Siedell believes that “art works are not merely objects but products of institutional intention and belief, made under certain conditions and intended to be viewed in specific contexts.” If we as artists are to imagine a better synergy artistic practice and religious practice, we need to do the hard work of understanding these beliefs and intentions.
Since the 1980s when The Gift (Lewis Hyde) was first published, more and more alternatives to the traditional market-system have presented themselves – patronage, crowd-funding and community-funded work in non-profit organisations. Or perhaps these subtle gift exchanges have always been part of certain aspects of our lives. Most of the important things in our lives (like parents, mentors, friendship, insight), cannot be monetised (‘I am x amount of Rands worth per hour’). Nonetheless, the bottom-line question for many of the artists in our community remains the same – how do I pay the bills.
Inspired by organizations like CIVA, artway.eu, Morphe Arts and The Rabbit Room, South African artists have realised the need for a place where artists can think deeply and come together and dialogue about faith.
Seeking for ‘mentors in hope’ in the troubling times in South Africa and abroad made me reflect on some of the ways Chagall seems to brave despair.
Hoping to offer a Christian perspective on the growing discourse within African Contemporary art, the ‘Unleavened’ exhibition was imagined as a place of restoration but also of provocation. The theme Leaven provided a metaphor “through which to view the work of young artists as they explore the presence and impact of culture, gender, politics and religion in their lives today”.
Voicing Creation’s Praise (1991) is a highly detailed and staccato piece of writing, a bit like a Beethoven Scherzo. Jeremy Begbie is known for his writing and lecturing in theology and the arts and is a professor at the Duke University Divinity School. He also studied music and is an accomplished musician.
Elbie Visser’s oil series titled Fragmented heroes speak about ruins and decay, but not in the dialect of the sublime and Romantic that is so typically associated with it. The series of 5 paintings were exhibited at a group exhibition titled Soma as part of a 40 Stones exhibition at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda.
Gathering faith-based artists into a community for discourse, dialogue and practice in the arts is a liberating and life-giving venture