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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Art Against Xenophobia: Rebecca Davis Speaks to Michael Elion About His Interactive Freedom Day Sculpture

 
Best White and Other Anxious DelusionsRebecca Davis recently spoke to artist Michael Elion who revisited his “Perceiving Freedom” sculpture on Freedom Day this year to reflect the ongoing protest against xenophobia in South Africa.

Davis explains that Elion erected the pair of sunglasses at the Sea Point promenade in 2014 “as a tribute to Nelson Mandela”, but the meaning went awry and the sculpture was vandalised. This year he returned to give the work of art new meaning.

“I just wanted to add another good story into the narrative of this country,” Elion told Davis, author of Best White and Other Anxious Delusions. This time around the artist invited people to share slogans of their own and to express their feelings about xenophobia.

Read the article:

On Monday, Elion and a small team spent the morning on the Promenade re-installing lenses with a vinyl covering. On the sea-facing side of the lenses, the words “One Africa/ One Love” are printed. On the back: “My Freedom Is/ Your Freedom”. Pens have been tied to the sunglasses to allow members of the public to add their thoughts on the lenses.

“I just wanted to add another good story into the narrative of this country,” Elion said, after completing the installation of the lenses. “What this is, it’s a gesture. I’m an artist and I want to make my contribution … The idea is to create a sense of unity, a sense of social cohesion, get everyone involved, let them contribute a positive narrative.”

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Photograph courtesy of The Daily Maverick


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A Magwood & Twigg Evening with Esmé Berman, Author of Alexis Preller, at the In Toto Gallery, JHB

Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and ShadowsThe Magwood and Twigg Book Salon and Pan Macmillan invite you to an evening of food and wine with Esmé Berman, author of Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and Shadows, a biography of the enigmatic artist’s life, tracing the evolution of his iconographic and cryptic work.

The event takes place at the In Toto Gallery in Birdhaven (near The Wanderers Club) and is a paid-for evening covering the cost of the food and wine. To book, email camillatwigg@iburst.co.za.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 02 March 2011
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: In Toto Gallery, 6 Birdhaven Centre,
    66 Saint Andrew Street, Birdhaven
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Refreshments: Wine and Food
  • Cover charge: R120
  • To Book: Michelle Magwood / Camilla Twigg, camillatwigg@iburst.co.za

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Nechama Brodie: Inside a World of Art Toys; and Interview with FHM Magazine’s Editor Hagen Engler

MunnyInside Joburg author Nechama Brodie peeks into the arty world of vinyl dolls, in particular the seven-inch Munny, produced by American company Kidrobot. The dolls come fully customizable, and 20 of the Munny figurines customised by local artists will go on display in an exhibition titled “Show Me the Munny” at Toitoy in Cape Town:

Forget the metric system — vinyl always sounds cooler when it’s measured in inches. Take the seven-inch Munny, a best-selling soft vinyl doll produced by American company Kidrobot, the world’s “premier creator of limited edition art toys and apparel”.

The Munny, and Kidrobot’s other big seller, the Dunny, has been included in the permanent design collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. And when it comes to the Munny, the only acceptable conversion is the DIY kind.

Inside JoburgBrodie’s column “My Cultural Life” featured FHM Magazine editor Hagen Engler. The writer/poet/editor writes about his wife’s weakness for Keeping up with the Kardashians and playing songs with Toast Coetzer:

I’m busy working on my third novel, typing away on my laptop. My books really take form only once the writing’s done and I start editing.

Now, it’s just a stream of consciousness about the little world I’ve created. It’s hard to escape outside reality though. I don’t have a decent desk, so I sit at a coffee table in my lounge. I’ll be watching TV, reading a newspaper, on Twitter…

My wife loves reality television and celebrity shows. I love sport. Often, I have to swap my wife a Stormers-Sharks game for a Keeping up with the Kardashians. It’s popular culture.

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Photo courtesy MailandGuardian


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New by Esme Berman: Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and Shadows

Alexis PrellerIn the course of his forty-year career, major South African artist Alexis Preller achieved national recognition and critical acclaim. Loyal admirers flocked to every exhibition by the master colourist. Yet, there were also those who were disturbed by his frequently cryptic themes and who denounced his distinctly independent and often enigmatic work.

Africa, the Sun and Shadows is a fascinating and detailed account of Alexis Preller’s life and artistic journey. This engrossing biography leads the reader through the twists and turns of Preller’s uncompromising career and passionate private life, tracing the evolution of his fascinating iconography along the way. It is a story filled with drama and told with empathy and skill by Esmé Berman, who was a personal friend of Preller’s and who has enjoyed a distinguished career as a lecturer, writer and broadcaster on art.

This book brings one of South Africa’s pre-eminent artists of the 20th century to life. Some of Preller’s most famous works are featured in the twelve-page colour section. There are black and white illustrations on every page (over 500 in all). The work of noted photographers David Goldblatt, Constance Stuart-Larrabee and Richard Cutler is featured. Alexis Preller was especially influenced by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin and visited European galleries and museums to study these artists’ works.

About the author

For decades, Esmé Berman has graced the art world with her profound presence and insight. She is the only surviving member of the revolutionary Wits Group consisting of the great artists: the late Cecil Skotnes, Christo Coetzee and Larry Scully, to name a few, and she has written numerous prolific art historical books throughout the years. Most notably, in 1970 Art & Artists of South Africa was published- a pictorial dictionary which has become a professed Bible for academics in the art field.

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Author biography courtesy Grahamsfineartgallery


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Nechama Brodie on Mary Sibande, Lesley Perkes and the Resurrected Johannesburg Art City Project

Mary Sibande

Nechama Brodie, author of Inside Joburg, advises the denizens of the city to look up, up up! and behold a new “Art City” installation by Mary Sibande entitled Long Live the Dead Queen:

Nearly 10 years ago Jo’burg launched the Johannesburg Art City Project, which aimed “to transform the centre of Johannesburg into the world’s largest outdoor art gallery”. The concept had been brought to the city by a Wits law student named Saul Symanowitz and was intended to promote South African artists and showcase the city’s urban-renewal projects through a series of massive public art installations, including a number of art “billboards” draped across inner-city buildings. The art indeed went up — mostly thanks to large private-sector support from Cell C — but the city seemed to resist the unwieldy makeover that resulted.

“We thought that we would transform Jo’burg,” says Lesley Perkes of Artists at Work, which managed many of the installations, “[and] that everyone would notice it was wearing a new dress. But the works didn’t speak to one another in terms of design. We learned some lessons. We’d proved we could do huge, logistic-scale public art. But we hadn’t really interacted with the walls of the buildings; curated the city as a gallery.”

Eight years later Perkes is getting the chance to dress the city again — this time with a single artist, Mary Sibande, whose artworks from her exhibition Long Live the Dead Queen will be displayed as 19 giant building-wraps in the inner city over the next three months, sponsored by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

Inside Joburg
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Image courtesy the Mail & Guardian


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Oliver Roberts’ Q&A with Eric Miyeni

A Letter from ParisEric MiyeniEric Miyeni answers questions related to his latest book, A Letter from Paris, in the Sunday Times:

You write a lot about tourists from different countries in Paris. What did you notice in the way that each nationality travels, and what do their specific idiosyncrasies say about their cultures?

What stood out for me was the difference between rich and relatively well-to-do travellers and those who are not wealthy. The poorer the travellers looked, the bigger their group was. The richer they appeared, the fewer people in their group.

The French have a reputation for being rude. Did you find this? Do you think their rudeness is mistaken for “Gaelicness”? Would you agree that they are more amiable, and justifiably so, when you attempt to speak a few words of French?

This is a difficult question for me to answer. I do not really know French Parisians. I was there during the 2007 Rugby World Cup. I don’t think there is a city in the world that does not show its best face and put its best foot forward when it is hosting a major event. So, frankly, I can’t say I know French Parisians. To have a take on this question I would have to return to Paris during a normal period.

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Peter Magubane Owns New York Gala Dinner

Peter Magubane

Man of the PeoplePeter Magubane, acclaimed photographer and author of Man of the People: A photographic tribute to Nelson Mandela, was honoured recently at a gala dinner in New York hosted by non-profit Shared Interest. Magubane received the Cornell Capa Award for Photography, not least in recognition of his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle, and promptly assumed status as “Man of the Hour”, as Sherwin Bryce-Pease reports:

Veteran South African photographer, Dr Peter Magubane has been honoured in New York for his role in documenting the atrocities of Apartheid and South Africa’s transition to democracy.

He was the main honouree at a Gala Dinner hosted by Shared Interest – a non profit fund that has enabled US Investors to provide micro-financing to economically disenfranchised communities in South Africa since 1994.

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Photo courtesy Shared Interest


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Peter Magubane to be Honoured with the Cornell Capa Award for Photography

Peter Magubane & Nozuko MakhuvhaMan of the PeopleRenowned South African photographer Peter Magubane, who immortalised Madiba in his book Man of the People: A Photographic Tribute to Nelson Mandela, is soon to be honoured with this award from the International Centre of Photography in New York. Magubane joins the list of previous ICP winners such as Annie Leibovitz and Karl Lagerfeld.

Peter Magubane is to receive the Cornell Capa award named after the famous photographer and founder of Magnum. The Lifetime Achievement award is being made to famous photo editor John G. Morris. Other winners are Gilbert C. Maurer/Hearst corporation ICP trustees award; Raphaël Dallaporta young photographer; Luc Sante writing; Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The Americans” by Sarah Greenough publication; Lorna Simpson art; Reza photojournalism and Gentlemen of Bacongo by Daniele Tamagni applied photography. ICP’s ongoing mission is to present and champion the variety inherent in the photographic experience.
 
The Infinity awards, first presented in 1985, were created to recognize the contributions of influential photographers and emerging young talent. This program attracts an audience of more than 700 prominent guests annually from the photography, art, and fashion worlds. It celebrates an international group of accomplished individuals who are receiving what is widely recognized as the most coveted honour in photography. Recipients are chosen by a jury from submissions compiled by a changing international nominating committee.

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Video: Interview with Peter Magubane on CNN

Man of the PeoplePeter MagubanePeter Magubane, acclaimed South African photographer and author of Man of the People, was the subject of a lengthy CNN “Inside Africa” piece recently. “Photography brought Apartheid to its knees,” says Magubane, detailing how his and others’ images brought the reality of the crisis to the rest of the world.

Here’s Magubane’s video interview with the 24-hour news channel:

Peter Magubane

To learn more about Magubane’s life, visit SAHistory.org:

Peter Magubane was born in Vrededorp, now Pageview, a suburb in Johannesburg and grew up in Sophiatown. He became more attracted to photography after doing some photography using a Kodak Brownie as a schoolboy.
 
He was highly inspired by the works of great photographers of the day, especially those from Drum magazine who encouraged him to start working there as soon as the opportunity arose. It came in the form of an opening as a driver and messenger but he three months later he made his way into the hands of Jurgen Schadeberg who trained him to be his darkroom assistant until he was given his first assignment as field photographer to cover the 1955 ANC convention in Bloemfontein. In the 1950s he covered many important political events, including the treason trials and demonstrations against the pass laws.

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