De Arte - Volume 2014, Issue 90, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 2014, Issue 90, 2014
Author Bernadette Van HauteSource: De Arte 2014, pp 2 –3 (2014)More Less
In the increasingly competitive world of publishing it is important to honour the fundamental objective of an academic journal, which is to focus on original research. The high academic standard of de arte is a non-negotiable priority and we ensure that the articles published are of high quality by adopting a rigorous 'blind' peer-review process. In order to emphasise our primary role of featuring original scholarly research, we have sought to increase the proportion of the journal devoted to articles and to eliminate the sections on 'Views and (Re)Views' and 'Collecting and Curating'. While the dominant style is of a scholarly nature, the journal still invites contributions for its rubric Book Reviews.
Author Beschara KaramSource: De Arte 2014, pp 4 –23 (2014)More Less
William Kentridge's Drawings for Projection series (1989-2003) consists of nine short, animated, charcoal, hand-drawn films, produced during a specific South African cultural and historical period. Kentridge's films have trauma and memory (personal and collective) as their main themes. This article further elucidates Kentridge's works by linking memory and trauma and his representation of the horror of apartheid through the unique term of 'postmemory' (Hirsch 1997). It is this concept that is central to understanding how and why Kentridge is able to document apartheid's atrocities and their traumatic aftermath. Several other seminal concepts from the discourse of memory and trauma have been utilised, for instance, Henri Raczymow's (1994) 'memory shot through with holes'; Geoffrey Hartmann's (2003) 'witnesses by adoption'; Michael Levine's (2006) 'belated witness' and Efraim Sicher's (2004) 'absent memory'. This article, through the discourse of postmemory, has proffered a new interpretation of Kentridge's double-enacted, aesthetic operation of inscription and erasure, as exemplifying the concept of a postmemorial aesthetic. The film Felix in Exile is analysed in some detail, followed by further analysis of several of his other films in the series.
Author Philippa HobbsSource: De Arte 2014, pp 24 –41 (2014)More Less
By reconstructing the context and symbolic language of artist-weaver Allina Ndebele's little-known allegorical tapestry, The Tree of Life (1986-87), this article investigates the didactic strategies in her tapestries and the texts she writes to accompany them. Based largely on a series of recent interviews with Ndebele about this work, the essay considers the roles that animals, humans and spiritual forces play in an invented tapestry story that is a departure from her narratives based on prototypes inherited through storytelling. The Tree of Life reveals Ndebele's innovation and mastery of weaving, also articulating attitudes to local customs and beliefs at Ekuhlengeni Mission in the Zulu heartland in the early 1980s. Transgressing the strictures of religious authority, this large work and the text she coupled to it challenge the limited possibilities once available to female predecessors who were the custodians of stories dense with codes of behaviour, but who exerted little social control outside 'fireside' teachings. Ndebele's descriptive texts and suggestive woven imagery co-exist in a complex relationship, creating tension and meaning that have implications for her didactic work and its audiences.
A luxury printed Book of Hours in the Grey Collection : the painting of metal and woodcut illuminations in the sixteenth century : researchAuthor Carol SteynSource: De Arte 2014, pp 42 –59 (2014)More Less
This article concerns one of the eight early printed Books of Hours in the Grey Collection of the National Library in Cape Town. These books were all printed in Paris between 1498 and 1530, and had been bought by Sir George Grey when he was governor of the Cape Colony between 1854 and 1861. One of the books, called here Book 4b4 according to its shelf number, is by far the most glamorous of the eight. Book 4b4, printed in 1514, was intended to be a deluxe (and therefore expensive) edition and it is extremely attractive, having 23 full-page illuminations and coloured border pictures on every page. A comparison with another Book of Hours in the Grey Collection, Book 7a18, printed in 1513, shows that four of its five large illuminations had been painted over the same metalcuts as similar pictures in Book 4b4. It is also possible to compare the illuminations in Book 4b4 with those in two other Books of Hours, printed in 1510 and 1515, where many of the same metalcuts were used. The study sheds new light on the different ways in which metalcuts were painted by different artists and shows that artists imposed their own styles despite painting over the same metalcuts.
Source: De Arte 2014, pp 60 –76 (2014)More Less
Adam Madebe's Ploughman (1992) is mounted on a storey-high pedestal outside Hurudza House, the head office of Agribank, in Harare in Zimbabwe. Interpreting Ploughman in the context of land struggles in Zimbabwe, we suggest that the sculpture is imbued with associations that were the outcome of historical factors that saw African men being estranged from the land and African women's burdens as well as increasing disempowerment. Referring implicitly to ideas about the peasant as a 'child of the soil', the sculpture lent itself to being read in the 1990s in light of a concept that a rural farmer enjoys psychic and ancestral - rather than purely economic - ties to the land, and as the sign of a commitment on the part of the Zimbabwean government to redress losses experienced through colonialism. But as a representation of a generic farmer rather than a portrayal of a specific individual, Ploughman is also open in meaning, and its significance for many has shifted in the more than two decades since it was placed in the public domain. While beneficiaries of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme at the turn of the new millennium may continue to view the work as a manifestation of ideas about a child of the soil, those women agriculturalists who still do not own land may well view it as a sign of their ongoing marginalisation, while for people who were violently displaced from farms or who were dispossessed of their livelihoods through the so-called Third Chimurenga, the sculpture would surely be a signifier of trauma and loss.
Author Jessica WilliamsSource: De Arte 2014, pp 77 –80 (2014)More Less
Published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same title, organised by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art, Karen Milbourne's Earth matters: Land as material and metaphor in the art of Africa is an ambitious concept-driven project that explores African artists' diverse uses of, and relationships with, the continent's land. Initially looking to the physical material of the earth as medium, Milbourne expands her discussion throughout this beautifully compiled and well-illustrated publication to address topics ranging from the secular and spiritual relationships that exist between the land and one's ancestors, to how artists have engaged with the power of the earth as it extends across cultures and time. While her earlier chapters investigate the earth as material, her later chapters examine the earth as resource, exploring how artists have actively engaged with various environmental and political issues regarding the continent's land and its uses.
Author Michael GodbySource: De Arte 2014, pp 81 –85 (2014)More Less
In his introduction to Portraiture & photography in Africa, John Peffer makes a strong plea for African photography to be considered not just as a bizarre 'vernacular' version of well-established Western practice, but as an equal partner in contributing to the photographic canon. In this light it is strange that not one of the thirteen contributors to the volume is based in Africa; and, as far as one can tell, only one is of African origin.
African art and agency in the workshop, Sidney Littlefield Kasfir and Till Förster (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Pamela AllaraSource: De Arte 2014, pp 86 –89 (2014)More Less
This recently published anthology grew out of papers presented at a double panel at the Arts Council of the African Studies Association's Triennial Symposium on African Art, held at the University of Florida in April 2007. In the intervening years, seven other scholars contributed essays, resulting in a broad-based examination of the central role workshops have played in the development of art on the African continent. The scholarship in the sixteen essays is uniformly outstanding, resulting from rigorous, field-based research. The individual, empirical case studies are organised into four topics, which in total provide an historical perspective of workshop production spanning eras from pre-colonialism to neoliberal globalism. Cumulatively, the essays broaden conventional ideas about workshops by placing them in changing social and political contexts, and the anthology is invaluable in this respect. However, the term 'workshop' and the associated concept of training by apprenticeship remain intact, even though one might argue that they have become increasingly anachronistic.
Author Paul CooperSource: De Arte 2014, pp 90 –93 (2014)More Less
With the rapidly approaching 2010 World Cup and the spectacular international and local attention the event would court, it seemed inevitable to include in the foundational planning a platform for arts and culture. When commissioned by the City of Johannesburg, curators Tembinkosi Goniwe and Melissa Mboweni set out to conceptualise an exhibition and an accompanying catalogue engaging current art discourses on Africa and the diaspora. This retrospective catalogue was published two years after the ambitious exhibition of the same name that took place at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg, between 11 May and 11 July 2010.
Author Jenni LauwrensSource: De Arte 2014, pp 94 –96 (2014)More Less
I like to think that it is because I am a visual person - whatever that means - that when I pick up a book I immediately gloss through all its pages in search of the images hidden within. However, observing most people paging through not only the heavyweight reading material sold in those intellectual-looking bookstores, but also popular magazines and newspapers, I am obliged to admit that there is nothing unique or intelligent about my interest in the visual. Undoubtedly, often, but not always, it is precisely their images that draw us into books of all kinds, inviting our casual glance to become more directed to the narratives surrounding them.