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Thursday, September 25, 2008


New initiative by David Krut Publishing celebrates South African visual arts, artists and culture.

The TAXI Art Films series, a new initiative by David Krut Publishing (DKP), celebrates South African visual arts, artists and culture.

By way of introduction, the ethos of the TAXI Art Films project can be summed up with a brief explanation of the origin of its name:

TAXI, as a brand, first emerged via a series of books, the first major series by a South African publisher on contemporary South African artists. The ever-growing series aims to improve visual literacy in South Africa and provide both educators and the general public with much-sought-after material on contemporary South African art.

Dubbing these books the ‘taxi’ series was highly appropriate, owing to various connotations of the word in our South African context: taxis (passenger-carrying mini-buses) provide affordable transport to the general population of South Africa. The taxi industry, fed on the diverse energies it encounters on a daily basis, has developed a reputation for frenzied liveliness and creative chaos; all the while the vehicles are propelling people from the place they are at to the place at which they need to be. The metaphorical extension of this, and the idea of moving people forward through education, made TAXI a fitting name for the series of books.

Attaching the same brand to a series of films extends the metaphor even further of a resource available to all that is capable of moving one forward. By utilising a medium that is more direct and immediately expressive than print, the project embraces the fast-paced vitality of the TAXI concept.

As an extension of the TAXI metaphor, film is an appropriate medium with which to move beyond print. Unlike the TAXI Art Books series, the content and format of which were quite uniform across the series, the films are not bound in this way by particular content restraints. Content decisions are based on the integrity of the material and its value in terms of exposing South African creativity and culture.

Its painful history and its development as a young democracy has led the South African society into an interesting interstitial space in which past failures come face to face the possibility of future successes in a diverse cultural landscape that is constantly shifting and changing according to different views of transformation. One has to admit that the transition South Africans have had to make from the past into the future is always complex and often uncomfortable and traumatic. However, the diversity of cultural heritage that exists in South Africa can not be found anywhere else. The potential for inspired art-making that arises out of these circumstances is great, and TAXI Art Films has embarked on the ongoing adventure of capturing part of this process for the benefit of South Africans and an international audience alike.

The first films of the TAXI Art Films series are:

TAXI Art Films 001: Touring the Constitutional Court with Justice Albie Sachs

TAXI Art Films 002: Friedrich Danielis in Conversation with David Krut

TAXI Art Films 003: Spier Contemporary 2008 with Andrzej Nowicki, Andrew Putter, Peter van Heerden and Leila Anderson

TAXI Art Films 004: Spier Contemporary 2008 with Ruth Levin et al.

TAXI Art Films 005: Pancho Guedes