Philip Barlow | slowing a split second | Artist interview
September 6, 2021
September 6, 2021
July 16, 2021
MANDELA: A LIFE'S JOURNEY
A collaboration with artist John Meyer and Everard Read's CIRCA Gallery
To honour Mandela Day celebrations on Sunday 18 July, Rand Merchant Bank collaborated with artist John Meyer and Everard Read's CIRCA Gallery to create a virtual tour of Meyer’s series of paintings which portray the life and times of Nelson Mandela.
Video Credits: Rand Merchant BankRead More >>
July 12, 2021
Sculptor and painter, Guy Ferrer is a humanist at heart, fascinated by the range of possibilities of existing and past cultures.
In a new exhibition in Perpignan, France, Ferrer gives us his ethereal vision of the deep nature of man. Our insatiable quest for hedonism and materiality is confronted with an innate need to see further and higher in another sphere which touches the divine.
The exhibition, entitled De la matière à l'esprit (From Matter to Spirit), celebrates the multidisciplinary nature of Ferrer’s practice and is presented across three locations - large paintings at the Contemporary Art Centre of the City of Perpignan, bronze sculpture at the Hyacinthe Rigaud Art Museum in the vestibule of the Perpignan Town Hall, and drawings at the Castang Art Project gallery. The exhibition continues until October 2021.
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June 29, 2021
OBITUARY: VELAPHI MZIMBA
1959 - 2021
MZIMBA USED HIS BRUSH AND CANVAS TO RESTORE THE DIGNITY AND STATURE OF AFRICANS
By his first solo exhibition in 1981 at the Carlton Hotel, a gallery run by the South African Association of Arts, 22 year old Velaphi Mzimba, had found a voice to contribute to the struggle for a humane and equitable South Africa.
At the height of the struggle against apartheid when African people were essentially stripped of their humanity and their identity – Mzimba used his brush and canvas to restore their dignity and stature. There was a familiarity with his subjects who were inspired by his curiosity about the different African ethnic groups across the continent.
At the peak of his career in the 80’s and 90’s, when Africans were not allowed around the table beyond their township homes but ‘good enough’ to be the help like his mother Violet, who was a domestic worker in the suburbs and his father Peter who was a driver, Mzimba put them in these ‘hallowed’ spaces – the homes, boardrooms and hotels of the ‘oppressor’ who were enamored by them. While most of these collectors superficially saw the ‘artistry’ in the work, through the familiar eyes of an Mzimba portrait, which gazed at one in such a particular way that afterwards you feel as if you are being followed, seemed to emphasize that whatever was being done behind these walls was under a hawkish watch.
To the marginalized majority, there was a familiarity as if one had encountered the person before. They saw themselves in his work. Mzimba dared to challenge the oppressor and showed that Africans were human too. He restored their humanity – an gave them a face. He celebrated their identity, their deep melanin and way of life – dark, textured and colourful. In between, he would depict how they escaped the misery of oppression through music or went about their work in the midst of the oppression – in his celebrated work depicting the Zama Zama miners (illegal gold miners) and township life.
He would find objects that represent African lives – the discarded metal basin, shovel, doors, corrugated roofs, used clothing – anything – and bring them alive by juxtaposing or superimposing his work in his compositions. It was tangible and constant reminder of the African struggle. He would use his brush to make them larger than life, and subjects as seemingly mundane at face value as fruit or vegetables – an apple, orange, cabbage or beetroot - or bring all together in one of his familiar compositions.
A humble, quiet and relatable artist, this is how he took on the struggle for liberation against apartheid - through his work, which infused optimism, humanity and dignity. That is his legacy.
Born in Dube, Soweto on the 19th September 1959, Mzimba was the only boy and the 4th born child of the late Violet (neé Mabuza) and Peter Mzimba. He discovered his love of drawing at an early age and was encouraged by his father. He dropped out of school due to the 1976 uprising when the school was closed.
At the age of sixteen he joined Mofolo Arts Centre in Soweto where he learned drawing, oil painting and pastels with Dan Rakgoathe. years later he won a bursary to study at the Art Foundation under the late Bill Ainslie. An award-winning and revered artist across various media, he worked as a professional artist based in Johannesburg until his sudden death.
At the time of his passing, he was working on a seminal collection celebrating great African women with his longstanding gallerist Everard Read. Mzimba's work graces many public, corporate and private collections worldwide.
Mzimba passed on unexpectedly on 24 June due to Covid in the arms of his wife Boitumelo while waiting to be attended at hospital.
Mzimba is survived by his wife, Boitumelo, children – Tebogo “Tebs,” Lesedi, Khanyi, Siphesihle “Malobisa,” Seti and Fili, his siblings, Betty, Julia and Sbongile and the Mzimba Family.
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Pan-African reputation architect, explorer and writer
June 23, 2021
Return of the Gods: The Ancient Ones (2015)
‘I don’t know if I summoned these figures, or they summoned me to make them. They just developed this enormous presence and I started thinking about the notion of the gods in Western society and how we view them as either myth or fantasy or new age. For me, these five figures are absolutely benevolent. I view them as forefathers. I believe that we are all gods, we have just forgotten, and we are stuck down here repeating old patterns and habitual addictions. The Ancient Ones are memories of what we were.’
‘I am often asked about the small figures emerging from the crown of their heads. I have begun to realise that for me they represent the revealing of the spiritual self. The fact that these sculptures have fully realised figures with whole bodies shows that they are spiritually evolved beings. The men have female figures on their heads and the women have male figures on their heads. So, they also represent a marriage of the masculine and feminine and an owning of the full self, the complete self.’
‘It took me years to realise that I was interested in art that can change the world. That intent and creation can alter one’s reality. And I believe that is what art was used for in many cultures. We just don’t see it that way in contemporary Western culture. For me, every single artwork is more of a spiritual discipline about inner transformation. My work is about spiritual transformation. I like to believe that other people will feel that as well. I cannot force it, but if it happens for me then I like to believe that it can happen for others too.’
Interview with Tim Leibbrandt, Artthrob, 2016
Return of the Gods: The Ancient Ones (2015) is part of Masterpiece Online 2021Read More >>
June 23, 2021
Chthonios Monumental I (2020)
The initial manifestation of Dylan Lewis’s Chthonios – a striking image of a maelstrom of forms – emerged following a six-year period of intense self-discovery. Perfectly encompassing the themes of self-actualisation, struggles within human relationships, and striving for liberation from harmful internalised indoctrination, the work concretises the turbulence of human emotions.
During lockdown in 2019, Lewis set to work on producing a monumental incarnation of an earlier work, allowing it to evolve intuitively and organically rather than through exact reproduction. The result is a visceral large-scale sculptural work which recalls Rodin’s magnum opus The Gates of Hell and William Blake’s The Lovers’ Whirlwind. Both of these saw the artists drawing on the evocative imagery of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, but vehemently eschewing any moralising allegory in favour of celebrating the full spectrum of the human experience in all its complexity. With Chthonios, Lewis extends this striking, chaotic imagery to reflect on the agony and ecstasy of trying to connect with the ‘other’ – both other human beings and with the self.
Chthonios marks a significant culmination in the narratives that have underpinned Lewis’s work from the very beginning: the searching for wholeness and self-actualisation against forced familial, cultural, and social conformity. Lewis captures the sense of the sublime that comes from standing on a precipice and witnessing the tumult. It is a view from the eye of a storm, a reckoning with the prospect of being pummelled by a chaotic maelstrom of human emotions and being unsure of whether it will utterly destroy or bring about the intense desire for wholeness.
The sculpture takes the form of large circular arrangement enclosed within a square. This contrasting of the two shapes recurs throughout a diverse array of mandala traditions in a number of world religions, throughout alchemical symbolism, and even in Jungian analytical psychology. Common throughout these various incarnations is the idea of a circle within a square as a symbol of wholeness or totality, contrasting boundlessness with lucidity. This is exactly what Chthonios represents for Dylan Lewis.
Adapted from an original text by Tim Leibbrandt
S-H 83 (3) Chthonios I Monumental I is part of Masterpiece Online 2021
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April 26, 2021 - Bob Chaundy
Teresa Kutala Firmino, on the occassion of Manifestation Oku Yongola | Manifestation of Wanting at Everard Read London, is interviewed by Bob Chaundy on an episode of the podcast Considering Art.
Click here to read the hear the full interviewRead More >>
April 14, 2021
April 13, 2021 - Harriet Lloyd-Smith
Teresa Kutala Firmino: Manifestation Oku Yongola | Manifestation of Wanting at Everard Read London is highlighted as a top London art exhibition to see in April on Wallpaper*.
Click here to read the full article.Read More >>
Specialists in contemporary art from South Africa. Established in 1913. South African artists are part of the global conversation. We seek to make their voices heard.