Gallery strives to preserve history

2019-07-30 06:01
Family shares passion of art and uses it to tell stories of their community. From left are: Gretha-Sue Alexander, Deirdre Alexander, Kenny Alexander and Tyla Alexander.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Family shares passion of art and uses it to tell stories of their community. From left are: Gretha-Sue Alexander, Deirdre Alexander, Kenny Alexander and Tyla Alexander.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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The Art in Athlone gallery aims to preserve the history of its community while providing space for creativity at their new premises in Thornton Road.

The gallery is the brainchild of retired Kenny Alexander, a senior resident.

It specialises in, but is not limited to visual art and Kenny works with his family to narrate stories of Athlone as well as the social issues faced by the citizens through art.

It is full of different paintings, with most of them carrying an emotion-evoking connotation. These include the paintings from the apartheid era including the unforgotten Trojan Horse Memorial, the old and popular buildings in the community, to significant market places and paintings highlighting issues around depression, gender-based violence and inequality.

He recently made a painting of John Fredericks, an award-winning author who passed on recently.

The gallery was started from his home in June last year and a year later it moved to the new premises. He is planning an official launch that will take place on Saturday 24 August.

According to Kenny’s wife, Deirdre Alexander, this was due to limited space and growing demand from the public.

Kenny, through the help of his family, managed to get a “perfect spot” to showcase the work, “luckily at a very historic” part of Athlone.

This is because the place is only a few miles away from the significant Trojan Horse Memorial, where three residents were allegedly brutally killed by the police under the apartheid regime and it is on the same road as the Alexander Sinton Secondary School where learners used to gather back then.

It is in an old church building that has not been used for a long time. Kenny says he had always loved art and uses it to express himself and tell the untold stories.

He says Athlone is among communities that are not well recognised and its potential is not realised in the Cape Flats. Kenny says there are people and or relatives of struggle veterans that never received recognition, which results in people not being fully able to offload their feelings and allow healing from the traumas of the past. “We get people who become emotional from looking at some of the paintings, saying they bring back memories of the past and portrays the real life of ordinary citizens,” Kenny says.

They also run an exhibition between 09:00 and 15:00 on weekdays.

It’s open to the public and various activities will be taking place at a minimum cost.

Deirdre says they will only be charging a fee to cover costs of the programmes which will range from painting lessons, craft, knitting to talks by different expects and hosts shows.

The youth is encouraged to take advantage of the programmes.

V For more information on the exhibition, email info.artinathlone@gmail.com or visit the Art In Athlone Facebook page.

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