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Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1956, in Kitwe, Zambia.

Painter, sculptor, printmaker, video artist, land artist, watercolourist, curator.

Clive van den Berg came to South Africa in 1966, and trained at the University of Natal. He taught fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Lourenço Marques, Mozambique, Feb 2, 1938; d Porto, Mar 29, 2011).

Portuguese painter. He studied at the Escola de Belas Artes in Oporto, where he taught from 1963. In the 1960s Ângelo worked in sculpture, photography and experimental cinema as well as painting. Having won a scholarship, he attended St Martin’s School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1967 to 1968.

In the 1960s he painted simplified motifs drawn from nature, applying the paint thinly but unevenly, thus allowing a certain luminosity to show through the brushstrokes from the ground beneath. More interested in the mechanisms of perception than in their objects, Ângelo dispensed with figurative references from 1970, and henceforth his paintings dealt with light and spatial ambiguity. The formats comprise large, luminous, monochromatic fields of colour, applied in transparent, modulated layers and are usually divided into a few large geometric shapes by fine, incisive dark lines.

B. F. Pinto de Almeida: Ângelo de Sousa...

Article

South African, 20th century, female.

Active in Canada from 1969.

Born 17 September 1936, in Piet Retief, South Africa.

Engraver (etching/aquatint), screen printer, watercolourist, photographer.

Jennifer Dickson studied at Goldsmiths in London and from 1961 to 1965 at the Atelier 17 engraving studio in Paris run by S.W. Hayter. She later spent time in Jamaica and the USA. In Canada she worked both as an artist and teacher. She was elected a member of the Royal Academy in London in ...

Article

Tunisian, 20th century, male.

Active also active in France.

Born 1918, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Painter, illustrator, draughtsman. Cartoon films.

Hatem El Mekki was born in Indonesia but moved to Tunisia in 1924. He started to exhibit his works at the Salon Tunisien in 1934. In ...

Article

Moroccan, 20th century, male.

Active also active in France.

Born 26 April 1934, in El Jadida.

Painter, draughtsman, lithographer, collage artist, film maker.

André Elbaz studied at Rabat's school of graphic art while at the same time taking drama classes at the city's theatre school. He began experimenting with collage while making posters for his theatre group, Mazagan, in El Jadida. Following a trip to France in ...

Article

Dennis Radford

(b Dresden, Oct 16, 1813; d Stellenbosch, Oct 8, 1898).

German architect, builder, painter and photographer, active in South Africa. He showed a talent for drawing at an early age. In 1825 he entered the Akademie der Künste, Dresden, to study architecture, qualifying in 1829. He emigrated to Cape Town in 1838. His first commission in 1840 was the new Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary, Cape Town, undertaken with his partner Carel Sparmann, which was an unsuccessful venture. Hager then moved to Stellenbosch living principally by portrait painting (examples in Stellenbosch Mus.). It was not until 1854 that his next building, the Lutheran Church, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, was built. Only in 1863, however, did he receive his first major commission, the remodelling of the Dutch Reformed Church, Stellenbosch. This involved the addition of a large nave, aisles and tower to the existing cruciform church. All the additions were strongly Gothic Revival in character, and the rest of the church was given a Gothic appearance. It would be an exaggeration to claim that it was Hager who introduced the Gothic style into Dutch Reformed churches, but it can be said that he introduced a purer strain of the Revival, although this was still far from ‘correct’. The church at Stellenbosch differs most from previous attempts to Gothicize Dutch Reformed churches in the tower, which has triple-stage base tracery windows surmounted by a broach spire. The open Gothic trussed roof marks its first appearance in Dutch Reformed churches. In ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 28 April 1955, in Johannesburg.

Draughtsman, engraver, graphic designer, film producer, sculptor, theatre and opera designer and producer. Multimedia, animated films.

Land Art.

Although William Kentridge has practised his creativity in many domains and in a wide range of media (animated films, land art, sculpture, printmaking, theatre and opera design and production, installations), it is chiefly his large-scale charcoal drawings in process (drawing for animation) and his unique, short, animated films and their projection that have given him international fame....

Article

Russian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 12 October 1969, in Leningrad, USSR (now St Petersburg, Russia). Died 16 March 2013, in Bali, Indonesia.

Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe was a Russian photographer, and video and performance artist, who was best known for his impersonation of celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe, Vladimir Putin, Queen Elizabeth II, and Adolf Hitler. While he received a more traditional art education as a child in the 1980s in Leningrad, Mamyshev-Monroe quickly rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s thanks to his provocative and eccentric cross-dressing. From ...

Article

David Koloane

(b Durban, Aug 17, 1960).

South African photographer and painter. He graduated in Fine Arts from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (UCT), in 1984 and received an advanced diploma in 1985. He was the first black African lecturer to be appointed to the UCT Fine Arts faculty (1984). He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and received his MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY (1989). His colourful paintings show interiors of houses, with large areas of colour making up the walls of the rooms. Mthethwa’s photographs from the mid-1990s depict ritual scenes and people inside shack settlements, and his pastel work encompasses decorative elements prevalent on traditional Zulu dress. Like his paintings, his photographs are colour-rich, with reds predominating. He originally used colour to attract people to his images and hold their gaze, but he also employed colour for its emotional impact; one colour may have multiple readings. His images are highly symbolic, both personally and socially. He is interested in the situations and surroundings in which people find themselves, and what they do within these contexts. Landscapes speak of contested ground, for instance, and label decoration for home-grown commercial products is featured and commented upon. Motifs such as tribal jewellery and clothing appear again and again. His works are held by the Durban Art Gallery, the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, and the Cape Department of Education. In ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 5 February 1958, in Pretoria.

Printmaker, sculptor, watercolourist, curator.

Joachim Schönfeldt spent his childhood in Windhoek, Namibia, and graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1980. He began his career as a researcher into old African art and curios and spent time during the 1980s as a curator of the Meneghelli Holdings. His work in the field of African curios was seminal to the development of his art, which explores the idea of casting mythical realities on African value systems, involving found objects, multiple-headed animals, and peri-urban local landscapes drawn from photographs of his childhood holidays....

Article

Nigerian and British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in London.

Born 1962, in London.

Installation artist, painter, photographer.

Young British Artists.

Yinka Shonibare grew up in Lagos but returned to London, his birthplace, at the age of 17. He has received a number of awards, including the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Visual Artists in ...

Article

Andrew Cross

revised by Mary Chou

(b London Aug 9, 1962).

British sculptor, painter and installation artist. Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Nigeria before returning to England to study Fine Art in London at Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College where he completed his MFA. Shonibare’s West African heritage has been at the heart of his work since he started exhibiting in 1988, when he began using ‘Dutch-wax’ dyed fabrics, commonly found in Western Africa, both for wall-mounted works (as pseudo paintings) and for sculpted figures. Generally perceived as ‘authentic’African cloth, the tradition of Batik originated in Indonesia, and was appropriated by the Dutch who colonized the country. Manufactured in Holland and Britain, the cloth was then shipped to West Africa where it became the dress of the working class in nations such as Nigeria. Shonibare used the material as a way of deconstructing the more complex histories that determine these and other images of ethnicity. As such, he has been described as a ‘post-cultural hybrid’ or the ‘quintessential postcolonial artist’ by critics as well as the artist himself....

Article

Shannen Hill

(b Vryburg, 1953).

South African painter, printmaker, photographer, installation artist and video artist. She received an BA (1974) and an MA (1976) in Fine Arts from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, and a postgraduate diploma from Portsmouth Polytechnic, UK (1979). Her work has appeared in many exhibitions: the Venice Biennale (1993), the Bienal de Havana (1994, 1997), the Johannesburg Biennale (1995, 1997) and Kwanju Biennale in Korea (1995). She has explored different media and themes since gaining recognition for her high relief oil paintings of the 1980s, but her concerns remain those of process, conceptual dualities, histories told and remembered. Through narrative, allegory, appropriation, parody and punning, her subjects challenge racialized and gendered representations, and reveal history as ever-mediated. In Piling Wreckage Upon Wreckage (1989; Cape Town, N.G.) a black girl sits atop an expansive pile of objects (e.g. silverware, a grand piano, paintings) that denote civilized taste and fill the space to suggest limitlessness and domination. Unlike Western prototypes, the girl is overwhelmed by the debris and cannot control its associative meanings. Siopis continued to question ideological constructions in her work on urban domestic identities of the mid-1990s. Her work of the late 1990s was autobiographical, though firmly entangled within aparteid's complex past. ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Kaduna, Aug 15, 1967).

Nigerian multimedia artist, active in the USA. Tuggar studied in London before receiving her BFA from Kansas City Art Institute. She completed her MFA at Yale University. Tuggar’s work has been seen as central to the ‘Afro-Futurist’ style and theoretical impulse that gained currency in the mid-1990s as well as to a revitalized and globalized feminist discourse. Afro-futurism denotes the use of the historical past in conjunction with technological innovation to produce aesthetic explorations of the future, fantasy, and possibility for African cultures writ large.

Tuggar is best known for her digitally manipulated and printed collages of her own photographs with found images and text. Often she combined older, sometimes historical images with contemporary scenes and people, conflating past and present and thereby constructing the fantasy aspect of her work. In other instances disparate global spaces converge (Nigeria, the cultural ‘West’, the Middle East), setting up a contemporary investigation of colonialism and post-colonial global realities....

Article

Chika Okeke

(b Lagos, 1965).

Nigerian photographer, painter and installation artist , active in the USA. He attended Hunter College, City University of New York. In the 1980s he worked mainly as a painter but also collaborated with such New York artists as Carrie May Weems and Lyle Ashton Harris. In 1993 he developed his photographic work, dealing with issues of representation and urban life, particularly race, gender and sexual identity. His self-portraits, in which he wears women’s cosmetics, comment on assumptions about what constitutes gender identity, as in Woman in Egyptian Art (1996). They also reference the costume and make-up of Igbo ‘female’ masquerades, which are normally danced by men ( see Igbo §2 ). He also uses self-portraiture to criticize American culture. In his Cover Girl series (1994–9), for instance, he designed mock magazine covers for Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Condé Naste Traveller, making himself the cover girl. The ‘articles’ in these imaginary journals frequently address the West’s relation to Africa, for example, ‘Hysteria Over the Death of the Noble Savage’. Thus the ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 4 October 1953, in Durban.

Printmaker, sculptor, draughtsman, photographer, mixed media.

Jeremy Wafer was raised on a farm in Nkwalini, KwaZulu-Natal. As a child he was seduced by the metaphoric power of materials and patterns. He obtained a bachelor of fine arts (...