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Tuesday, June 17, 2014


(Animation still from Christine Dixie’s exhibition "To Be King" 2014)

The 40th National Arts Festival will be held in Grahamstown from July 3 to 13, 2014. The programme offers an awe-inspiring number of events across the arts. Herewith information on the Main Festival’s Visual Arts programme:

Supported by the Goodman Gallery, Hasan & Husain will exhibit a body of new work in the Monument Gallery. The photographer twins use popular culture, the media and Hollywood as inspiration. They are interested in subjects that interest the youth and forming the next generation, often highlighting the multi-cultural clash between religion and popular cultures and the dominating influence of Western theatrics.

14/30: Goodman Gallery and the Standard Bank Young Art Award is an exhibition curated by Neil Dundas and Lara Koseff, celebrating both the 30th anniversary of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award, as the well as the historical link between the Goodman Gallery and this prestigious national prize for visual art in particular.
The exhibition will present work by artists either represented by or associated with the Goodman Gallery, looking both at the period when each artist won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award, as well as work that they have produced since. The title of the show hints at the fact that – including 2014 winners Hasan and Husain Essop – 14 out of 30 Standard Bank Young Artists are linked to the Goodman Gallery.
The exhibition will feature the work of the following Standard Bank Young Artists: Mikhael Subotzky (2012), Nontsikelelo Veleko  (2008), Kathryn Smith (2004), Brett Murray (2002), Walter Oltmann (2001), Sam Nhlengethwa (1994), Pippa Skotnes (1993), Tommy Motswai (1992), Bonnie Ntshalintshali & Fee Halsted-Berning (1990), Margaret Vorster (1988), William Kentridge  (1987), Marion Arnold (1985) and Peter Schütz (1984).

Wim Botha’s artwork – commissioned for the 2014 National Arts Festival – is a room-sized installation within which viewers become immersed. Composed of a multitude of sculptural and architectural elements, the work demonstrates Botha’s fascination with traditional materials including marble, bronze, wood, paper and paint, and also those of a more ephemeral nature such as cardboard, polystyrene and fluorescent lights. These materials are classical on the one hand and contemporary on the other. These surprising juxtapositions create lines of communication from the dogmatic towards the artist’s recent exploration of spontaneity, improvisation and coincidence.
The installation’s central component is Study for the Epic Mundane (2013), commissioned for Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive, the South African Pavilion at the 2013 Biennale di Venezia. Constructed of books bolted together and sculpted into two figures that may be either warring or loving, dancing or fighting (and any of their permutations), this composition provides a central hub around which existing and hitherto unseen works come together in an environment that applies Botha’s technical mastery and conceptual elegance to create an experience that suspends disbelief.
The exhibition is curated by Brenton Maart, and is accompanied by a catalogue that demonstrates the development of Wim Botha’s interest in immersive, room-sized installations.

Located in the Alumni Gallery at the Albany History Museum, Christine Dixie’s exhibition To Be King re-conceives this historically and geographically specific space as Room XII , the gallery in the Prado Museum, Spain, in which the painting Las Meninas by Velasquez hangs. Informed by the first chapter in Michel Foucault’s book The Order of Things (1966), entitled Las Meninas, To Be King points to the fragility of the established order and envisions a different order in which characters and spaces from the periphery play a central role.
Christine Dixie completed her under-graduate degree at the University of the Witwatersrand and graduated with her MFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town. She is currently a Senior lecturer in the Fine Art Department at Rhodes University. Her work is included in both national and international collections including the New York Public Library and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, The Standard Bank Gallery, The Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Isiko Museum of Cape Town. In 2012 she was an Artist Research Fellow at the Smithsonian Institute.
The entwined relationship between place (in particular, the Eastern Cape), history and the performance of gender informs her exhibitions. Her solo exhibitions include FrontTears (1997); Track (2000); Hide (2002); Corporeal Prospects (2007); and The Binding (2010). She has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions including more recently Earth Matters – land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa (2013), Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, curated by Dr. Karen Milbourne; Deconstructing Dogma (2014), UJ Gallery, curated by Dr. Karen von Veh and Heaven, Hell, Purgatory – The Divine Comedy from the Perspective of Contemporary African Artists (2014) curated by Simon Njami.

The travelling project Homing encourages audiences to talk about what home means to them in the context of diaspora. It is an opportunity to move diverse people to interact and exchange stories, embracing the differences and similarities that unite South Africans. Sourced from the unique soundscape of Grahamstown, this meticulously hand-built interactive environment has been designed to be an accessible and exciting meeting of contemporary art, sound and live interactive participation.
Artist Jenna Burchell completed a BAFA at the University of Pretoria in 2007. Burchell received the Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award (2011), Arteles Art Residency in Finland (2012), Ithuba Arts Fund (2013), and is represented in the UNISA Art Collection as well as private and corporate collections. Her work has been seen at Arts Festivals (Klein Karoo, Aardklop), museums (Oliewenhuis, Museum Africa), institutions (UNISA Art Gallery, Michaelis Art Gallery, ABSA Gallery), as well as commercial spaces (Fried Contemporary, KZNSA Gallery). In 2012, her work If These Walls Could Talk was exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

Bridget Baker’s work is situated at the intersection of documentary and myth making, forming a series of complex visual fragments realised through film making, installation and documented re-stagings. The artist interweaves personal histories and narratives with larger historic moments, with an interest in the blind-spots created by official narrations of the past. Her practice is infused with humour, labour and frailty.
For the exhibition, a large artefact is freighted by ship from London to the Port Elizabeth harbour. Its arrival mimics its original function, that of human transporter or lift, landing passengers between settler ships and smaller boats out at sea before the development of harbours on the coast of the Indian Ocean. As part of the installation a new film documents this ‘retour’.
Jetty SCOUR is projected alongside the object, a strange relic from another time, whose function and purpose is not immediately evident. At the end of the exhibition, it returns to London, as its import conditions stipulate: ‘temporary admission’. Curated by Storm Janse van Rensburg

Curated by Portia Malatjie, it began with a walk is a selection of videos from Emile Stipps’ collection. The seven video pieces selected for the 2014 edition of the Festival are works by Kemang Wa Lehulere, Robin Rhode, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Penny Siopis, Moshekwa Langa and 1987 Standard Bank Young Artist William Kentridge in collaboration with Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins.
The exhibition aims to explore the curation of video works – an interrogation which culminates in the exhibition taking place in a cinema setting, where viewers are allowed the opportunity to see the time-based works from beginning to end; an act that is often a challenge in a gallery setup.
Portia Malatjie completed her Masters in History of Art at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011. She was guest curator for the 2012 MTN New Contemporaries Award and recipient of the 2014 Getty Foundation Travel Grant to the 102nd College Art Association conference in Chicago. She is currently curator at Brundyn+ Gallery in Cape Town.

The Impressions of Rorke’s Drift – The Jumuna Collection is curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe and, drawing works from the Jumuna Family collection, looks at the phenomenal legacy of the iconic Rorke’s Drift Arts and Craft Centre. The exhibition showcases over 100 pieces - mostly prints - from 17 artists. Regrettably, no formal archive or permanent exhibition of the work from Rorke’s Drift exists, but the Jumuna Family from Durban has been collecting pieces made in the Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre since the 1960s and have graciously made their family collection available for this exhibition. As a result, the public is offered a chance to see a significant body of work representing the Rorke’s Drift legacy in one exhibition.

Bookings for the 2014 National Arts Festival can be made online through the website – click on the banner advert above or go to Programmes are available on the website or free printed copies at selected Exclusive Books and Standard Bank branches.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Eastern Cape Government, Department of Arts and Culture, City Press and M Net.