Standard Bank Art Gallery collaborates with Fort Hare for its Art Collection

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The Standard Bank Art Gallery in Johannesburg, collaborated with the University of Fort Hare’s De Beers Art Gallery to present “A Black Aesthetic: A View of South African Artists (1970 -1990)” This is an exhibition that draws from the University of Fort Hare’s art collection. The collection represents over 150 creatives and was declared a National Cultural Treasure. It houses some of South Africa’s most revered artists such as Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba, Dumile Feni and Gladys Mgudlandlu and more. It ranges a wide assortment of disciplines such as etchings, woodcuts, linocuts, serigraphs, drawings, paintings and sculptures.Curated by Standard Bank Art Gallery Manager and Curator Dr Same Mdluli, the works of Black artists from various backgrounds; whose style and approach to art was distinctly each of their own. The exhibition aims to encourage a more critical engagement of these artists, whose works have been historically neglected. One of the highlights of the month long exhibition was the night Mr Abdul Bham handover additional artefacts of the Dumile Feni collection. Mr Abdul Bham, a very close associate of Mr Feni, spoke favourably on his past time friend and the political struggle icon.  This notable gesture, added even more value to Fort Hare’s art collection, which includes liberation archives as well.


Keynote speaker Dr Nomusa Makhubu spoke eloquently about the disparity of White Africans and Indigenous Black Art. She said, ‘The pieces on display show what each race’s attention was on; in that White Artists had no Africans in their landscape pictures and African artists focused on exactly the opposite.” This, to her, shows that they wanted to remove Africans from the African landscape yet the African Artists showed images of Africans in the land and depicted township life, which made the painting relevant to the times, a stark difference to their white counter parts.”


Prof Buhlungu, an avid supporter of the classic arts; in his opening remarks, indicated, “This partnership with Standard Bank is a thing of things to come. We want to exploit the rich heritage of the University of Fort Hare and bring it to the people of South Africa” He concluded, “This is ours, this is the University of Fort Hare’s art collection.” The evening was a joyful experience attended by the Gauteng Alumni Chapter executives where African art took centre stage, Dr Jongi Klass remarked “that during their time they had no idea of the impact of art, more over African art.