Diamond Bozas Retrospective Exhibition

This major exhibition celebrates the life and work of the Zululand artist, Diamond Bozas, who turns ninety in August. A wide selection of works recognises major genres in Diamond's work: still life, landscape and portrait. In all three, Diamond focuses on everyday sights, objects and people he has encountered in his life. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, based on audio interviews and Diamond's writings about his work.

Diamond Bozas: Still Life with Pumpkin, oil on board

Diamond Bozas: Still Life with Pumpkin, oil on board

A recent acquisition to the Gallery's permanent collection is Diamond's Still Life with Pumpkin. The painting was commissioned by a friend, Nellie Gebers, in 1980, and hung safely in her kitchen for many years after Diamond begged her to move it from its position above the kettle.

During his time in London in the 1950s, Diamond developed a great admiration for the still lifes of Cézanne. He also discovered the work of Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779), and on a trip to Paris in 1991 he visited the Louvre Museum, where: “In another gallery I came across a Chardin, not big, but it held its own against enormous paintings close to it. I went back to it again and again on subsequent visits.” Chardin's choice of simple everyday objects, exquisitely observed, arranged and painted, were to him a revelation. These elements, transformed in an African context, are reflected in Still Life with Pumpkin.

This exhibition is now touring South Africa, and the Tatham Art Gallery is one of the selected hosts. Our thanks and recognition goes to Colleen Roberts, a well known fibre artist from Durban, who was responsible for coordinating the South African contribution and touring programme.

Of Nkwalini Wilderness Diamond wrote “The cross which towers above the small chapel on top of Mandawe Hill symbolised love and peace to all the people in the area. It overlooks the fertile Nkwalini Valley and an old Zulu burial ground. The wilderness of euphorbias, acacias, aloes, umthombothi and varieties of vegetation is endemic to the area. Sadly this unique Eden is gradually being encroached upon by present day civilisation. The power of the cross over this wilderness is a reminder that God planted this garden. My work attempts to record it before it is desecrated further.”

Diamond Bozas: Nkwalini Wilderness, oil on board

Diamond Bozas: Nkwalini Wilderness, oil on board

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