Peter Clarke: There was always tomorrow

By Candice Allison

South Africa is a very inspiring place. I am very much interested in people. […] People here are more involved with each other. The climate has a lot to do with it. And the variety of people — the physical variety — is very exciting in fact and the way people interact or not. I used to think of South Africa as a mad house but a mad house is far more interesting, really.[1]

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Zemba Luzamba: Postcolonial identities in motion

by Khanyisile Mawhayi

It was the formal qualities in the painting of Zemba Luzamba – notably his crisply delineated forms, vivid use of colour, and economical application of paint – that first attracted me to his work. Subsequently, I became intrigued by his complex layered themes and the question regarding the extent to which his identity as a Congolese artist resident in South Africa infuses his work. His paintings carry with them the personal, social, and political histories of the artist. Despite this specificity, they also speak to a broader sense of the artist as a global citizen.

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Maimuna Adam: Negotiating the in-between

Maimuna Adam has history of frequent travel and movement through Mozambique, Sweden, South Africa, and the United Kingdom which affected her practice, perspectives, and identity. These experiences of travel, crossing boundaries and developing work in a variety of other spaces is reflected in her past and current practice as a contemporary artist. In a series of exchanges via email and Zoom Adam and I spoke about how home, heritage, and displacement are expressed and documented in her works.[1]

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Umsi: Exhibition review

Note: This review was originally published online in 2005.

Umsi (the smoke) is a group exhibition featuring Lindile Magunya, Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi, Thulani Shuku, Dathini Mzayiya, Lonwabo Kilani, and Vivien Kohler. Inspired by Magunyas “documentation of the ongoing burning of the shacks in his area”; the artists share a “common concern around the housing problems in the Western Cape [and are] questioning the ongoing burning of the informal settlements”. They believe that through coming together they can “voice these social issues louder than an individual can.” The motivation for collective action is also a practical one. The artists, who between them have studied at every local institution accessible them, primarily NGO’s, colleges and workshops, “decided to create our own opportunities [to build] our group career as well as our individual careers [due to] the gap …between galleries and emerging artists, and … the lack of resources for …solo exhibitions” Guided by emerging curator Vuyile Voyiya, who has been mentor to the group, these paintings come from a workshop held last year as well as from works produced subsequently.

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Transformative art practice: a conversation with Kim Berman

by Simone Heymans [1]

Simone Heymans: Can you please share reflections on your personal art practice and what you are currently creating and addressing? [2]

Kim Berman: I did my masters in Boston, at the Museum School of Fine Arts at Tufts University. I was there from 1983 to 1990. So that was during the height of the State of Emergency in South Africa. The work that I was doing connected to the State of Emergency. Because I was politically involved in the anti-apartheid movement, with the African National Congress (ANC) in exile, we were smuggling out quite a lot of Afrapix photographs and video footage from Afravision. There was so much silence through the pervasive censorship and what was happening at the height of oppression. The documentary material we brought out was banned and illegal in South Africa, so it became imperative to try and put it out there from the relative safety of living in Boston. And my own work became very much about that; a way of documentation and bearing witness of what was happening in South Africa during that very repressive period. I used the Afrapix photos and video footage as source material to make very large black and white monoprints and drypoints as artists books. One of those works Alex Under Siege is now at the Constitutional Court which was a big screenprint I did for my masters thesis exhibition. [3] Then when I came back to South Africa, in 1990, I started to introduce a little bit of texture and colour in my work and made series of work, some of them small artists books that I called Rediscovering the Ordinary. They were about trying to find the ordinary in a South African landscape that was different to my experience of a land at war while I lived in Boston for 7 years.

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Madi Phala’s “Herdbooyz” at AVA – Exhibition review

by Mario Pissarra

This text was originally published on Phala’s page on asai.co.za, October 2005. A slightly edited version of this review appeared in Art South Africa, 2005.

For many years Madi Phala put most of his creative energies into mentoring others. Last year’s move south to Cape Town has coincided with him stepping out as an artist in his own right. Recent shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg have been well received by the buying public. His emerging profile is matched by a successful transition from small and modestly sized works to a much bolder scale, and in the increased physicality of his new works.

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ASAI Enters a New Phase

ASAI, 18 March 2008

From its modest inception as a website a little over two years ago, the Africa South Art Initiative (ASAI) has emerged as a bona-fide organisation with a mission to develop critical resources on art in Africa.

The ‘early’ ASAI was a private initiative. However, the project always contained a collaborative element, and it was envisaged that ASAI would grow into a ‘proper’ organisation. That time has come. On the 21st February 2008 ASAI was registered as a Section 21 Company.

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