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Sunday, October 14, 2012


(“Dutchman in Africa”, collage watercolour crayon by Anthea Martin)

artSPACEdurban’s Middle Gallery sees the opening of an exhibition of collage and watercolour by Anthea Martin on Monday (October 15) titled Re Imagining The Landscape – Sites of Ambiguity.

“I have been interested in looking at The South African landscape and the question of ownership, identity and memory,” explains Anthea Martin. “In its pre-colonial history, the land was occupied by people who had been there for centuries but who had no concept of personal ownership or a written language to enforce their claims. The exploration and colonization of land was a question of establishing ownership. As is well known, this led to war and conflicts that are still in process. It is the mountainous areas that remain untouched by human settlement because of the difficulties of inhabiting such areas but they also remain under dispute according to heritage or conservation issues.”

“Its recent history offers a means to reimagine the South African landscape, not as a series of apparently stable, discrete, areas of land, but rather as a connected site of complexity and ambiguity, where the construction of stability is rejected in favour of the uncovering of layered networks and meanings, which are embedded, one within (or over or beneath) the next.” (Beningfield, J. 2: 2006 The Frightened land, Land landscape and politics in South Africa in the twentieth century. Routledge, New York.

Martin has dedicated this exhibition to Thomas Baines (1820-1875). “He was an indefatigable explorer and recorder in Southern Africa of the flora, fauna, mapmaker, landscape and its indigenous people,” she explains. “In his letters he often complained that he had to shoot game for food, repair wagons, cut wood, build shelters, tend sick animals and people on the expedition, as well as find time for his first love which was drawing and painting.”

Re Imagining The Landscape – Sites of Ambiguity will be opened by Jenny Stretton, Curator of Collections of the Durban Art Gallery on October 15 and will then run until November 3. artSPACE durban is situated at 3 Millar Road (off Umgeni Road) close to the Waste Centre. More information on 031 312 0793 or visit or