SA ART - POST 1960. At the end of the 1950’s Jet Travel brought about more communication with overseas - many artists traveled overseas & came into contact with overseas trends.
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At the end of the 1950’s Jet Travel brought about more communication with overseas - many artists traveled overseas & came into contact with overseas trends.
A quest for a SA identity became a concern. SA artists were aware of contemporary international art and wanted to associate with this art, but were also aware of the dissimilarities in physical surroundings, culture & society between SA & overseas countries.
Amadlozi Group was established by 5 Johannesburg artists & these artists tried to create an “Africaness” in their work. Amadlozi (Zulu) means “spirit of our ancestors”
Sash, Cattaneo, Skotnes, Khumalo & Villa
The UN censured SA in the 60’s & in 1974 it suspended SA’s membership from the UN. Sanctions were intensified & SA artists were prevented from exhibiting overseas (mainly white SA artists)
June 16 1976 - Significant for SA art - some artists became involved in the struggle & some were detached.
Protest painting - varied from confrontational imagery to symbolic art that disguised its meaning.
In Europe their was resurgence in figurative trends & SA mirrored these trends & experimented with styles like Superrealism & Pop.
Gender politics became an international issue in the 70’s & SA artists engaged in this as well.
Painted in 1979, Interrogators, It represents the three men who tortured, interrogated, and killed Steve Biko. Following his death in 1977, Biko became a major symbol of resistance against apartheid. During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, in the mid 90’s, the three officers involved in Biko’s interrogation were questioned while appealing for amnesty.
Various exhibitions & competitions emerged in the 80’s that promoted the arts & the development of artists. One exhibition called Tributaries (sponsored by BMW) had an impact on the recognition of various styles of art making. The organizers asked an artist - Ricky Burnett to collect work that represented the contemporary spirit of art in SA
Drew on work of less well known artists & established artists & also sought out black urban & rural craftsmen. The resulting exhibition challenged convention & was aesthetically diverse.
Many of the controversial pieces were neither traditional ritual art nor fitted the formal principles of western sculpture.
The term Transitional art is controversial - many people use it to refer to the period when the objects were produced. (can imply that the artists are “on their way” to a mature identity.
Mukhuba, Dancing Figures, enamel paint on wood, wire nails, found objects, 1984
Multiculturalism - ethnic diversity (Integration of Western & folk art )
The future of SA artists & others elsewhere seems to lie in recognising the prodigious wealth reposited in varied ethnic heritage, and in redefining their identity within the context of that cultural diversity.
Alexander, Untitled, Wax, Paint, Bone, Plaster of Paris , wood, steel, 1982
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