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UAE’s First Ever Exhibition of Contemporary South African Art

Exhibition of films includes work by internationally acclaimed artists William Kentridge and Robin Rhode

DUCTAC’s Gallery of Light is set to host the UAE’s first ever contemporary South African Art Exhibition this January when it plays host to Mine, an exhibition of films by South African artists. The exhibition, which is supported by Emax, will run from 18th January – 4th February, 2012 and will showcase video productions by 19 South African artists including internationally-renowned artists William Kentridge and Robin Rhode.

The exhibition is curated by South African artist, photographer and curator Abrie Fourie, who explains the concept behind the exhibition: “The title refers not only to the idea of deep level mining, but to the concept of personal ownership. The works featured have been chosen for their diversity, with the common denominator that the artists make reference to themselves in their work, either in person, as actor, model, observer, interviewer or instigator. Mine seeks to explore the myriad ways in which we identify and position our ‘selves’.”

Some of the artists whose works feature in Mine currently live in European capitals, while others are based in South Africa, although their increased presence in the global art world since 1994 means making frequent forays abroad. Nevertheless, whether creating from a local or diasporal perspective, and no matter how varied the themes and artistic strategies may be, all the works presented in this show are centred in one way or another around specifically ‘South African’ issues.

Mine has been made possible thanks to the invaluable support of Emax, the largest electronics retailer in the Middle East. The contribution and technical assistance provided demonstrates the company’s continuing support for the arts in our society. Mr. Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of Emax, said, “We have continually worked towards giving back to society who have played an integral role in our success. Mine is a wonderful initiative and Emax is proud to be associated with it.”

At the heart of the exhibition are works by internationally-renowned artists William Kentridge and Robin Rhode. Kentridge is known for his evocative prints, charcoal drawings, animated films and theatre works that reflect the complexity of a South African society brutalised by decades of apartheid. Kentridge has had major exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2009); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2008); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2007); and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2004), among others. He has been recognised with many awards, including the Sharjah Biennale 6 prize, Carnegie Prize (Carnegie Museum of Art) and the Goslar Kaisserring Award.

Robin Rhode approaches his multidisciplinary and unconventional art practice through the high energy of street inventiveness and youth culture, often drawing on the subcultural codes of hip hop, popular sports, film and fashion to render the everyday as art. Rhode’s work is included in the collections of numerous international institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA),New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; the Honart Museum Collection, Tehran; and the Goetz Collection in Munich, amongst others.

The other artists whose works are featured in the exhibition are: Bridget Baker, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Doris Bloom, Jacques Coetzer, Teboho Edkins, Simon Gush & Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Donna Kukama, Michael MacGarry, Nandipha Mntambo, Zanele Muholi, Cedric Nunn, Berni Searle, Lerato Shadi, Penny Siopis, Gregg Smith and Johan Thom.

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