» Sometime in 2005 the exhibition Take Me To The River (TMTTR) took place at the Pretoria Art Museum¹. That exhibition featured a group of international artists amongst them South African artists, Nicholas Hlobo, Sharlene Khan and Churchill Madikida (now Songezile Madikida). At that time the Genesis II exhibition was at its infancy. I recall how at the opening of that exhibition on the evening of Wednesday 25 May Together with some of the Education Assistants (Museum Volunteers) of that time, Thami Msimango, Nthabiseng Rachel Montshiwa and Mxolisi Xaba, we looked at what the TMTTR as a project had achieved; which was the group exhibition as well as the incorporation of art made by learners from Gatang Secondary School. This left us with a satisfied feeling that the learners eventually when they arrived that evening to for the opening would see where art can take them and where it eventually belonged when an artists is established; when their work became heritage.
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.
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….