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Art&Design Saturday presents FUBA: Preserving a Legacy

The November edition of Art&Design Saturday at Keyes Art Mile is proud to partner with the Friends of Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) to commemorate the 40th anniversary of FUBA, the Federated Union of Black Artists.

Keyes Art Mile FUBATaking place on 17 November, the exhibition of selected artworks, artefacts and documents is a celebration of the movement’s extraordinary legacy—in particular its influence on the development of late 20th Century South African art, including the Resistance Art movement during apartheid.
     Importantly, the exhibition also marks the grant awarded to Friends of JAG by the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. To be used for the FUBA Archive located at JAG, the grant was signed at a special event at Keyes Art Mile on 15 November organised by JAG, Friends of JAG, the City of Joburg and the U.S. Embassy.
     Alumni of the movement include artists such as David Koloane, Johannes Phokela, Samson Mnisi, Thomas Nkuna, Eunice Khulu, Vincent Baloyi, Tony Nkotsi, Bongi Dhlomo, Kagiso Pat Mautloa, Dumisani Mabaso, Kay Hassan, Helen Sebidi and Durant Sihale, just to name a few, and works by select FUBA artists will form the heart of the Art&Design Saturday event.
     MESH Cinema will host a panel discussion featuring art consultant and chairperson of Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Makgati Molebatsi in conversation with FUBA teacher Bongiwe Dhlomo and alumni, Motsumi Makhene and Johannes Phokela. Starting at 11:30, this will provide rare insight into this important historical resource.
     FUBA was established in 1978 to support black visual artists and other creatives during apartheid. It played a pivotal role in advancing many careers at a time when apartheid dispensation allowed for few other alternatives. Indeed the Bantu Education Act of 1953 is generally seen as a measure directed at downgrading schooling for black youth, to restrict them to the unskilled labour market. Johannesburg-based FUBA provided an alternative for aspirant black artists, and its legacy is evident in the significant list of students and lecturers associated with the Centre. These include David Koloane (FUBA’s first curator), Durant Sihali and Bongiwe Dhlomo—all renowned figures of 20th century South African art.

Keyes Art Mile FUBA     JAG’s FUBA archive represents a significant contribution to the Centre’s legacy and is of cultural significance to the whole of South Africa. However, lack of funding means that much of the archive is in danger of deterioration. Insufficient storage and much needed preservation and restoration pose the greatest threat. The grant awarded to Friends of JAG by the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation is therefore an important step towards ensuring the continued, living presence of this historic archive.
     Visitors are also encouraged to visit other galleries in the precinct on 17 November. On view at SMAC Gallery will be Pierre Vermeulen’s solo exhibition “Of itself” while TMRW Gallery will be exhibiting the acclaimed “Old Masters I New Realities”, featuring the work of Lady Skollie and Wayne Barker.
     Alongside these exhibitions in Trumpet on Keyes, November’s Art&Design Saturday at Keyes Art Mile provides an opportunity to see three key exhibitions at Everard Read and CIRCA:

  • Blessing Ngobeni’s “A Note From Error” looks at history and meditates on the errors that have been made by past generations. Ngobeni is particularly preoccupied with the concepts of oppression and the enslavement of the mind. The exhibition is curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe, who has worked closely with Ngobeni to unravel and articulate his multi-layered, multi-disciplinary practice.
  • Andrzej Urbanski’s “A03 2034/538/18” is a complex saturation of ‘frequencies’ that denotes painstaking awareness of colour and forms, balanced with a calm resolve. The Polish-born and German-homed artist is a contemporary painter who functions within his own harmony of rules and marked parameters. His distilled geometric language is a working practice that is clearly attuned to both fluid movement and stable formal resolution.
  • Barbara Wildenboer’s “Eros / Thanatos” sees the artist draw from her own dreams, anxieties and personal narratives and intuitively connect inner and outer worlds, present, past and future. She uses the medium of collage to create a contemporary Vanitas within the context of the Anthropocene era. Wildenboer uses a combination of analogue and digital processes to create work that mostly consists of collage, photo and paper-construction and digitally animated photographic sculpture.

As always, food and drink are an integral part of the mix at November’s Art&Design Saturday at Keyes Art Mile. MESH Club offers great coffee, breakfast, lunch and sundowners with a selection of bespoke cocktails from their new bar MIX, and visitors can also eat at award-winning Marble or head to BGR, Momo Kuro and Milk Bar for their delicious fare.

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