Where are our black artists now?

The writer says he is sure there are many young blacks who, if introduced to art, could step into the footsteps of luminaries such as Ephraim Ngatane, Gerald Sekoto (pictured) and Lucas Sithole, to name a few.
The writer says he is sure there are many young blacks who, if introduced to art, could step into the footsteps of luminaries such as Ephraim Ngatane, Gerald Sekoto (pictured) and Lucas Sithole, to name a few.
Image: Unknown

A few months ago, the Standard Bank Art Gallery hosted an exhibition of art works by black artists. It was aptly titled A black aesthetic: A view of SA Artists (1970-1990).

Arising from this exhibition, one is tempted to ask this poignant question: "Whatever has happened to black artists?" It's years since one has seen exhibitions by black artists.

While conceding that blacks are not into painting and sculpturing, I am sure there are many young blacks who, if introduced to art, could step into the footsteps of luminaries such as Ephraim Ngatane, Gerald Sekoto and Lucas Sithole, to name a few.

These artists flourished in the apartheid era. Through their art works they graphically captured the sociopolitical and economic situation in the country.

They depicted the daily struggles of the oppressed people. They used their fingers to show a finger at the apartheid regime.

Some of these artists died in penury. This was partly because they were ripped off by overseas art collectors as well as some local art galleries who bought their art works for a song.

A few years ago, there were stories in the media that art works bought by international collectors would be brought back to SA. How far are we with this project?

Dr Phil Mtimkulu, e-mail

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