CityPress - - T# - Gar­reth.van­niek­erk@city­press.co.za

There are worse places to get some respite from the howl­ing Gra­ham­stown winds than the plethora of vis­ual art ex­hi­bi­tions at the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val this year. Here are some of the top picks:

1Athi-Pa­tra Ruga: The El­der of Aza­nia The Stan­dard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for vis­ual art is al­ways a high­light, but the work of Athi-Pa­tra Ruga, this year’s win­ner, doesn’t ex­actly fit the mould of a typ­i­cal art ex­hi­bi­tion. The El­der of Aza­nia – the latest evo­lu­tion of his Aza­nian tales – is a 40-minute work that is part per­for­mance, part vis­ual art, part cos­tume and sound in­stal­la­tion, which means you’ll need to book in ad­vance to watch one of the five per­for­mances.

2Ke­mang Wa Le­hulere: History Will Break Your Heart Kemang Wa Le­hulere’s of­fer­ing takes a bit of men­tal work as visi­tors to History Will Break Your Heart at the Mon­u­ment Gallery will dis­cover. Wa Le­hulere’s work is con­cep­tu­ally dense and spans across a lay­ered ar­ray of media that ties it­self to the Fluxus and Ac­tion­ist move­ments of the late 1950s, while nar­rat­ing un­told sto­ries from South Africa’s past.

3Jodi Bieber: Be­tween Dark­ness and Light The Good­man Gallery presents more than 100 pho­to­graphs from cel­e­brated lo­cal pho­tog­ra­pher Jodi Bieber at the Gra­ham­stown Gallery, Albany History Mu­seum.

4Bat­tle­ground Cu­ra­tor Michael Godby’s ex­hi­bi­tion re­sponds to “the chal­lenge of show­ing Charles Bell’s 60 draw­ings of the War of the Axe in Gra­ham­stown, the very ter­ri­tory that was fought over dur­ing the Wars of Dis­pos­ses­sion”, which should bring this rel­e­vant topic into the con­tem­po­rary dis­cus­sion.

5Phal­lus There are many oth­ers that will keep you go­ing through­out the fes­ti­val, but if all else fails, head to Phal­lus on the farm Bon Tempo in the Man­ley Flats area. There’s a sur­pris­ingly vast col­lec­tion of phal­lic art dis­played through­out the Phallery and Pri­apic Sculp­ture Gar­den. Leave the chil­dren at home for this one.


HISTORY WILL BREAK YOUR HEART Kemang Wa Le­hulere shows some new work at the Steven­son Gallery’s ex­hi­bi­tion this year

BE­TWEEN DARK­NESS AND LIGHT Pho­tog­ra­pher Jodi Bieber shows more than 100 pho­to­graphs at the Good­man Gallery ex­hi­bi­tion this year

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