I recently had the great pleasure of working with the artist Rowland Daniel. This incredibly humble sculptor has been working on his art part time for over 20 years and only recently took it up full time. I was lucky enough to work with him on his very first solo-exhibition in the NWU Botanical Garden and Gallery. I found his works to be honest and straight forward while the recycled materials remind us of our duty to encourage green living and green art making!
Goodman artist Gerhard Marx was invited to be festival artist at the 2014 Clover Aardklop and I had the pleasure of working with him and photographing his work. The Garden at Night is a show about nature, about humanity, and about how those two things connect with one another. The intense dedication to detail and perfection is this artist’s greatest attribute while also working with very unique media.
There is a lot to say about these works, lots to discuss, but what it comes down to is that one must experience these works, the same as with any other installation piece. Mary Sibande’s alter ego “Sophie” who used to depict the fears, hopes, dreams, and desires of three generations of black women in her family, who were all employed as domestic workers, now takes a new turn.
Mary, having first dreamt about becoming a fashion designer, chose to use textile as her preferred medium and makes beautiful dresses that hybridises Victorian dress with that of the worker’s uniform, creating an intense contrasting motif which draws your attention to colonialism and issues of race, projections and perceptions, in South Africa.
With the new colour purple taking over from the previous blue, Mary steps into a new era in her work which no longer focuses on the oppressed women of the past but the transformed women of today. Mary is starting a conversation about herself, her own transformation as a modern black woman in South Africa.
By Kevin du Plessis, mixed medium on 100 % cotton artist’s paper.
I’ve been working on a series called ‘Colour Blind’ inspired by a sociology class I interpreted earlier this year. “I am colour blind,” a young student said, “everyone is the same to me.” I immediately recognised this argument from various other cultural debates and formed the opinion that such a notion does not resonate with our multi-cultural nation. ‘Colour Blind’ focuses on 8 different people’s ‘racial history’, so to speak, depicting their backgrounds in ink illustrations while the artwork shows only one colour, skin colour.
Flowing from this on going project comes ‘Looking to see in colour’. This work explores the continuing need for South Africans to engage socially and otherwise with different cultures, albeit a difficult process met with discomfort, and even disapproval.
The title encompasses what the work is about: looking, seeing, and colour. Dealing with perceptions and projections, and a personal struggle in learning to be comfortable in situations that ought not to be uncomfortable, the work looks to engage the observer into its own observations. As I started travelling into the bowels of Johannesburg I realised that I was being watched and that I was also looking back. I caught some of those expressions and relayed them as I saw them looking, while I was trying to see, in this work. ‘Looking to see in colour’ is meant to present an open seat to whomever is willing to sit.
Artist Ann-Marie Tully uses a visual and interactive narrative to speak about the serious issue of humankind’s treatment and views of our animal counterparts. Her work is at the same time very humorous while being serious when asking you the question of “now that you know, what do you propose to do?” The awareness that these works evoke from the onlooker changes your views on animals forever.