Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: A year in the arts

Another year has gone past. As we look back to see our failures and successes, try to solve the problems and add more to the good, we have to look into the future.

With a possibility of another recession coming our way next year, it makes life even more unpredictable. I found this interesting part of a discussion on Art Times where Mary Corrigall was asked whether a recession has  any positive role to play in the art world. She responds

“Recessions are never good for art-making, unless you are of the thinking that it somehow forces the art world to reconnect with its “soul”, the grander purpose of art rather than its commercial value thus ridding the art world of all the avaricious impostors that cling to it during the good times. Personally, I think this is unlikely to occur given how entrenched art is within circuits of commercial exchange. If anything there will be heightened awareness of its monetary value.”

The reconnecting with the “soul” part is quite interesting. It reminds me of a statement that Johans Borman wrote on the preface of the exhibition catalogue for Art that inspires which l quote “......all artists, past and present, who have the courage and conviction to start with a ‘blank canvas’ and bear their souls...’

2011 was a very challenging yet interesting year in the arts, with major highlights being the all important event in the art world, the Venice Biennale, which had three African countries taking part – South Africa, Egypt and Zimbabwe.

The FNB Joburg Art Fair, the Frieze Art Fair, the Rendezvous Focus Painting Exhibition at the NWU Gallery in Potchefstroom, two retrospective exhibition of Vladimir Tretchikoff 93 artworks and that of Peter Clark (who l had the privilege to shake hands with and have a brief chat with) at the Iziko National Gallery of South Africa were the major highlights of the year.

Colour Africa 2011, Munich, Germany

In the beginning of the year, my work was selected to be part of a group exhibition to be held in Munich Germany. The exhibition, which was opened in July, was titled 'Colour Africa 2011' and included 20 Zimbabwean artists who showcased contemporary paintings and graphics. The exhibition was organised and managed by Gallery Delta, the City of Harare and the City of Munich. To view images of this exhibition click here

 ‘At night we dream during the day we see’, Association for Visual Arts (AVA), Cape Town

In August 2011, the association held a group exhibition of paintings by eight artist including myself. The exhibition ran under the title ‘At night we dream during the day we see’. According to Kirsty Cockrill, director and curator of the exhibition, the exhibition was linked to political surrealism. I had two paintings in the exhibition, which writer Veronica Wilkinson described of as being resonate of a style akin to Robert Hodgins.
The opening night of the exhibition

In the same month, l was elected to sit on the board of the Association for a period of two years. To give a brief background, the AVA is located in the heart of Cape Town and  is one of Cape Town’s oldest non-profit art galleries, showcasing contemporary South African art in all media.

AVA’s main priority and objective is the promotion and advancement of visual art and artists in South Africa, with particular emphasis on artists from the Western Cape, both established and emerging, formally trained and self-taught. It achieves its mandate in several ways by hosting exhibitions which change every four weeks and by providing funds to artists to buy art materials through it ArtReach Fund. For more information, visit their website at

In October, l took part in the exhibition ‘Persona’ at Johans Borman Fine Art. I was very honoured that my artwork, “The dog anatomy lesson”, was being shown next to great and internationally acclaimed South African masters. 

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