A few months earlier ...

An afternoon with bell hooks


Esikhaleni – Spatial Practices

The Dead Revolutionaries Club
in association with Claudia Shneider and the Afrika Cultural Centre presents:

Esikhaleni – Spatial Practices

The exhibition Esikhaleni – Spatial Practices used the concept of ‘space’ as its springboard for creative and artistic expression and intervention. Using the expansive space available at the Afrika Cultural Centre, a historic site of struggle, teaching and interdisciplinary arts collaborations, a group of younger, rising artists had been challenged to engage organically with the space in whatever way they chose. With limited resources available, the permanence and manner of their interventions was left to the decision of the individual artist.

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Galleries Mini-Exhibition
Esikhaleni also featured a section for small galleries to participate. These galleries had been unable to exhibit in the art fair but were invited to creatively engage with the space that was allocated to them. Continuing our theme of breaking with the white cube gallery format, invited galleries were required to use their space to creatively exhibit their artists work, thereby curating their own mini-exhibiton.

Café Meeting Area
The Afrika Cultural Centre had been operating for over 20 years, and as a meeting point for people of colour in apartheid times, has interacted with many of South Africa’s prominent artists in the visual arts, theatre, music and film fields. Within this same place, a café was set up for people to purchase refreshments and to meet and discuss. The café was run by informally employed people who live on the premises of the ACC.

Afrika Cultural Centre, 52-62 Henry Nxumalo Street, Newtown (behind MuseumAfrica)

Exhibition opening and performances: Friday, 14 March 2008
download more information: esikhaleni_info


Exhibition views

Participating Artists (curated exhibition)

Amos Letsoalo
Secret Place (2008)
Installation; wet cow dung, dry cow dung, stones, animal fur

Beverley Price
Where I live all gold is at the heart of the matter (2008)
Installation; oranges, gold paint, gum boots, gold, spices, Johannesburg soil

Claudia Shneider
Tall horse (2008)
Steel chain, plastic bottles, water

Dinkies Sithole
BLOM-PLEK: Forgotten Memories (2008)
Installation; four used car seats, welding sheets, plastic sheets, posters, magazines, books, newspapers, DVD-projection with sound

Johan Thom
Traffic (2008)
Performance, 90 min

Kemang wa Lehulere
Message Pending (2008)
Oil on canvas

Lonwabo Kilani
Bantu Label Beer (2007)
Mixed media installation

Nicoleen Naidoo
Sati (2006)
Ink on cloth and paper

Senzo Nhlapo
Untitled (2008)
Performative installation; cloth on wooden frames, light, sound

Sharlene Khan
Two Fish and Five Loaves (2001)
Mixed media installation

Fabric of Society III (2007)
Oil on canvas

Participating Galleries
Blank Projects (Cape Town)
Jeremy Purén and Daniël Naudé, The Movie (2008)
Mixed media installation; car, video screening on monitor
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Jonathan Garnham, untitled (we all have our ups and downs) (2008)
Installation; two children's swings, one attached to the roof of the ACC and one attached to the flyway above the Afrika Cultural Center

Outlet Project Room (Pretoria)
Johan Thom and Lawrence Lemoana, Thom vs. Lemoana (2008)
Video installation

Spaza Art Gallery (Johannesburg)
Winston Nkuthuko Luthuli, Its something I have to do (2007–2008)
Series of wooden sculptures

Worldart Gallery (Cape Town/Johannesburg)

DRC Conversation on magazines and Gunshot exhibition


Date: 27 January 2008
Venue: The Afrika Cultural Centre
Time: 3 - 9pm

The Dead Revolutionaries Club
and the Afrika Cultural Centre present:

Cultural Magazines: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

In conversation: Bandile Gumbi, Dina Ligaga, Fouad Asfour and
Mocke van Vuuren

With music from the 4-member acapella group The Soil

Gunshot Show features South African artists Sharlene Khan, Amos Letsoalo, Bev Price, Charlayn von Solms, Johan Thom, Graeme Williams, and herself. The title of the show came about as the works were shown only on the day of the opening in Johannesburg and then at Biba Gallery, Smithfield. Its central idea was formulated while loading the art works into the car.
What do we expect to see in such a show other than Dogs, Bottles, and Horses? The selected works include Johan Thom's shattered Coca-Cola Molotov Cocktail Bottle entitled “the ok revolution” (2007); Claudia Shneider's series of water colour works "Sculpture, Grotte d.C. 17.8.07" and "Dark Horse" (both 2007); Graeme Williams' b/w photographic series "Nicaraguan Horsemen" (2003) and "Tow Dogs" (2000); Bev Price's otherworldly insects, lingering in small patches of meadow; conceptual drawings and geometric explorations by Charlayn von Solms; Sharlene Khan has embroidered interviews with Street Vendors she painted, this way opening another reading of metropolitan reality; Amos Letsoalo’s paintings can be read as abstractions of Limpopo landscapes, and how the secret life of everyday objects inhabit these spacious backdrops.










DRC Critical Art Writing Workshop at the Johannesburg Gathering of the South Project


The Dead Revolutionaries Club was invited by South Project to facilitate a workshop about critical writing in the arts on 19 October 2007 in Uncle Tom’s Centre, Orlando West (Soweto). The workshop was facilitated together with Australian writers and editors David Hansen, Pat Hoffie and Stephanie Britton (artlink magazine).

Bandile Gumbi formulated the central questions for this workshop:

Writing is about the creation of memory
It is a process of reading/reflecting/writing and so the cycle starts again. First definition
It is a process of thinking about and understanding social contexts.
You can’t divorce the writer from the writing, as writing is opinion even if it is supported by methodological research.
In the same breath the writer as a social actor in a reflection of that society and that social context is in turn reflected on the writing.
This informs content and an accumulation of that give rise to a body of knowledge, which informs public opinion. This public knowledge gives rise to collective thinking.

This brings in a question: How is knowledge created, communicated and by whom?

This brings me to question the absolutism of conventional critical writing formats, which is largely academic or journalistic, and propose that we need to broaden the scope of possible critical writing to include for example creative writing. I see this as using this particular art form as a method of analysis/commentary/critique. Thus adding to the vocabulary of writing about the visual. This can only be an inclusive experiment as creative writing is closer to the speech of the majority non-academic people/thinkers/writers and closer to the majority of artist, whose thoughts and social observations is the artwork.

Critical writing in the arts is a comment on the comment. The comment made by the artist as a social actor and interpreted by a comment made by the writer. We assume that the critical writer at this instance is an individuals who has both the understanding of the art as a communication tool thus can decipher the visual language in a manner that speaks to the community which the artwork is part of even if it is that particular person’s opinion. In other instances we go even further and assume that the writer is an active social actor in that community thus speak for the we when writing his or her opinion.

And we need to ask ourselves in South Africa who is that community, is it the community which the artist draws inspiration from to create the art or it is the one that consumes the art. As we know that to a large extent these are different communities in our context. And also keeping in mind the institutions that create the artist and the critic and ask ourselves are they the same and who are they? In a country with deep social divisions there are a multiple of art communities with there our institutions whether formal or informal.

Community is relevant in critical writing as it not only informs content, as in what is topical and relevant at a particular time but also on the style of writing the writer uses, if we keep in mind that writing is a communication method and can be visual and aural.

DRC Conversation: Bridging the Divide Between Anglophone and Francophone Africa


NOT FOUND: drc conversation07 web