Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part II)

Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00

 Part Two:

Intellectual Rebellion/No holes on the Walls

Mmutle. You’ve now moved into an interesting period where you are now studying at University level, at Tshwane University of Technology. If you were to compare your training at Tshwane University of Technology and your exposure to fine arts at high school. What were the differences in these two institutionS?

Vusi. There is a difference, the difference was that in high school I was left to my own devices to achieve freedom that I had and I was passing, I was marked for doing what I was doing naturally. With TUT they were teaching me techniques now, that’s the first time I explored oils, you know, and I was taught how to mix, using oils and the techniques, and applying oil and all those sorts of things and exploring different dimensions that I’ve never experimented with as in using acrylic paints to oil, actually layering the artwork – scumbling and [the] glazing of the artwork. I really enjoyed the paintings of Rembrandts, the van Gogh style, the Vermeer, Dutch painters and stuff. Well, like I said we were exposed mostly to the Europeans [artists]

Mmutle. Of course

Vusi. Style of painting a subject in a way a still life and figurative type of thing…

Mmutle. Did it bode well to you that your training at Tshwane University of Technology tended to focus more on Western Art than it exposed you to African Art or South African Art?

Beuchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. The Future, 2015. Mixed Media.

Beuchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. The Future, 2015. Mixed Media.

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Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part I)

Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00

 Part One:

Childhood and Exposure to Arts Education

 

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Good morning Vusi Beauchamp, thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you.

Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp: Thanks Mr. Mmutle

Mmutle AK: I just want us to start a little bit at the beginning of your life, when were you born?

Mxolisi VB: 1979 the third of May

MAK: and where did you grow up?

MVB: I grew up in Mamelodi Pretoria and I spent most of life there.

Mmutle: So you are a Pretorian

Vusi. Yes, I was made in Pretoria (Jokes)

Mmutle. (Laughs), if you can just tell me about your early childhood experiences. What was it like growing up in Mamelodi?

Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp at work. Image source, the artist facebook profile.

Beauchamp at work on The Great Maestro. Image source, the artist facebook profile.

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Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu (Part Two): Towards a Concrete Concept

Location: LL Editions Fine Art Printing, The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa

Date: Friday 28 November 2014 at 09:00

 

 

Senzo Njabulo Shabangu I came to Johannesburg with a dream to become a pilot. I spent close to six months looking for academies. Ai I think it was really tough because I applied for bursaries as my father couldn’t afford to pay for the course  because it’s very very expensive. So I was in Johannesburg for six months up until my older brother and Robben Smith, the owner of the house in Kensington, one day asked me why I don’t look for an art school since I drew every day instead of wasting my time to become a pilot.

Mmutle AK. So now, here we are moving into a situation whereby you are actually coming into contact with art formally.

Senzo NS. so they just ask me that question ‘why don’t you

Mmutle. pursue art?

Senzo. …pursue art, Yes, it was like they just opened up something for me. The following day they advise me to walk around Newtown and check Art Schools en go to UJ (University of Johannesburg) to check if I can apply for a fine art qualification. I woke up, came to town, went to Newtown. But before I found my way to Newtown I had to start at Carlton Center. At Carlton I met a group of artists by chance drawing in the open space. They also had an exhibition as well. I spoke to them about my interest in an art career and they told me that there were some art classes offered by the Johannesburg Art Gallery on Fridays and Thursdays. I went there to enquire, but it was easy, the moment you arrive there they just said ‘sit down’ and gave you paper to start drawing….

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Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu (Part One): Today, Tomorrow, Everyday

Location: LL Editions Fine Art Printing, The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa

Date: Friday 28 November 2014 at 09:00

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Well I just want to thank you Senzo for giving me the time to talk to you especially here in the studio, not at your home where you will be bombarded with house chores (jokingly).

Senzo Njabulo Shabangu: (laughs) true

Mmutle AK: Yah, here it’s much better because it is your work space.

Senzo NS: Yes we can, …I understand, we can…

Mmutle: At the moment you are here at The Bag Factory neh?

Senzo: Yes

MAK: You are working on a new body of work? Tell me what is the work about actually in terms of the content of what you are dealing with for this new body of work?

Senzo. It’s like, I have been dealing a lot with issues of Joburg pressure because to me it is easy to realize that pressure the city has. So since I came here (in) 2006 I have been feeling that pressure like …at home when you are in the city they have their own expectations and as an artist it is also difficult. It is difficult for everyone the way a city designed because it’s got that pressure and for me as someone who comes outside of the city it’s easy for me to feel that pressure.

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Intraparadoxical contemplation

ïntraparadox is a coinage for the phenomena that occurs during an interview with an artist. Like any human being out there an artist has their own convictions and contradictions; for they are social animals. So intraparadox, as a dialogue produced as a result of an interview with the artist, is like an x-ray process that reveals the nature of the artist, their life and their art practice. It is important then that it, intraparadox, be written word for word based on the audio file gathered during the moment of interview with the artist, for I would like to present as closest an account as possible of the artist’s persona to the reader – a portrait of the artist. The reading must produce a reflection of the personality of the artist as it is, as it would be encountered when the reader, should the occasion present itself, meet the artist in person! The interview should be an intimate encounter of the artist in conversation about their work – this is the first task of writing the text. Secondly, during the interview as the ideals upheld by the artist emerge, teased out and made bare as the conversation develops around pertinent issues the artist is preoccupied with in their art production or practice; issues which might emerge during the dialogue, it is hoped, that an opportunity will be afforded the reader to delve deeper into the conception of the visual art object apropos to the  artist undergoing the interview

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Diary entry: Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu#28/11/Twenty14.

Senzo@work

Ï spent part of today’s morning at the Bag Factory, LL Editions Fine Arts Printmaking Studio in Newtown, Johannesburg, interviewing Senzo Njabulo Shabangu. He is currently working on a new body of work for an upcoming exhibition next year in September. ‘The exhibition is both here and in New York. I have decided to work in different spaces in order to broaden my horizon as an artist’  he states as he looks around him.

His studio is in Jan Smuts Avenue at David Krut Print Workshop. It is always such an honor to be afforded the opportunity to be immersed in the life of an artist. The next step is to make the interview accessible to you. This means the wordathonian chuchu train will be churning away behind the wordmachiniacon over the next weeks. If there is anything that emerged from my interview with Senzo was a sneak behind the vanishing corner of what theoretically his work could be about; Although I cannot speak with authority at the moment, but what emerged was an interrogation of the dwelling space, the apartment, the urban flatlands, as a contested space between those who rent and those who lease. I hope that later on, your reading of the interview will help us make headway either towards affirming this theoretical perspective or its refutation.

Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu @BagFactoryII 28112014

Summer

28 November

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2014

mmutleak@gmail.com

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Within the Class Coach, interview with Michael Selekane


Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Thank you Michael for agreeing to see me for this interview with regard to your work as an artist. I hope you feel good today, that you feel alright, despite the winter, the chills, I’ve heard that you’ve been to Grahamstown recently .

Michael Selekane: Yes, in the last two weeks

MAK: How was Grahamstown’s weather?

MS: It was very cold, but the last week of the festival it was raining, it was enjoyable.

–          Was it the first time you went to Grahamstown?

–          No, It’s was my third time there, but first time when I went there I exhibited at a flea market, second time I exhibited at the Barat Centre and this year I exhibited at the Albany Museum. It is like Grahamstown has different steps of exhibiting. First time there you do not start at a good space or gallery,  you had to start at the ‘French Exhibitions’, that’s where I exhibited last year, they call them local artists exhibitions,  then when you have passed those stages you get a chance to exhibit at the Albany Museum or Monument.

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Down The Rabbit Hole…

Introduction

This essay is a reflection of the screening of Pule Diphare’s Sister In Wonderland on the evening of 25 November 2010. It acutely tied in best with South Africa’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign which runs from 25 November to 10 December.

The first part of this essay introduces the film to the reader by setting the tone for the vital theme at the crux of the artwork. While the second part tries to introduce the subject matter to the reader through a subdued reportage the last section, using dialogue approach, focuses on the questions which were raised during the last part of that evening following the screening. Here the reader must be made aware that while great care has been taken to record every question through short hand a lot of editing went into the writing of this part to re-focus the questions and retain their motive. Even the sharp responses from Diphare as he deflected and dealt with questions were seethed to retain their directness. With that said the reader might find this part far more different (if not put off by it) compared to audio recorded interviews that I have hitherto conducted especially towards the end of 2010.

Pule Diphare is an interesting artist living and practicing in Tshwane/Pretoria today in that he still holds to the credo that a work of art does not need the artist to defend it in order for it to stand its ground in the echelons of creativity. It should stand by itself, for itself. Furthermore he professes individuality at an epoch where belonging is the norm.

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Cross-pollination: Interview with the artist Philiswa Lila

I Fore-Text


This text represent a typed version of a recording documenting Philiswa Lila’s thoughts around the recent  art making workshops presented to a group of autistic adults housed at Lethabo Le Khutso, culminating in an exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum (02 November – 26 November). Great care has been taken to translate the recording verbatim from audio to text. Herein the reader will gather Mme Lila’s ideas around transference of skills as far as visual art is concerned as well as the impact that artists from Lethabo Le Khutso has had on her  as  a practicing artist. It is also hoped that the reader will come to appreciate the fact that the writing tries to center around the interviewee; so the questions were constructed with economy to provoke undiluted calculated responses. Lastly the text is inclusive of verbal interruptions to retain nuances and mood as the interaction between the interviewer and interviewee develops. Welcome to interparadox, in search of an artist.

II The interview

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Thank you Philiswa for agreeing to see me uhmm our interview involves umm the workshops that you have presented to Lethabo Le Khutso, but before we get there umm I will like to find out how long have you been involved with the education programme at at the Pretoria Art Museum?

Philiwa Lila: (laughs) Ok, thank you for having me for this interview ehh I started at the museum in 2007 when I sent you an email, of course, asking you if there were any space for students and things like that and so it began with the Preparatory Programme where you trained us to be guides to the museum and then I made it that year and I started doing the guides and also my first workshop was, I was a co-facilitator with Nthabiseng as the main facilitator for educators that same year and it was towards…the middle of the year in April somewhere there

MAK: Umhum…

Philiwa Lila: Yes. So that first experience was ehhmm, I don’t know something unexpected in a way (laughes), I don’t know what to expect from it first time doing a workshop, so ehhmm, I really enjoyed it at the same time and I wanted to continue doing that that’s why I (laughs) I stuck around, you know, doing more of the projects here at the museum and then towards 2008…2009 that’s when I really got involved, I saw the direction of where I wanted to go my self with the art and ahhh, I think here at the museum has helped me doing these projects in the way that you don’t really get tired of what you are doing in terms of the career because us a lot of times people get tired of painting all the time find that at the same time they just give in a way so ummm it has helped me to come up with my own ideas in a way, different, for  different workshops programme at the same time it keeps you thinking for fresh ideas on how you can do something much simpler than what you have learnt at school so yah until know I am still around.

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Shifting the boundary: Interview with Nthabiseng Rachel Montshiwa

The NEO Emergence Art Exhibition Curator

This text represent a typed version of a recording documenting Nthabiseng Rachel Montshiwa’s thoughts around the recent NEO Emergence Art Exhibition which she has curated and is on show at the Pretoria Art Museum until 29 October. Great care has been taken to translate the recording verbatim from audio to text. Herein the reader will gather Mme Montshiwa’s journey from being an art student to curator, her philosophy as to what being a curator means, her thoughts on what South African art should focus on as far as content and context are concerned. It is also hoped that the reader will come to appreciate the fact that the writing tries to center around the interviewee; so the questions were constructed with economy to provoke undiluted calculated responses. Lastly the text is inclusive of verbal interruptions and drop ins of Se-Sotho words to retain verbal nuances and moods as the interaction develops and moves.      


–          Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Today we live in a situation where you having this idea of contemporary art in South Africa or cutting edge and I am wondering what’s your idea in terms of contemporary art, and in terms of cutting edge as far as young artists are concerned in South Africa, um briefly you know, your own opinion, what you think?

–          Nthatbiseng Rachel Montshiwa: I think South African contemporary Art should always mark the social politics there should not be a compromise by the author on what kind of subject matter you focus on and also your technicality must not be compromised because you are looking into new media you should always base your media or medium into what kind of financial background you have and also do not apologize for what you are doing technologically extravagant focus on South African social politics in current issues there shouldn’t  be a compromised on in terms of the artists media or technicalities base you media into what financial background you have.  And also Do not apologize for wanting to be technologically extravagant, I think art is a history tool, it is a historical tool and in this case one should always focus on what’s current what’s affecting us in terms visual language, because an aesthetic is not technicality. An artwork is a message not necessarily a good aesthetic where people should always be enjoying your work but also the reference to it is more important than what you see in a gallery but also taking into consideration that however materials you choose you should always think about presentation because that also puts a space into sort of international market irrespective of what you use you should always have a formal presentation.

–          MAK: So the presentation is very important in terms yah the visual art object in an art exhibition and how the artworks are presented?

–          NRM: So material and technicality aspect is never really an issue because you can always take a rumble and make sense out of it whereas it’s still looks like a rumble. What I like behind each artwork which I present in most cases is the story behind, I don’t like focusing on technicalities or the genres or focusing too much into the historical content of or categories you want to fall in, because we are busy moving forward art is a progress and it’s process, so that kind growth should always be taken into consideration and not necessarily the academical issues because we have also artists from the townships which are not academically awarded so you have these issues white cubes and also presentations of artists who coming from the townships and then you have the privilege already you have a barrier in between that because the way you approach an artwork will never be the same irrespective of where you are coming from artists coming from the townships and artists coming from, so that is why I like the stories because the stories puts everything so clear in the social context rather than looking at the material which an artists use.

–          MAK: Now the recent exhibition the neo emergence art exhibition which is on at the Pretoria Art Museum at the moment. What is the vision behind this exhibition, more especially as far as the future is concerned? What is this exhibition addressing? We know today we have lots of exhibition taking place, why is this exhibition important?

–          NRM: First all Neo Emergence means new or neo in terms of a gift, and also we are not a competition and we are in competitor with any of the other exhibitions that are taking place, either around the museum or in galleries. What we are trying to do is I am a young curator I am trying to be an agent to young emerging artists who have not been staged professionally by any of the art institutions even if they have been shown but not actually under a contract of some sort with any gallery and in this sense it means we are developing the business sense to it where an artists can always approach the business side of it which is Dikaletsa for a website to present their works free of charge and also to get recognized easily because nowadays everybody uses a lot of technology so in this sense in stead of the artist sourcing a representing gallery which is very hard to tap into Dikaletsa is that stage a free floating space where artists can actually market themselves also under my mentorship ‘cause that is my role that is my responsibility to make sure that that these artists are marketed well and also are recognized well whilst they are still young you know. It is like you should recognize a fresh thing before it rots, um so that is what we are doing and in future what we are trying to do we wanna grow as a mentorship space where artists can actually suggest different kinds of art projects either educative or in terms of exhibitions whereby I can always formularise a concept behind an artist’s work and have an exhibition dedicated to that and free of competition or free of too many contracts you know so it should be use friendly to any of the artists that come and approach us to have an exhibition for and we are focusing on um self taught artists, young artists, we are focusing on craftsman we are focusing on emerging artists in a sense that you have been in production for the past three years or four years of your life but have not had any formal exhibitions in your life so that’s where we are coming in and source either funding or source spaces , source the right marketing tool this is where the data base also comes in because a database is the market which will follow an artist you know so as long as you get recognize within this kind of formality where we are a brand then people can easily recognize us by any of the projects that we have because we will be having a logo on top of that so that logo will be a brand in future for other projects.

–          MAK: Now today,… in your own opinion, what do you think the role of the curator is?

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