6 rising art stars to catch in Miami this week

December 3, 2019 - Andrew Sessa | New York Post

Julian Navarro has a keen eye for spotting talent. As director of Art Miami — celebrating its 30th anniversary this week — as well as its sister shows Context in Miami and New York, the curator and cultural entrepreneur has his finger on the pulse of all that’s new and notable. He sees Miami’s Art Week as “a good platform to see fresh work” and loves that “a lot of artists spend all year producing exciting pieces” for it. Here, he shares with Alexa his picks for on-the-rise names to be on the lookout for.

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Blessing Ngobeni wins Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts

November 20, 2019

Congratulations to Blessing Ngobeni for winning the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Arts in 2020. 

This year marks 36 years of Standard Bank’s sponsorship of the SBYAA and sees each winning young artist receiving a cash incentive, as well as a commission to premiere a new work or exhibit on the Main Programme of the 46th National Arts Festival, taking place in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) from 25 June to 5 July 2020. 


Moments, Movement and Memory: in Conversation with Liza Grobler

October 31, 2019 - Misha Krynauw | ARTTHROB

Stepping up towards Liza Grobler’s studio, my eyes roam quickly up and over my surroundings as I ascend, the morning sun already making its way to the top of the stairwell where she’s smiling at me from, bursts of colour peaking at me through the frame of her glasses. I made a mental note of the high ceilings as I set up my notebook and my phone to record. Her studio is spacious, and busy. There are twists of fabric knotted together, hanging here and there, and the wooden floors are marked with splashes of paint and painter’s footfalls.

Liza describes the process of bringing ‘A Rainbow in my Pocket’ – her new exhibition at Everard Read –  as somewhat back-to-front. Neither the concept nor the name came first, she insists, but rather an emphasis on what lays at the nexus of creativity; the actual undertaking. “My work is more driven by process, and action, and mark-making,” she explains with rolling, wide hand gestures; the same way she likes to paint, it turns out, “A lot of my other work is site-specific. It always has a performative component, but usually in a more understated way.” Evidence of Liza’s mark-making stretches from A Portal Into Monet – Greenpoint Park (Diptych) yet in slower circles than it does in Broadway Bellies, both of which are particularly captivating.




“Art freed me from imprisonment.” An unexpected brush with destiny

September 6, 2019 - Beautiful News


This artist freed himself from imprisonment in the most unexpected way.

Was it luck, or destiny? Blessing Ngobeni could never have predicted his path to becoming a revered artist. Raised in an abusive household, Ngobeni ran away as a child and made it to Alexandra, where he joined the wrong crowd. At the age of 15, he was arrested for robbery and spent nearly six years in prison. It could have been rock bottom. Yet it was here that Ngobeni discovered his talents. Out of boredom, he started sketching fellow inmates’ portraits. Realising he could improve his capabilities and make a life for himself, Ngobeni began an astonishing journey to liberation. “Perhaps the universe wanted me to become an artist,” he says.


August 2019 Newsletter

August 19, 2019 - Everard Read Cape Town

Both Turiya Magadlela & nomThunzi Mashalaba were invited to exhibit in Speculative Inquiry #1, the first exhibition focusing solely on living women abstract artists in Africa. Taking place at the Michaelis Galleries from 8-24 August, this exhibition is a speculative inquiry that considers the contributions of living black women artists and the potential their practices and work stand to contribute to studies on abstraction. Curated by Nkule Mabaso.

Turiya Magadlela has also been featured in Phaidon's recent publication Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art. 
This publication celebrates tapestry, embroidery, stitching, textiles, knitting, and knotting as used by visual artists worldwide. Vitamin T is the latest in the celebrated 'Vitamin' series in which leading curators, critics, and art professionals nominate living artists for inclusion. As boundaries between art and craft have blurred, artists have increasingly embraced these materials and methods, with the resulting works being coveted by collectors and exhibited in museums worldwide. If you would like to purchase this publication click here



Phillemon Hlungwani is featured festival artist at Hermanus FynArts 2019

February 22, 2019


Date: 8 - 17 June

Time: 09:00 - 17:00

Venue: FynArts Gallery 

In this exhibition Phillemon Hlungwani returns to the etching press which is his first love and whose arcane and ancient skills he has mastered. He also reprises a theme which is seminal to understanding who he is as a person and as an artist.

Raised in a rural African village by a mother widowed young, he grew up watching women work so that they and their families would survive. The unrelenting labour of women is a reality but to Hlungwani it is what nurtured his body and his talents, and he sees in it both love and redemption in their purest sense.

His complex and technically brilliant etchings take everyday subjects and make them clear to us (like purifying murky water) and in some of them he makes delicate use of hand colouring, thus emphasising the femininity of his subjects. These works have been made with the assistance of master printer Pontsho Sikhosana and her team at the Artist Proof Studio.

Exhibition presented in association within Knysna Fine Art and Everard Read Gallery.

The exhibition will be opened by Trent Read on Saturday 8 June at 14:00

Times of walkabouts to be announced.


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Nowhere to hide from Brett Murray’s incisive wit

February 14, 2019 - Melvyn Minnaar | BusinessDay

When Brett Murray, a standout even in a particularly bright lineup of star art students, won the grand Michaelis prize in his graduate year, 1983, his aesthetic route was defined: the court jester with the finest of touches; social consciousness to be articulated in the high precision of the artful object.

His master of fine arts a few years later was a riveting triumph, and the chunky cartoon characters to tread his career stage entered in all their metaphorical glory.

One of those, King — a delicious Ubu, rich of ridicule — is coming up for auction on February 16 at Strauss & Co’s contemporary art sale during the weekend’s Cape Town Art Fair. It’s a vivid marker.


Read the full review here

SA's newest art superstar Nelson Makamo is an optimist

February 10, 2019 - Charl Blignaut | City Press

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that South African art’s newest superstar, the 36-year-old Limpopo-born Nelson Makamo, made it to the cover of Time magazine this week. That’s because one of Makamo’s biggest fans is Ava DuVernay, the acclaimed US film director, producer and distributor. And DuVernay was the guest editor of the latest edition of the mag, called “the optimism edition”. She’s posted on her Instagram before about buying paintings from Makamo.

Auction houses show his larger work climbing rapidly above the R250 000 mark but the verdict is out on the value of the gorgeous work featuring a child in red spectacles now that it’s been on the cover of Time. And she’s not the only celeb in love with his bright paintings and famous charcoal portraits, which exude the love and beauty of the innocent African child, marking an upbeat and positive trend in the often dark and conceptual world of contemporary art.


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A living legacy: botanical sculptures by Nic Bladen

September 26, 2018 - Tudor Caradoc-Davies | House and Leisure

‘Somehow the orchid fraternity got hold of me,’ smiles sculptor Nic Bladen. It may sound like a plot twist in a floral conspiracy novel, but this was perhaps the turning point in his career. While making a living creating jewellery, he was asked by the president of the local orchid society to cast a few whole orchids in bronze.

A former dental technician, Bladen learned about bronze sculpture under the watchful eye of Otto du Plessis at Bronze Age before going out on his own. He’d been loping along when the orchid request came. ‘I cast a flower one day and that was it. Lightbulb moment.’


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Swirling Networks of Sliced Paper Emerge From Altered Secondhand Books by Barbara Wildenboer

September 18, 2018 - Kate Sierzputowski | COLOSSAL

Barbara Wildenboer delicately cuts and extracts the pages of old books to produce sculptural explorations of the contents inside. Thinly sliced paper fragments frame world maps found in old atlases or appear like a nervous system in an altered copy of Functional Neuroanatomy. The works are part of an ongoing project titled the Library of the Infinitesimally Small and Unimaginable Large, to which she has been contributing altered books since 2011. The series uses the site of the library as a metaphor for the larger universe, while also focusing on the decrease of printed materials as a result of the digital age.


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