Cape Town Diary: October 21, 2001. By Samantha Dahan, Bates College ’01.
Story posted October 23, 2001
Cape Town Diary: October 21, 2001
This past Saturday the Contemporary South African Art class witnessed the result of a semester's worth of work. As a final project the class helped to produce an exhibition entitled Homecoming. The exhibition was held at Guga S'Thebe, the cultural center in Langa. Homecoming included the work of seven artists; Alfred Budaza, Thami Kiti, Timothy Mafenuka, Lundi Mduba, Sophie Peters, Velile Soha, and Vuyile Cameron Voyiya. Vuyile Cameron Voyiya, an education officer at the South African National Gallery was the curator of this show.
For information on the other artists exhibiting, please see the SUN article on the exhibit.
Peter Clarke, a renowned artist and writer who lives in Ocean View, Cape Point, opened this exhibit. In his opening speech he spoke of the movement of artists in South Africa who were exiled, some voluntarily, some not, during the apartheid regime. He noted that some of these artists' works have been largely forgotten, as they were never celebrated publicly within their own communities, and never given the opportunity to write and produce freely. Taking note of the circumstances that have faced black artists in South Africa for so long, made attending Homecoming in Guga S'Thebe all the more worthwhile and important. (Read the keynote address from the exhibit opening.)
The exhibit provided an amazing opportunity for me to be involved with South African artists. Each member of the Contemporary South African Art class was given the opportunity to interview some of the artists, and then produce short biographies of them and their work. The artists were more than willing to share insight into their lives and work in contemporary South African society. They let each of us interview them until we were satisfied that we had a surplus of information, never making us feel as if we were a burden on their time.
I don't believe I was truly aware of how important this exhibit was to my time here until Saturday, after the opening. It was then, after taking in the artists' pleasure with our exhibition, that I realized how very important it was that we were able to help make this exhibit come to life. Guga S'Thebe was crowded with local artists, internationally renowned artists, friends, and students from the CBB community exchange program in Langa and Zerilda Park. The overall excitement surrounding the morning was evident; the crowd also enjoyed an African band and performance group from Langa.
There is no mistaking Homecoming's importance to the Guga S'Thebe center either. This center is not the usual site for art events, and although it is a cultural center, the Cape Town art community largely ignores this space. My only additional wish for the event was that we could have had more time and a larger exhibition space to increase the size of the exhibit, as some of the guests at the opening should also have been participants. Because of my own involvement in Homecoming I am certainly considering coming back to South Africa to continue to write and learn about contemporary South African art and artists.
--Samantha Dahan, Bates College '01
Additional information on the Cape Town program is at CBB Cape Town
Other Cape Town Diaries:
Cape Town Diary: July 3. By Julie McGee.
Cape Town Diary: July 14. By Julie McGee.
Cape Town Diary: July 27. By Kristen M. Heim.
Cape Town Diary: July 27. By Rachel Meiklejohn.
Cape Town Diary: August 6. By Paul Min.
Cape Town Diary: August 6. By Heather Finn.
Cape Town Diary: August 10. By Chris Reigeluth.
Cape Town Diary: August 13. By Kathryn Spirer.
Cape Town Diary: August 15. By Philip Drake.
Cape Town Diary: August 20. By Dana Kramer.
Cape Town Diary: August 20. By Noah Lambie.
Cape Town Diary: August 24. By Brendan Ferriter.
Cape Town Diary: August 27. By Katie Spirer.
Cape Town Diary: August 27. By Laura Bilodeau.
Cape Town Diary: August 31. By Kristen Heim.
Cape Town Diary: Sept. 1. By Samantha Dahan.
Cape Town Diary: Sept. 4. By Julie McGee.
Cape Town Diary: Sept. 14. By Claire Cuno.
Cape Town Diary: Sept. 25. By Laura Bilodeau.
Cape Town Diary: Sept. 28. By Noah Lambie.
Cape Town Diary: Oct. 3. By Paul Min.
Cape Town Diary: Oct. 8. By Chris Reigeluth.
Cape Town Diary: Oct. 12. By Brendan Ferriter.
Cape Town Diary: Oct. 12. By Rachel Meiklejohn.
Cape Town Diary: Oct. 15. By Heather Finn.
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