How does South Africa deal with public art from its years of colonialism and apartheid? How do new monuments address fraught histories and commemorate heroes of the struggle? Across South Africa, statues commemorating figures such as Cecil Rhodes have provoked heated protests, while new works commemorating icons of the liberation struggle have also sometimes proved contentious. In this lively volume, Kim Miller, Brenda Schmahmann and an international group of contributors explore how works in the public domain in South Africaserve as a forum in which importantdebates about race, gender, identityandnationhood play out. Examining statues and memorials as well as performance, billboards, and other temporal modes of communication, the authors of these essays consider the implications of not only the exposure, but also erasure of events and icons from the public domain. Revealing how public visual expressions articulate histories and memories, they explore how such works may serve as a forum in which tensions surrounding race, gender, identity, or nationhood play out.
The Sande Society of the Mende people of Sierra Leone is a secret female regulatory society that both guards and transmits the ideals of feminine beauty so fundamental to the aesthetic criteria in Mende culture. In this eloquent and moving book, Sylvia Ardyn Boone describes the Society, its rituals and organization, and the mask worn by its members. Her book is an evocative account of Mende life and philosophy as well as a unique contribution to the study of African art, one based on African conceptions about the person and the human body.
"This is a beautiful and beautifully written book. ... Boone writes in ways that reveal her evident devotion to Mende culture."--John Picton, African Affairs
"A major contribution to our ethnographic understanding of Mende culture, and to understanding the way concepts of women's bodies encode cultural messages about gender relations."--E. Frances White, Women's Review of Books
"A respectful approach to the mysteries of the Sande], by an art historian who has tiptoed where anthropologists feared to tread. Radiance from the Waters deserves to be read. ... It provides something more interesting than esoteric knowledge: an extended meditation on notions of beauty and decorum and the way in which these can be translated simultaneously into art and ... advancement for women."--John Ryle, London Review of Books
"The first text to illuminate the power of the feminine aesthetic in West African art."--Ms.
The Cape Town-born, Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist Robin Rhode (born 1976) engages photography, performance, drawing and sculpture to create arrestingly beautiful narratives that are brought to life using materials such as soap, charcoal, chalk and paint. Coming of age in a newly post-apartheid South Africa, Rhode was exposed to new forms of creative expression motivated by the spirit of the individual rather than dictated by a political or social agenda. This new Hatje Cantz publication emphasizes the influence of Arte Povera on Rhode's aesthetic, whose creative dialogue also formed during his meeting with the gallery Tucci Russo and his early collaborative efforts with photographer Paolo Mussat Sartor, in which he transformed urban landscapes and interior spaces into imaginary worlds, as two-dimensional renderings become the subject of three-dimensional interactions by a sole protagonist (usually played by the artist or by an actor inhabiting the role of artist).
"Promey's book is a penetrating analysis of Shaker art. . . . The book is a gem, a true advance in Shaker studies, art history, religious history, and cultural history. Highly recommended." --Choice
" . . . a very intelligent and articulate . . . treatment of a stunning set of message-images." --Art Bulletin
"This book is a pleasure to look at and to read." --Religious Studies Review
" A] fascinating investigation into another world. The Shaker spirit drawings . . . offer clues into a remarkable moment of American life, as well as an opportunity to rethink just how the visual arts, religious revitalizations, and social memory relate to one another. . . . A] model study: clear, absorbing, and significant." --Neil Harris, author of The Artist in American Society
"Sally Promey's inquiry . . . critically engages current issues in the study of visual culture: what do images do; how do they work; what needs do they fulfill; just what is their 'power'? Her compelling case study joins fundamental concerns of art historians with those of students of religion and history . . . By means of an exacting examination of Shaker drawings as the site of both expectation and encounter, Promey successfully situates these Spiritual Spectacles at the meeting point of the 'inner' and the 'outer' eye." --Linda Seidel, author of Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait: Stories of an Icon
"Promey has brought to her work an excellent sensitivity to the religious issues involved, keen sight and powers of observation, and a very creative interpretive framework." --Stephen J. Stein, author of The Shaker Experience in America
Over the years, Kobena Mercer has critically illuminated the visual innovations of African American and black British artists. In Travel & See he presents a diasporic model of criticism that gives close attention to aesthetic strategies while tracing the shifting political and cultural contexts in which black visual art circulates. In eighteen essays, which cover the period from 1992 to 2012 and discuss such leading artists as Isaac Julien, Ren e Green, Kerry James Marshall, and Yinka Shonibare, Mercer provides nothing less than a counternarrative of global contemporary art that reveals how the "dialogical principle" of cross-cultural interaction not only has transformed commonplace perceptions of blackness today but challenges us to rethink the entangled history of modernism as well.
Ubuntutu: Life Legacies of Love and Action features quilts that pay tribute to the indelible contributions that Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the first black Archbishop of Cape Town, and his wife Leah, have made in addressing human rights, advancing social justice issues, and advocating for peace in South Africa and around the world. Archbishop Tutu is one of the most well-known champions of antiapartheid in South Africa and is a vigorous campaigner for many human rights causes. Leah, a founder of the South African Domestic Workers Association, has worked alongside her husband to advocate for peace and social justice. These art pieces also honor the Tutus' faith and the enduring love they have for each other. The word ubuntutu, coined by one of the quilt artists, combines the name Tutu with the Nguni word ubuntu, which can be translated as "human kindness." In the spirit of ubuntu, the quilts featured in this catalog remind us we are all interconnected.
This book, which accompanies an exhibition by the same name, is a collaborative project of the Michigan State University Museum, the Women of Color Quilters Network, and the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
In the final installment of the Visual Century Collection, the impact of the end of the apartheid and the emergence of globalization upon South African artists is discussed. Visual Century: South African Art is a four-volume publication that reappraises South African visual art of the 20th century from a postapartheid perspective. It is the only publication that provides an overview of a century of South African art, with in-depth discussion by leading art historians and reproduction of a large number of artworks, providing readers with fresh perspectives on complexities that still resonate today. The fourth and final volume in this collection looks at how the end of the Cold War and subsequent emergence of globalization, along with the advent of democracy in South Africa, introduced new social and political orders, with profound implications for South African artists. The essays critically address some of the most notable developments and visible trends in postapartheid South African art, including South Africa's entry into the international art community, its struggle to address its past, and artists' persistent and often provocative preoccupations with individual and collective identity. The widespread and often unsettling representation of human bodies, as well as animal forms, along with the steady increase in use of new technologies and the development of new forms of public art are also discussed. While much of the art of the period is open-ended and nondidactic, the persistence of engagement with socially responsive themes calls into question the reductive binary between 'resistance' and postapartheid art that has come to dominate accounts of 'before' and 'after.'
In the opening installment of the Visual Century Collection, the division of South African culture is shown through the polarization of art forms within South Africa. Visual Century: South African Art is a four-volume publication that reappraises South African visual art of the 20th century from a postapartheid perspective. It is the only publication that provides an overview of a century of South African art, with in-depth discussion by leading art historians and reproduction of a large number of artworks, providing readers with fresh perspectives on complexities that still resonate today. The first volume in this series begins after the South African War when efforts were made to unify the white 'races' and the period encompasses two world wars, the incremental dispossession of the rights of black South Africans, and the rise of organized black South African resistance to white rule. This volume provides critical perspectives on the ideological and institutional frameworks for white and black artists of the period, and the art they produced. Discussions of public art and architecture, traditionalist African art, and Western-style painting and sculpture are complemented with consideration of the roles played by museums, training, art societies and exhibitions, art historical writing, and patronage.
In the third volume of the Visual Century Collection, the national struggle for democracy is juxtaposed with the challenging art of the time period. Visual Century: South African Art is a four-volume publication that reappraises South African visual art of the 20th century from a postapartheid perspective. It is the only publication that provides an overview of a century of South African art, with in-depth discussion by leading art historians and reproduction of a large number of artworks, providing readers with fresh perspectives on complexities that still resonate today. Bracketed by porous transitional moments in the early 1970s and 1990s, this third volume covers a period characterized by a deepening of the struggle for democracy, a time when historical preoccupations with race were increasingly complemented with growing discourses on class and gender. The chapters address the multiplicity of ways in which artists responded directly and indirectly to the challenges of this period, mostly as individuals but also through organizations. Resistance and complicity, and the spaces between, found expression in the use of everyday themes, biblical sources, ethnically derived themes, subtle and extreme forms of humor, as well as through representations of conflict are all explored. This is a period when challenging art was produced in community arts centers, universities and in public places, a time when the cultural boycott simultaneously united and polarized artists, and exiles mediated the ambivalences of 'home.'