Artists depict change


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MORE than 230 artists from around the country will get an opportunity to showcase their talent at the Art Crosses Borders Conversations exhibition to be staged at Constitution Hill, in Johannesburg.

This is after the launch of the Ichikowitz Heritage Art Collection Foundation in Alexandra during Johannesburg Art Week last month.

The foundation said this exhibition would feature new pieces not yet revealed to the public which would soon be taken to the new home at the Old Fort, Constitution Hill Precinct, for audiences to experience from October 29 to November 15. Entrance will be free.

The collection captures the mood and emotions of an era from the 1970s to present day, reflecting the complexities of South Africa’s transformation.

For the launch of the Heritage Art Collection, themes explored included xenophobia, economic survival and portraits of Africa.

The launch in Alexandra was in partnership with art entrepreneur Vika Mjoka, who is a victim of xenophobia himself. He joined forces to create Art Crosses Borders Conversations.

Organisers said the exhibition promoted art as a tool to fight xenophobia with contrasting mixed-media works depicting scenes from violent struggles in townships, visceral African masks and harrowing effigies that provoked questions around identity and representations of “the other”.

The foundation founder, Ivor Ichikowitz, said: “Through our Heritage Art Collection, we drive art innovation and create environments to engage with South Africa’s creative heritage. For those of you who missed the successful exhibition in Alexandra where we gave a voice to young artists crafting the story of our modern heritage, we encourage all to visit Constitution Hill.

“We hope this travelling exhibition JAY Pather’s Qaphela Caesar is an interdisciplinary contemporary adaption of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Featuring Mwenya Kabwe, artists from Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, Jazzart Dance Company, UCT School of Dance and UCT Opera School and presented by the University of Cape Town’s Gordon inspires our collective imagination and provokes creative practices to solving the challenges of today.”

The foundation founder said the progression of the exhibition to Constitution Hill further explored what caused xenophobia and strengthened its interrogation of the nuances of borders, seeking where they lie among countries, places, peoples, private and public, real and imagined, then and now.

Ichikowitz said in line with Constitution Hill’s vision to develop programmes promoting South African heritage, the foundation offered enriching ways to access and engage with history as the exhibition embarked on an extended high school programme with workshops facilitated by artists from the exhibition.

“The foundation hopes to encourage inner- city residents, business people, students, youth and artists to immerse themselves in an uplifting creative programme of workshops to energise citizens with art as the impetus for dialogue, education and nation building,” he said.

Constitution Hill acting CEO Themba Ntuli said they were delighted to host the exhibition. Institute for Performing and Creative Arts, Pather’s production places Shakespeare’s masterpiece firmly in modern-day South Africa. Tickets R80, 8.15pm, The South African State Theatre, Pretoria


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