The Art of talking about Art – 5: S for South Africa

The South Africans are in India for the Gandhi-Mandela Series. It promises to be a difficult test for both teams, which is what will make it a most riveting watch. Well, since the flavour of the month is going to be South Africa, we thought it might be a good idea to look at a handful of famous visual artists from the Rainbow Nation.

The South Africans are in India for the Gandhi-Mandela Series. It promises to be a difficult test for both teams, which is what will make it a most riveting watch. Well, since the flavour of the month is going to be South Africa, we thought it might be a good idea to look at a handful of famous visual artists from the Rainbow Nation.

Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander was born in 1959 in Johannesburg. Jane Alexander was first noticed during her days as a student, for The Butcher Boys – three life-size sculptures of strangely deformed men with animal horns, sitting on a bench. Since then the highly regarded artist has produced Bom boys and Lucky Girls – her interpretations of street children from Long Street, Cape Town. Jane Alexander also lectures at Michaelis School of Fine Art. You can read more about her here.

The Butcher Boys by Jane Alexander

 

Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas was born in 1953. She was raised on her father’s winery in Kuilsrivier. She now lives and works in Amsterdam, where she is regarded as one of the most influential painters today. Marlene Dumas chooses thought-provoking subjects to paint about and takes a unique approach to the way she uses the canvas. In addition, she likes to merge and mine political discourse, personal experience, and art historical references for inspiration. You can read more about Marlene Dumas here.

Self Portrait by Marlene Dumas

 

William Kentridge

William Kentridge was born in 1955. He considered among the top ten most significant contemporary artists in the world. William Kentridge is well-known for his prints, drawings and stop motion animated films, shadow plays, mechanical puppets, sculptures, and live performance pieces, and most famous for using only charcoal, with a touch of red or blue pastel, to create near-expressionist masterpieces that interpret the effects of apartheid and much more here.

Telephone Lade by William Kentridge

 

Bonnie Ntshalintshali

Bonnie Ntshalintshali (1967–1999) was born on Ardmore Farm in the Winterton district of KwaZulu-Natal. Bonnie suffered from polio as a girl and because she was not strong enough for farm labouring, her mother asked Fee Halsted-Berning if she would teach her ceramics. She was one of the original Ardmore Studio’s young ceramicists. She had no art background or training in art. Bonnie Ntshalintshali died of an HIV-related illness in 1999. You can get to the bottom of Bonnie Ntshalinitshali incredible story, here.

Lobola by Bonnie Ntshalintshali

 

Jacobus Hendrik

Jacobus Hendrik (Henk) Pierneef (1886 –1957) was a landscape artist and is considered one of the old South African masters. He had a very distinctive style that reduced his subject to a series of geometric structures, using flat planes, colour, and lines. Henk believed South African artists should have their own style and set of rules to follow, divorced from the English system on which art education was based. You can read more about this trailblazer, here.

Hardekoolbome – Bosveld by Jacobus Hendrik

 

So, there, you now have something apart from ABD, Amla, and Steyn to talk about with your South African buddies when you meet them next. My, won’t they be impressed.

Previous Editions:

Update: We have compiled the entire series of blog posts on The Art of Talking About Art in one place. To read other editions of the series, click here.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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