Creative Feel - - BOOK REVIEWS -

DR SAME MDLULI is the man­ager of the Stan­dard Bank Gallery, a po­si­tion she took up ear­lier this year. She has a PhD in Art His­tory, which she com­pleted in 2015. Mdluli has worked as an art teacher (while com­plet­ing her Master’s in Arts and Cul­ture Man­age­ment with a fo­cus on Her­itage Stud­ies), as well as at the Good­man Gallery both in Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg.

Name three art­works that you love and why.

I don’t re­ally have any spe­cific art­work that I love, but the fol­low­ing have left a last­ing im­pres­sion on me for var­i­ous rea­sons:

Frida Kahlo, Self Por­trait in a Vel­vet Dress, 1926. It is a pow­er­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the artist’s artis­tic reper­toire in that she was bold and el­e­gant. There is a level of hon­esty to it that Kahlo car­ried in all her work.

Fran­cis Ba­con, Three Stud­ies for a Cru­ci­fix­ion, 1962. Ba­con is one of my favourite painters and in this piece I am both se­duced and re­pulsed by the paint and sub­ject mat­ter. I think that is what makes it a pow­er­ful piece.

Cyprian Shi­lakoe, We Want to See Koko, 1971. Shi­lakoe had a short life but pro­duced the most ex­traor­di­nary work dur­ing this pe­riod. His tech­ni­cal abil­ity in giv­ing his etch­ings an aura makes him a master of his craft in what he was able to achieve with the tech­nique.

Name one artist you would love to meet.

Kerry James Mar­shall.

What are you read­ing at the mo­ment?

Swal­low by Sefi Atta.

If you could change one thing about your­self, what would it be?

Say ‘no’ more of­ten.

How have the arts in­dus­tries in South Africa changed over the last ten years?

Other than the in­tro­duc­tion of new younger artists en­ter­ing the mar­ket, there has been very lit­tle change in how the in­dus­try op­er­ates in gen­eral. The art mar­ket is still highly com­mer­cialised and, in some re­spects, still dis­tant from the so­cial, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal is­sues preva­lent in na­tional de­bates. There are var­i­ous rea­sons for this, one of them is the lack of trans­for­ma­tion in key strate­gic po­si­tions, such as in the aca­demic and pri­vate sec­tors.

Name one thing you think would im­prove the arts and cul­ture in­dus­try in South Africa.

More fi­nan­cial sup­port of the arts from cor­po­rate en­ti­ties.

What is your most trea­sured pos­ses­sion?

An old travel doc­u­ment – it is a re­minder not to take free­dom for granted be­cause my fam­ily was once deemed state­less.

What do you re­gard as the low­est depth of mis­ery?

Hope­less­ness. My aunt, who had a phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity, used to call it the eighth of the seven deadly sins.

What is it that makes you happy?


De­scribe a defin­ing mo­ment in your life.

Com­plet­ing my PhD, I be­came more con­fi­dent in who I am.

What projects will you be busy with dur­ing 2018 and into 2019?

I am cur­rently work­ing on putting to­gether a dy­namic ex­hi­bi­tion sched­ule with a more youth­ful fo­cus for 2019 at the Stan­dard Bank Gallery.

Name one goal you would like to achieve in the next twelve months.

To cre­ate a more Pan-African au­di­ence for ap­pre­ci­at­ing the arts at Stan­dard Bank Gallery.

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