This year’s National Arts Festival Visual Art programme marks ‘quite a change’ from traditional representational art forms – so there’s photography, performance intertwined with film, for example, explains Ernestine White-Mifetu, Artistic Committee Member for Visual Art and the co-curator (with Lara Bye) of the Performance Art programme.
WATCH: ‘The programme touches on all the different aspects of the lived experiences of being human’
Headlining the Visual Art programme for 2018 is Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2018 Igshaan Adams, who will present WHEN DUST SETTLES. Incorporating aspects of scented sculpture, textiles, found objects and performance, the installation will comprise between 15 and 20 artworks and take the form of an immersive environment in the subterranean space of the Monument in Grahamstown. Revisiting earlier bodies of work, the presentation will draw inspiration from conceptual themes, artistic processes and materialities dating back several years to investigate the evolution of ideas within the artist’s practice. The work includes a performative element with Adams’s brother, Kashief Adams.
GATHERING STRANDS is a retrospective exhibition of works by LIONEL DAVIS, artist, educator, anti-apartheid activist, political prisoner and former District Six resident. Best known for his linocuts of life in District Six, Davis held a retrospective at the National Gallery in Cape Town in July. The exhibition celebrates four decades of Davis’s activism and creative production.
UBUNTU – I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with permission to dream was curated by Usha Seejarim and draws on works from Standard Bank’s corporate collection. It’s a bold and thought-provoking exhibition of works by leading South African artists, including Dumile Feni, Diane Victor, Penny Siopis and William Kentridge. There are also the poignant paintings of the late Thamsanqa (Thami) Mnyele, young creatives such as Hasan and Husain Essop, along with other great artists. The Standard Bank Corporate Art Collection is one of the most comprehensive repositories of South African art in the world comprising over 1200 works by more than 250 South African artists.
DU30: 3 DECADES OF DANCE UMBRELLA presented by Dance Forum commemorates 30 years of the Dance Umbrella with a collection of photographs by John Hogg and Suzy Bernstein, tracing the story of dance in South Africa.
WARRIORS, COMRADES AND VOLKSTAAT KOMMANDOS is a retrospective of work by South African photojournalist TJ Lemon. DOGHOUSE from Danish company Makropol invites a limited number of people to wear VR headsets and attend a virtual dinner party.
James Webb reimagines his installation THERE IS LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT in situ, reflecting on both the symbolic space that is Grahamstown and as a message to the people visiting. This installation was commissioned to be part of both the Festival Main programme and the new Creativate Digital Arts Festival that runs over the first four days of the Festival.