studied with him as a Rolex Visual Art Protégé.
Hlobo reveals his considered and non-accidental approach to his artworks, and the unique way he stitches together heterogeneous material. Kapoor says that during the mentorship they avoided the “outcomes-based” method:
Photo courtesy Vogue
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Mathew Partridge attended the 54th Venice Biennale, where artists Mary Sibande, Lyndi Sales and Siemon Allen represented the South African pavilion in the Torre di Porta Nuova in the Arsenale Nuovissimo. Partridge says that the walk to the South African display was a “trudge”. Despite this, the venue was spectacular.
But it was another South African artist, Nicholas Hlobo, who stole the show with his monstrous sculpture Impundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela (All the Lightning Birds Are After Me), which took a central spot in the main exhibition at the Arsenale. The artist’s work also appeared in the collection of François Pinault, side by side with the works of Marlene Dumas, Jeff Koons and Paul McCartney. Says Partridge, “If this was not testament enough of Hlobo’s international recognition, then his role as an exhibiting finalist of the Future Generation Art Prize seemed to enforce his global appeal”.
Getting to the South African Pavilion at this year’s 54th Venice Biennale is a trudge.
Like South Africa, it is geographically situated on the periphery, at the back entrance to the Arsenale — the ancient shipping yards of the once-mighty Venetian navy. Walking there is an option but, if you do, you will get lost. You will find yourself in a dead end and your feet will feel as if they have traversed a continent. The bus is easier.
Bus? Venice is a floating city. There are no cars, not a single one in sight. A tourist trap. Day by day with the tide, thousands of visitors flood into the city on “buses” — water buses known as vaporettos. This is the best way to get around. Yet more spectacularly, they arrive in huge ocean liners that dwarf the Venetian promenades along the Grand Canal. The capacity of the city can be measured by these floating monstrosities, with the swelling masses of human traffic making the midday heat virtually unbearable.
Photo courtesy The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research
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Sean O’Toole spoke to artist Nicholas Hlobo who, among other international engagements, is the only South African other than David Goldblatt to be selected to display his artwork at the main exhibition at this year’s Venice Biennale:
It is increasingly difficult to keep up with the awards being showered on Nicholas Hlobo, the Joburg artist who has made the magical transition from bright young thing locally to notable young artist internationally.
A recent phone conversation with Hlobo, 36, whose work ranges from sculptures made from reconstituted urban waste sutured together with ribbon to sculptural pseudo-paintings and once-off performances, tells the story. “Congratulations on the double whammy,” I say, referring to Hlobo’s well-advertised travel plans.
Image courtesy Artthrob
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Last year was a good year for artist Nicholas Hlobo. First he was named the Rolex Visual Art Protégé for 2010-2011, an accolade that has granted him the chance of working under acclaimed British artist Anish Kapoor as part of an annual arts mentorship programme. He was then shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize and will hold a solo exhibition in Oslo this year.
Anthea Buys says that Hlobo has created a new artistic perspective which disrupts the typical aesthetic stereotypes about Africa. Hlobo says, “You have to find a focal point and my ethnic background became my focal point. That’s where my plot begins.”
“To be taken seriously in the art world you have to live in at least two cities at one time,” a friend told me, half jokingly, ahead of her imminent relocation to Cape Town.
A Serbian curator and artist who has lived in Beijing for some time, said she found it peculiar that so few South African artists have more than one address.
There is an unsaid and endemic assumption in the art scenes that cluster around the global art centres of America and Europe that regular international travel is a prerequisite for artistic credibility and success.
In South Africa travel in the name of artists’ residencies, exhibitions and art fairs is taken as a sign of success. Paradoxically, you’ve only arrived once you’ve left.
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In partnership with the Johannesburg Art Fair, PG Bison has announced a brief for their Student Design Competition. For the first time, the competition has opened a category for industry professionals, not just students. The competition calls for students of interior design, architecture, interior architecture and industrial design to design bookcases and tables for the Johannesburg Art Fair. The closing date for entries is Friday 12 August 2011, and will be judged by Ross Douglas (Artlogic) and Adriaan Hugo (Dokter and Misses):
PG Bison has released the brief for the 2011 PG Bison 1.618 Student Competition, adding an open category competition and partnership with the Joburg Art Fair.
Open category brief
For the first time, it has opened the traditionally student-orientated competition to industry professionals who may enter the new open category. The brief calls for the design of tables and book cases for the Joburg Art Fair. The winning designs will be built from company’s material and entries will be judged by Ross Douglas (Artlogic) and Adriaan Hugo (Dokter and Misses). The closing date for entries is Friday 12 August 2011.
Stoned Cherrie’s Nkhensani Nkosi has been tasked with coming up with new designs for her Love Movement range of Afro chic products, currently housed within 50 Foschini stores nationwide. Foschini has purchased an existing building in the Woodstock area of Cape Town to house Nkhensani’s design studio and workshop for her Stoned Cherrie – Love Movement fashion range, as well as provide display and retail space for her new designs.
Although space is at a premium, Foschini are of the opinion that an additional revenue generator should be considered in order to assist in carrying the operating costs of the building. While Nkhensani has defined clear guidelines as to her requirements for the design studio and fashion retail space, the proposed additional income generator is, as yet, undefined. The only firm guideline is that, whatever the extra source of income, it must be branded ‘Enjoy Responsibly’.
Photo courtesy 1sixoneeight.co.za
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