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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Engaging With The Masters of Art to Chronicle 20 Years of Democracy

The Beauty of the LineThe Bag Factory has been supporting local artists for more than 20 years, writes Gabrielle Ozynski in an article titled, “The Bag Factory: nurturing South African art since 1991″.

Ozynski explores the art and artists who inhibit these walls, “tucked away in Fordsburg near the Oriental Plaza, in the west of the Johannesburg inner city”.

It’s here that Ozynski finds Blessing Ngobeni, winner of the 2012 Reinhold Cassirer Award.

Ngobeni tells Ozynski about his work for the Dialogue with the Masters exhibition that was held from 22 to 24 August at the Sandton Convention Centre. The exhibition called for contemporary artists to engage with the works of South African masters to celebrate 20 years of democracy. Ngobeni engaged with the legendary artist Dumile Feni, who died while in exile in America in 1991:

“Dumile Feni was free as an artist even though he was oppressed. To engage visually with Feni, I looked at how he was neglected, how he was isolated and ended up a damaged person. He was in exile and then he died. But now he is alive again through this work.”

Find out more about Feni’s life and work in the book by Chabani Manganyi The Beauty of the Line: The Life and Times of Dumile Feni.

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Iziko National Gallery Exhibiting Work by George Hallett, Titled A Nomand’s Harvest

Moving in TimeJournalist Chris Thurman recently visited the Iziko National Gallery in Cape Town‘s current exhibition of George Hallett’s work, titled A Nomad’s Harvest, reviewing it for Business Day.

Thurman notes that Hallett, author of Moving in Time: Images of Life in a Democratic South Africa, succeeds in reflecting the nomadic qualities of both himself and his subjects, capturing his egalitarianism and humanism in his work. The list of people photographed by Hallett is remarkable, says Thurman. “As a list, it reads like a who’s who of South African writers, artists and activists: from Richard Rive (his high school English teacher) to James Matthews to Dumile Feni; from Louis Maqhubela to Yusuf Dadoo and Alex La Guma; from Dennis Brutus to Gerard Sekoto and Louis Moholo. And then of course there’s Nelson Mandela. And Desmond Tutu.”

Each of the images in A Nomad’s Harvest, the George Hallett retrospective on display at the Iziko National Gallery in Cape Town (until July 9), could be seen to relate aesthetically and thematically to the title of the exhibition. Hallett has travelled to and worked in dozens of countries, driven by an admixture of compulsion, restlessness and sheer curiosity, amply demonstrated by the photographs displayed.

One series in particular, however, seems to present a group of mirrors reflecting something of the nomadic photographer himself.

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Neelika Jayawardane Discusses George Hallet’s Captivating Photographs of Nelson Mandela

Moving in Time“Hallett’s photographs helped produce the iconic image of Nelson Mandela in the global imaginary; they also helped re-fashion global—and internal—reflections about the ‘new’ nation, moulding how we continue to see South Africa via Mandela’s, his adoring subjects’, and his adversaries’ performances for the camera,” writes Neelika Jayawardane for Africa is a Country.

Jawardane discusses the photographs taken by George Hallet, author of Moving in Time: Images of Life in a Democratic South Africa, during the time after Nelson Mandela was released from prison, noting that his unique way of capturing Madiba “became an intrinsic part of the reconstruction of Mandela, communicating a transformative process that challenged the world to embrace a new vision of Mandela, the ANC, and the nation”.

In 1994, the ANC commissioned South African photographer George Hallett to document the electoral process and first democratic government. During the year in which Hallett covered the electoral process, his images of Mandela were published in newspapers around the world. In 1995, Hallett’s photographs were later published in a book, titled Images of Change, under the auspices of the African National Congress’ Department of Information and Publicity; the little known-publisher was Nolwazi Educational Publishers, located in Braamfontein, South Africa. The book appeared in landscape-format, with 140 pages of captioned, black and white photographs, and an introduction by Pallo Jordan. On the cover of the book is a photograph of Mandela, deep in conversation on a mobile phone—his face turned away from the camera—as an aproned woman, instantly recognisable in the landscape of domestic labour in South Africa, walks past him nonchalantly on her way to one of her many daily tasks: to put a full toilet roll in a bathroom.

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