Awkward Art Histories: Post-Apartheid Trauma and Anxiety in Contemporary South African Art
Friday 28 October, 7pm
Art historian Sue Ecclestone will be giving a series of talks on Awkward Art Histories. Taking subjects not usually discussed in mainstream art history lectures, Sue will lead us through some of the more sensitive subjects of art historical discourse.
For those South African Artists that grew up during the period of apartheid there was a distinct need to use their artistic medium to confront the issues that faced them on a daily basis. Their work was based on reality and was often a harsh reminder of matters that some would like to ignore or forget. Dealing with issues of shame and trauma, attacks of dignity and feelings of failure, both white and black artists used their work to critique the apartheid regime’s brutality and oppression based on colour and gender. Two decades on, artists continue to use their work to register their anxiety but this time dealing with post-apartheid identity.
Under apartheid, identity was fixed, owned and controlled. Post-apartheid white artists use their art to articulate their confusion regarding that identity, while black artists struggle to gain recognition as international artists. In this talk we explore some of the art that has been produced in the twenty-two years since apartheid officially ended in South Africa and how it articulates these issues of trauma, identity and anxiety.