of South Africa
|Assignment Background Timeline WWW Sites Recommended Books Related Events|
apartheid had existed for centuries, South African artists have not
always focused on apartheid and themes of oppression and injustice in
their work. One of the earliest and most influential traditions in
South African art is the rock art paintings and engravings by the Sans
people. Rock art often depicted landscape and people and incorporated
geometric elements, and this tradition is still influential in some
contemporary art in South Africa.
Another tradition in South African art began during the colonial era with the arrival of the Dutch settlers in 1652. As the Dutch expanded their settlement in South Africa, they increasingly imposed Western culture on the native South Africans, which affected art traditions. Before long, art was seen as a method of recording daily happenings in South Africa for the colonial masters, claiming that their work depicted everyday life in South Africa.
Sheep Watering, 1901
Oil on board (350 x 600mm)
JAN ERNST VOLSCHENK
Oil on canvas (695 x 1150 mm)
Riversdale Veldt and Mountains,1925
In the late
1960s, the first group of professional black South African artists,
known as the Polly Street Group, began making their way to the
forefront of the local art scene. The Polly Street Group acquired
their name because the artists were using a hall in Polly Street
Recreational Centre as an art workshop. Many of the artists in the
Polly Street Group focused on the use of vibrant color and energetic
movement within their compositions, and the most common media included
watercolors, pastels, and oils. Due to the apartheid regime, the Art
Centre was closed in 1960 because many people did not want black people
to have access to cultural facilities in the cities.
As groups and schools of black South African artists were emerging across the country, there were also several individuals that were very successful in their own right. Dumile Feni (1939-1991) first began making art in the 1960s, working as a painter and sculptor with no formal art training. Like many black South African artists at the time, Feni work addressed issues related to apartheid, oppression, poverty, and township life. Feni used symbolism and imagery that illustrated destructive life experiences because of apartheid until his death in 1991.
Farm fire, near Kroonstad, South Africa 2003
Digital pigment print (58 x 83.5cm)
Grandmother and Child, 1975
Silver Gelatin Hand Print (36 x 36cm)
Capt Benzien demonstrates the 'wet bag' torture method, 1998
Mixed media (86 x 120 x 6cm)
||"I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain ending - an art (and a politics) in which optimism is kept in check, and nihilism at bay."|
||"Certainly politics has always been on my mind, politics in the broadest sense. The Transported of KwaNdebele, was certainly the most explicitly political, while In Boksburg was a more oblique and muted engagement with politics. In all of the work I have done though I have been engaged with the consequences of our actions and of our values."|
||"My brand of idealism, that had its roots in the time I started photographing in South Africa during the apartheid years of the 1980s, has dimmed. There was right and wrong, it seemed clear to me on which side I stood. One would forego, what I might now call subtlety, for the sake of making a statement about injustice. The world's press set the tone and timbre of the reportage it would receive, and I for one was bought by it. Perhaps that is why I now look for ways to glimpse other worlds, which I attempt to enter for a while. But one cannot live them all, and usually I am left with a keen sense of my own dislocation."|
my recent work I use 'found' objects including found
film. I am
particularly interested in the things people leave behind by force of
circumstance; things which embody very specific memories and
experiences, yet have wider social and cultural resonance. These
objects are complex subjective traces of emotional investment not
always easily expressed. Being 'found' and often made and treasured for
intimate and private reasons, these objects are emblematic of a merging
of private and public worlds."
Dutch settlers arrived in South Africa
Jan Ernst Abraham Volschenk was born
Hugo Naude was born
Volschenk first exhibits artwork in Cape
exhibits work in Cape Town
Goldblatt was born in Randfontein (currently living and working in
Jan Ernst Abraham Volschenk dies
Feni was born in
Hugo Naude dies
Williamson was born in England
(currently living and working in Cape Town )
Africa was invited to the Venice Biennial
Street Art Centre opened in Johannesburg
Kentridge was born in Johannesburg
Africa was invitied to the Sao Paul Biennial
Street Art Centre closed
Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre (aka Rorke’s Drift)
was established in Natal
Drift was officially established as the School of Fine Arts
of the Thupelo Workshops in Johannesburg (currently located in Cape
Dumile Feni died
Apartheid; Nelson Mandela becomes president
Artthrob, a visual arts publication, was founded by Sue Williamson
International Artist Database
This website has information on contemporary South African artists such as Dumile Feni, William Kentridge, Jane Alexander, Sue Williamson, and more.
ARTTHROB: Contemporary Art in South Africa
Artthrob was founded by Sue Williamson in 1997 and it is now "South Africa's leading contemporary visual arts publication."
Visual Arts Library: The Legacy Project
This webpage is part of The Legacy Project website. (The Legacy Project "will build a global exchange on the enduring consequences of the many historical tragedies of the 20th century.") The Visual Arts Library features work from artists all over the world, including Jane Alexander, William Kentridge, and Sue Williamson. The library includes high quality images of the artwork and also background information on the artists and the artwork.
Reclaiming Art: Reclaiming Space - Post Apartheid Art from South Africa
This webpage is part of the National Museum of African Art website. Reclaiming Art: Reclaiming Space was first exhibited in the Museum in 1999, but still remains intact as a virtual exhibition.
Michael Stevenson Gallery
This website is for the Michael Stevenson Gallery located in Cape Town, South Africa. The website provides information on upcoming and previous contemporary art exhibitions, publications by and about contemporary South African artists, and background information on contemporary South African artists such as David Goldblatt, Penny Siopis, and Guy Tillim.
David Goldblatt: Photographs from South Africa
This website is a virtual exhibition of David Goldblatt's work. It includes a biography, his photographs, and an audio narration about his work.
What is Thupelo?
This website (loads very slowly) provides information about the Thupelo Workshops, including previous workshops and upcoming workshops.
List of South African artists on Wikipedia