On the 23 of May 2016 I sat down with Taiwo Ohu against the background of his exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum at that time. He spoke to me about his training, the challenges that face in the crises of lack of traditional art making material and his then upcoming exhibition which was meant to erect international good relations between South Africa and Nigeria.
The first draft of Intraparadox: Interview with Nelmarie du Preez which I conducted on 26 September 2016 is complete. It has been long overdue but I have completed it finally ! Over the next couple of weeks I will be readying it for blogging. It has been a difficult period writerly to emerge from the 47 minutes of this interview because of other pending projects as well professional workload elsewhere. But as always it has been a great pleasure to delve into the body of work that was featured in the SASOL NEW Signatures Solo exhibition 2016 through the perspective of the interview. Du Preez comes across surprisingly as spontaneous and a humorous as a person. To a greater extent she is clinical in her execution of her technologically driven work. You can look forward to a discovery of GUI (Graphic User Interface) and the discourse between herself and this phenomenon that gives birth to her idea about art and technology. May we find the artist.
Subject – Intraparadox: Interview with Nelmarie du Preez
23 March 2016
[Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Good morning Banele Khoza]/[Banele Khoza: Hello Mmutle, how are you?]/[Mmutle AK: I am very well thank you, uhm welcome to Intraparadox, ehh I am glad you were able make time and see me ahead of your exhibition at the art museum which has something to do with your feelings, but we get to that point ehh towards the end of our interview. How are you doing man?]/[Banele K: I am good,
sorry, I am pretty…I am good. I think for me it is such a huge honor for me for this to be happening cause you have mentioned so many times that you will be interviewing someone, interviewing someone and, I think the past years when I heard I was like, ….yoh, I wish I could be in that spot as well, just the same exhibition I think when I saw Vusi’s one last year I was like …woh… I wish I could do this. So for me, I think I am really excited that it has come to my side as well.]/[MAK: Well I am glad to hear that because everybody has a fair chance to show to the world their artistic contribution and I think for someone who works hard like yourself ehh this is a well deserved opportunity. And ehh maybe we can even say that, as they say, things happen at the right time and at the right moment. Yah uhm with the formalities out of the way I just want us to go back to the beginning of your life so that we can sketch your portrait. Uhum where were you born?]
Refilwe Art Reach
6 February 2016 at 11:00, Pretoria Art Museum
Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: good afternoon Nthabiseng Montshiwa it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to interview you again after five years, exactly five years because the last interview we had was in 2010 and we are now in 2016 and today is the 6th of February and we are here talking about your…the project that you are currently working on which is Refilwe Art Reach. So I want to welcome you to Intraparadox, uhm following our first interview many years ago which is ehh five years really, how has the art industry treated you up to this point?
Nthabiseng Rachel Montshiwa: ehh firstly hello Mmutle I am grateful that you could make time to do this interview with me again. The art industry is very fluid. You can never say you are holding ground on a specific project, [otherwise when you are faced with a challenge] and things do not go well you become more frustrated. I have learned that you must always find concepts or avenues to explore especially based on the maturity level that one finds herself in these years so it has been ups and downs because clearly you can’t put food on the table every month and you can’ sustain your self the way you would like to
Mmutle AK: …uh-hum…
Nthabiseng RM: so you must constantly explore funding you must be selling things. But also not shooting your self on the foot by doing wrong concepts which might mislead you in this career. So from being a curator or an arts administrator at the time…I am still an administrator respectively…but we are not concentrating on art exhibitions any more because we would like to find other vocabulary to define what art exhibitions should be and what they should actually address. We have moved to art education programs for children in public schools specifically
NRM: So that’s the change I find my self in now and it has been fantastic.
© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2016
© Refilwe Art Reach Project 2016, Nthabiseng Rachel Montshiwa 2016
This work was commissioned by Refilwe Art Reach Project, Nthabiseng Rachel Montshiwa. Tshwane. Pretoria.
This work’s written format, dialogue, together with its audio version is a shared copyright work of the aforementioned persons herein, it cannot be reproduced in any form without consent of the copyright holders.
Auguries of Innocence
4 September at 09:40, Pretoria Art Museum
Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: I hope you are ok this morning
Elizabeth Balcomb: I’m good very good, yes, yes
Mmutle AK: You slept in Pretoria or in Johannesburg? (laughs)
Elizabeth B: No in Pretoria, geeze just up the road, very closed. I’m fresh
MAK: …yah well I am glad that you are…
EB: close, close
MAK: fresh, you know, after last night’s busy evening.
MAK: And thank you for agreeing to speak to me Elizabeth. Ehhm, I just want us to start right at the beginning. Where were you born, and you know, what was it like growing up where you were born?
EB: Alight, I was born in Westerneria, but ehhm when I was not even three months old my parents moved to Howick in KZN, ya, and then we moved to Pietermaritzburg after, …my father was a minister of a church, but this was during apartheid days, and he was part of the underground [movement] to overthrow the government and in his church he wanted black people to come…and and just start changing South Africa but [the church] elders kicked him out as a result and so we had to leave Howick and moved to Pietermaritzburg and he started lecturing Theology and so yah that was very part of my life was that experience, Yah…
MAK: So (interrupts)
EB: but, about, I wanted to be …no, I was told the moment I started drawing pictures that I was talented and I had always had that encouragement my whole life and when I was about eleven years old I saw a sculpture and I wanted to start sculpting from about that age
Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa
Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00
Identity /Ideology Bamboozled
Mmutle. So would you say the idea of identity in terms of the content of the work started to take shape somewhere during this period, as you were exposed to the work of Spike Lee in comparison to the work of John Singleton?
Vusi. There was another artist, an English-Nigerian who used Elephant dung in his artworks. I forget his name. But like in identity, interrogating the idea of identity you know in the arts Spike Lee’s ‘Bamboozled’ sort of put at rest my anger towards the way blacks were excluded. You know that movie it made sense in a way that entertainment and such things were not something that was reserved for black people in a way. Entertainment wise it was mocking them. That was the entertainment industry and I just wanted to find a way for escaping or teaching [myself] or finding a way to express my anger through specifying that there is a difference between an artist and a black artist. They are two different things.
Mmutle. You mean the difference between a white artist…?
Vusi. No-no, the difference between an artist and a black artist. You know if you are black you are not an artist you are a ‘black artist’. So there is that thing…
[Mmutle. So you are not an artist pure – you are a black artist.]
Vusi. That’s what helped me to interrogate this thing. I have always saw myself as an artist…
Mmutle. And now this dichotomy of