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Sunday, February 23, 2014


(Work by Nicolé Maurel)

An exhibition titled Aberdeen to Durban by Nicolé Maurel is currently running in the Main Gallery of the KZNSA Gallery.

Nicolé Maurel was the winner of the 2011 Emma Smith Art Scholarship and received R40,000 to work on a project. Maurel stayed in Aberdeen, a small town in the Karoo in the Eastern Cape for four months to teach ceramics to a group of highly talented and creative individuals from the Coloured community.

During her stay in Aberdeen, she assisted in teaching them how to work with clay, glaze technology and firing techniques. Artist Hillary Graham organized this workshop in order to give this community a chance to develop skills towards becoming self-reliant. Maurel aims to enrich and uplift the selected Aberdeen ceramic artists' lives. There are no contemporary art galleries in Aberdeen. These people live in very poor circumstances, with a high chance of unemployment and therefore never had the opportunity to travel anywhere else and experience contemporary art galleries.

“My work is centred in the investigation of identity within the local context of political change. I explore and question political issues surrounding cultural identity particular of my Afrikaans heritage,” says Maurel.

“My work is an interrogation of my social history as a South African Afrikaans mother in contemporary society. I research my past and present, basically asking two questions; where do I come from and who am I? I interrogate South African history, specifically colonialism, The Great Trek, the Boer War, the British concentration camps and apartheid to better understand my heritage and where I come from. I identify with these historical events as I find them to be representative of a resistance to oppression and colonization in my cultural history, which mirrors my process of the deconstruction of the self. I investigate the memories I have of my privileged childhood and teenage years living in Vanderbijlpark. I interrogate the history of the NG Kerk, because I had to attend this church and live by its rules as a child and teenager.

“My work interrogates the role of the Afrikaner male which has been threatened since the end of apartheid, creating a sense of depression within the Afrikaner community. The Afrikaner ruled South Africa, but with the end of apartheid, this changed.  The Afrikaner has no longer the power to oppress other cultures.  With the end of apartheid many Afrikaners face an identity crisis, wondering what to do and where to go from here.  With black majority rule and the difficulty to find jobs, the white Afrikaner male is struggling to come to terms with a new reality.  A contemporary Great Trek is taking place where Afrikaners move to other countries for better opportunities and futures.”
 Nicolé Maurel will conduct a walkabout of the exhibition on March 1 at 10h00. All are welcome.

Aberdeen to Durban by Nicolé Maurel runs until March 9 at the KZNSA Gallery, 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban. For more information call 031 277 1705, fax 031 201 8051 or visit