Celebrate innovation and creativity

2010-06-03 00:00

THE work of 135 artists in Kwa­Zulu-Natal is represented in ­Jabulisa 2010, which opens at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg on June 8.

Jabulisa, which previously took place in 1996, 2000 and 2006, is a project of the Natal Arts Trust, which aims to showcase the art and craft in the province.

Artists were encouraged by KZN’s five art museums — the Tatham, the Margate Art Museum, the Empangeni Museum, the Carnegie Art Gallery in Newcastle, and the Durban Art Gallery — to take part in Jabulisa.

The result of their efforts, and that of the selection committee, is a wide range of works, from traditional paintings and ceramics to artists’ books, animation, fabric work, mosaic and woven items.

Speaking to The Witness ahead of the opening, the director of the ­Tatham Art Gallery and curator of Jabulisa 2010, Brendan Bell, said: “I wanted a wide representation of current art and craft production in KwaZulu-Natal, not necessarily those works I would consider ­suitable for an art museum collection.

“I am amazed and encouraged by the selection of works. There is a wonderful cross-section of styles, media and concerns which are a credit to the visual arts in KZN. [And] there is a deep commitment, deep concern and bubbling creative energy in our province which ­addresses many concerns, both public and private.

“It re-emphasises the notion of the ­visual arts as a barometer of our society — and for that reason, ­exhibitions such as Jabulisa 2010 play a significant role in our collective existence.”

The team responsible for choosing the works for Jabulisa 2010 ­included Vulindlela Nyoni, a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu­-Natal Pietermaritzburg fine arts department and a well-known printmaker; Terence King, an artist and former member of the Centre for Visual Arts; and Sue Greenberg, who owns and manages the Artisan Contemporary Gallery in Florida Road, Durban.

This core group of selectors was joined in Pietermaritzburg by fibre artist Jutta Faulds and painter ­Siyabonga Sikosana; in Durban by Nathi Gumede, acting curator of the Durban University of Techno­logy Art Gallery; and in Empangeni, ­Eshowe, Margate and Newcastle by local artists.

Nyoni said he found the task of helping to select the works “exciting and challenging”, adding: “I find it interesting that KwaZulu-Natal is the only province in South Africa that offers artists, trained or self-taught, the opportunity to be part of a travelling exhibition that celebrates the work they have produced in the past four years.

“Artists from every avenue of ­creative engagement, from craft to new media, painting to printmaking, installation to performance, are encouraged to submit their best work in the hope of being ­selected for this exhibition.

“I honestly believe that KwaZulu- Natal has some of the most innovative, skilled and exciting artists that this country has to offer, and this exhibition gives us the chance to celebrate that fact.”

• Jabulisa 2010 can be viewed in the ­Tatham Art Gallery’s main gallery, the ­Schreiner gallery and spaces adjacent to those galleries, until September 26. After its run at the Tatham, the exhibition will travel to Durban, Margate, ­Empangeni, Eshowe Museum and ­Newcastle.

JABULISA 2010 STATISTICS

Total number of artworks submitted – 558

Total number of artworks selected – 172

Area of residence – Northern KZN (14),North coast (19), South coast (6), Durban Metro (37), midlands (59)

Number of male artists – 52

Number of female artists – 83

Number of artists without formal training – 71

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