The Association of Arts Pretoria celebrated World Art Day with their Engage II exhibition on 15 April 2013. It follows on their Engage I exhibition of last year.
The director of the gallery, Pieter van Heerden, welcomed the guests. “We, the art lovers and artists, belong to a world family and that is an exhilarating thought.”
“Last year we asked 15 sculptors and 15 painters to work together in groups of two in tandem to see if a ‘visual and intellectual synergy could be established’. It was a huge success and we decided to make our celebration of World Art day a annual institution.”
This year 46 artists worked together in groups of two to continue the experiment. Here follows the groups: André Prinsloo and Jahni Wasserfall; Rina Stutzer and Angus Taylor; Annelize Bowker and At Smit; Erna Bodenstein and Annette Pretorius; Anton Smit and Corné van Eck; Avitha Sooful and Linda du Preez; Craig Muller and Izanne Wiid; Rozan Cochrane and Daandrey Steyn; Debbie Cloete and Carroll Hamman; Martin de Kock and Erica Schoeman; Frikkie Eksteen and Bevan Thornton; Johan Conradie and Zelda Stroud; Diek Grobler and Karin Smith; Amelia Malatjie and Lwandiso Njara; Celia de Villiers and Elfriede Dreyer; Retha Buitendach and Marinda du Toit; Tanisha Bhana and Uwe Pfaff; Wilma Cruise and Karin Lijnes; Magda Joubert and Zach Taljaard; Christiaan Diedericks and Johann Nortjé; Alet Swarts and Michaella Jansen van Vuuren; Monica-Helena de Klerk and Malose Pete; and Peter Binsbergen and Andre Otto.
Background of WAD
In 2011 the International Arts Association (IAA) unanimously proclaimed the 15th of April as World Art Day. In 2012 the first WAD were celebrated.
“The idea behind the World Art Day is to help spread ‘art awareness’ throughout the globe. The day is to underline the importance and value of art regarding world peace, fraternity, freedom of expression and multi-disciplinary dialogue.” (World Art Day, 2013)
The date is also significant because it falls on Leonardo Da Vinci’s birthday.
“Leonardo’s stature as painter, sculptor, writer, engineer, innovator, mathematician and philosopher still remains a guiding light in our contemporary world.” (Press release)
Pieter van Heerden introduced Prof. Ronel Rensburg, an international academic, as “truly also a Renaissance person.”
Prof Ronel Rensburg explains the theme “Engage”
“My field of experties lies in communication and that is why the word ‘engagement’ rang true to me. Why do we engage and what is engagement?
We engage by incorporating and communicating art experiences. The message of art can be communicated through art objects and even across time.
The value of art in general or any particular art object can change from space to space, place to place and time to time.
We can also engage by means of social commentary… Through their art, artists are speaking to social change and bringing about public awareness of a variety of social, political and environmental issues.” Rensburg referred to the Spear painting as an example of debating and engaging.
We can engage through our senses: all five of the human senses (and sometimes the sixth).
Art can bring people together. Art more than often leaves us in awe. All art must engage!
Prof Ronel Rensburg opened the art exhibition with these words: “I entice you to engage with one another, with the artists, with their work and your own senses to enjoy the oppulence of South African art.”
Some of the collaborations
Tanisha Bhana in collaborartion with Uwe Pfaff:
Tanisha’s work called “Mortal Remains (1)” contrasts between things that are living and dead. “The geckos and the doll are dead. The rose petals are in the process of dying. The reflections in water of the trees: they’re symbols of living things. The doll is a commentary on the masks we wear everyday.”
Uwe Pfaff’s explanation of his work: “striking the metal man ‘future tense’ with a metallic object will release. That sound which we hear, not recognise and connects in a unique way of Tanisha’s work.”
Debbie Cloete in collaboration with Carroll Hamman:
Carroll Hamman explains her sculpture of the priest and the prostitute entitled Nothing is as it seems: “Usually people think of priests as good. I wanted to show that priests aren’t always good. That’s why the priest is painted in black.” It comments on the fact that we put so much trust in an uniform, but we forget that inside every uniform is a human being struggling with all the same issues thrown at us.
Debbie Cloete’s speech bubbles entitled It is what it is relates to the marriage equality debate that is currently so prevalent in the media. “Marriage equality should not even be a debate, it is what it is, a human right”.
Photos of other collaborations:
The Association of Arts Pretoria is a voluntary non-profit organisation. It is governed by an executive committee, members of which include well-known artists, art teachers and academics and patrons of art. Director: Pieter van Heerden. Gallery manager: Nandi Hilliard.
It has more than 800 members and is one of the founding members of the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA). SANAVA is a member of the IAA.
The exhibition will run until Friday 26 April 2013.