Wired in the blood

2008-10-02 08:05

Ukwelapha - Healing, an exhibition by KwaZulu-Natal artists Gabisile Nkosi and Lindelani Ngwenya celebrating the feminine powers of spiritual and physical healing, will open at the African Art Centre in Florida Road on Wednesday. As the eighth of the recently relocated gallery's 12 yearly exhibitions, it is perfectly timed to celebrate women's month.

Internationally and locally respected artist Gabisile Nkosi explores the theme of healing using linocut prints that use metaphors and symbolism to unpack emotions and life experiences. Nkosi explains that, for her, healing echoes the need to establish balance through an integration of the spiritual and the physical, creating significance by exploring things that have specific meaning in her life and investigating their relevance to others.

Nkosi has been programme manager at Caversham Press, Nottingham Road, since 2002. She says Caversham gave her the joint opportunity to explore her unique vision as an artist (resulting in a growing body of fine prints) and leave a creative imprint on the lives of the women and children from her community.

“The prints [on exhibition] generously share emotions and life experiences with force and vigour. They affirm that she will continue to use her talents to change lives, to heal, inform and educate, emancipating the innate potential and unique capacity of all human beings who come into her life,” African Art Centre curator Anthea Martin explained.

Lindelani Ngwenya's fascinating sculptures, made from woven copper wire and Ilala palm fronds, continue the theme of the power of healing and explore the feminine theme of healing through the spiritual and nurturing aspect of women.

Ngwenya is a young artist who is becoming well known for a body of work, which not only includes copper wire sculpture (which may include ilala palm or even aluminium strips), but also etchings, lithographs and oil pastels. He started woodcarving and drawing at the age of 10, learning by watching his father carving wooden spoons and meat platters. Since then, he has completed a post-graduate qualification at the then Natal Technikon. Ngwenya showed his work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England in 2001. That same year, he was invited to teach sculpture to young people at the Christian Church Mission in England for two months. In October 2002, the African Art Centre hosted his solo exhibition and in 2006, he was selected as one of the Renault South Africa Artists at the Everard Read Gallery. Commissions include light fittings for the new Constitutional Court in Johannesburg in 2004 and a wall sculpture for the new Science Museum in Pretoria last year.

His sculptures Earth Mother and African Queen reflect a preoccupation with spiritual and cultural themes that are evolving as his work matures.

The African Art Centre is a 48-year-old non-profit organisation that aims to develop and promote artists and master craftspeople from KwaZulu-Natal and other regions of South Africa.

The African Art Centre's shop, now located at 94 Florida Road, Morningside, and open Monday to Saturday, stocks ceramics, traditional and contemporary baskets (traditional Ilala Palm and recycled telephone wire), wood carvings and sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints, traditional and contemporary beadwork, embroidery projects and traditional Zulu and Xhosa artifacts.

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