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Videos from South Africa


Since 1998 the Crossings project has been developing links with artists in the Western Cape, working on ways in which their work can be used to invigorate the teaching of Art and Design.

Much of the vibrant art work included in the Contemporary South African Artists series remained a well kept secret during the dark days of apartheid. The cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world on the racist South African government not only made it difficult for cultural workers in the country to get access to art from other cultures, it deprived the rest of the world of the chance to appreciate work being produced by non-establishment artists of the country.

You can see and hear the artists by clicking on the appropriate link. (Note that these are all broadband streams, so a dial up connection won't give good performance).

Peter Clarke is one of the very few black or coloured artists who made a living from art right through the apartheid years. He left his job in the Simon’s Town naval dockyard in the 1950’s and has been a painter, poet and printmaker ever since. Peter talks about the influences on his work and the process of printmaking.

Zwelethu Mthetwe now has an international reputation as one of South Africa’s most interesting contemporary artists. His initial works were in the field of photography but he now works in a number of different media. In addition to an autobiographical introduction, Zwelethu talks about specific works of photography, chalk pastel and silk screen printing.

Jill Trappler’s association with art grew from her involvement in the country’s first mixed race workshop programme, run by her uncle, Bill Ainslie. As well as continuing her work as a teacher and workshop leader she has developed her own distinctive style of abstract painting.

Garth Erasmus worked for many years as an art teacher by day and a graffiti artist by night. From using his skills to spray images of Nelson Mandela on walls in Cape Town as part of his contribution to the struggle, he has now extended and developed the ideas and techniques of graffiti into a distinctive personal body of work.

Randy Hartzenburg’s work has been a direct response to madness which gripped his country for much of his adult life. He talks here about the political and social context to a range of his paintings, etchings and installations.

Emile Maurice focuses on art from the townships. Drawing on works held in the collection of the South African National Gallery, he explores the powerful representations of both domestic and political themes.


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