» Zyma Amien’s solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum, ‘Real’ lives and “Ordinary” objects: Partisan art-making strategies with garment workers of the Western Cape – Continuation is part of the SASOL New Signatures Art Competition’s previous winner for 2016 continues the journey from where the winning work Paying Homage left off. The exhibition is a grand gesture of what the artist was preoccupied with then in a discursive journey that has also fed into her Masters studies. Presently she goes on an all out assault discourse tackling the reality of the garment factory worker. This is the exclusive interview I conducted with her on the morning of 31 August 2017•
Zyma Amien’s solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum, ‘Real’ lives and “Ordinary” objects: Partisan art-making strategies with garment workers of the Western Cape – Continuation is part of SASOL New Signatures Art Competition 2016 overall winner’s solo exhibition and accompanies the main 2017 art competition exhibition. A competition which historically speaking this year takes a step in an uncharted territory in South Africa with regard to this year’s winner Lebohang Khanye. Of course art by its internal nature of conception is very individualist and subjective. And as I have always said somewhere in my many conversations with both of those within the circle of this industry and those at the peripheral – it is an unfair affair from the context of competition as the artist is a product of social circumstances. The artist has to battle with social circumstances of their birth and art education in order to emerge amongst the best in a hostile industry that can proclaim you a contemporary artist at this instance only to replace you with another artist a few month later if not weeks or days. However Kganye’s win of this year’s edition of SASOL New Signatures has its merit. Talk of the charm of using a medium that was already there but pushing it further in an attempt to see what can be achieved with it. Encapsulate it with a personal anecdote and what you have is a balanced piece with both content and form intact. Although video as an art form in this country has not really taken off with the mainstream art supporting society its presence is being significantly felt here and there for its performative mode. Like the late Dot Vermeulen before her, we are about to find out where Lebohang Kganye will take video installation come 2018 this time of the year.
Continue reading Intraparadox: Zyman Amien’s “Real” lives and “Ordinary” objects
Our neighbourhoods, our townships, our urban areas bustle with talent. Some of this talent will sprout on fertile soil that has readily available resources that will help nurture it to reach its full genius through access to academic training. But some of this talent will fall on barren soil with no potential for survival due to lack of financial nurturing, however because within those unfortunate seeds lurks innate survival drive, the inevitable drop of water or treatment of that barren soil that imbibe the environment with fertility; with potentiality for growth and development can help unlock the talent.
Such a change of prospect privileges the world to have the chance to come into contact with the innate creative force that battle the odds to emerge victorious as it speaks the gospel of art through form, colour, line and volume witnessed in the art object that grapples with the issues of the artists time; personal or worldly. Unlike his contemporaries Tshepo DD Maponyane developed from a barren environment that I have hitherto referred to and claimed his place within the contemporary art scene in South Africa.
The aim of this essay is to trace the development of the career of Tshepo DD Maponyane based on an extensive interview that I conducted with him in 2011 shortly after his return from Bali. Already at that time plans were underway to mount an exhibition of his work at the Pretoria Art Museum to afford his home town to his oeuvre in one space. It is my hope that the reader will come to realise the conditions within which this artist has emerged. The critical assessment of the work of the artist is not part of the current essay but will form part of a separate essay entitled ‘Self Introspection – A critical assessment’ therein his visual art output selected for his solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum will be discussed.
Continue reading On the artist Tshepo DD Maponyane’s development
What follows is a speech prepared to open officially the For Sale Project Exhibition 2012. Due to the hype around the exhibition at the evening of 1 August and the throng of people who responded to the opening I never gave this speech. Avoiding the heavy burden of history I instead improvised and picked up the most salient ideas around the exhibition and its aims. The speech as it is reproduced below serves to pay homage to my contemporaries in Pretoria/Tshwane within the visual arts who have been involved in this project over the last decade. It is reproduced herein for all to gain an understanding of our attempts to move visual art forward in the City of Tshwane.
Good evening ladies and gentleman. Artists. Thank you for joining us this evening as we open this year’s installment of the For Sale Project Exhibition. My name is Mmutle Arthur Kgokong, I am a Culture Officer for the City of Tshwane and I am responsible for Education and Development at the Pretoria Art Museum. I feel honored to share this evening with you. I shall not give a critical commentary on the work that is on show for I believe that criticism in itself is designated to individual speculation as to what art concepts work better than others or which artwork is successful in a given context. Tonight I let you, in your personal capacity to be the judge – to be the connoisseur of fine art.
Continue reading For Sale Project Exhibition 2012
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
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.
Continue reading Cross-pollination: Interview with the artist Philiswa Lila