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Thursday, June 20, 2013


Currently running in the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg is the International Textile Challenge: France, Japan and South Africa exhibition.

In June 2010, 30 South African fibre artists were invited to join Marie-Jose Michel from France and Izumi Takamori from Japan in an International Textile Challenge.

The challenge was simple. For the theme, Movie Directors, 30 film directors were chosen, five each from France, Japan and South Africa and the balance of 15 from around the world. This provided an opportunity for most participants to research movie directors previously unheard of or unfamiliar to them.

Each director was allocated to three artists, one from each country, who produced 50x50 centimetre artworks in fabric. Each participant was required to interpret an aspect of the film director, either the man himself, or a particular movie, or a general theme associated with his work.

The exhibition of 90 textiles has been seen at the Yokohama International Quilt Week in Japan followed by an exhibition in Korea and at four venues in France. Each textile is exhibited with a mission statement and the comparison between different ideas and techniques used makes for very interesting viewing.

The exhibition is now touring South Africa and the Tatham Art Gallery is one of the selected hosts. The Tatham pays recognition to well-known Durban fibre artist, Colleen Roberts, who was responsible for coordinating the South African contribution and touring programme.

As part of the celebrations around the International Textile Challenge exhibition, the Tatham has arranged a series of Movie Evenings on Wednesday nights for the duration of the exhibition. This will take the form of a simple meal in the Coffee Shop with a selected movie in the Lecture Theatre afterwards.

All movies will be by directors represented in the exhibition and will be introduced by Anton van der Hoven and Jill Arnott from the University Film Club which is assisting with the project.

Van der Hoven said: “After some discussion, we have decided to screen a series of classic films by six directors who are generally acknowledged as being among the greatest and have been ‘quilted’ in this exhibition. Our list, but not necessarily in order of screening, are Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931), Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946), Yasujiro Ozu’s Late Spring (1949), Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows (1959), Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove (1963). Booking for the movie evenings is essential. Contact Kobie on 033 392 2811 or email: for bookings, costs and other details.

The International Textile Challenge exhibition runs until July 14 at the Tatham Art Gallery which is situated opposite the Town Hall in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg. More information on 033 392 2801.