Serving Msunduzi through the Visual Arts
FOTAG Focus Articles
For a number of years the Natal Witness ran articles by FOTAG members. These articles called the FOTAG Focus discussed artworks from the collection on display.
In the Orlando train
1940/41, oil on canvas
Gerard Sekoto (1913-1993)
by Val Woodley
This oil painting could be called A Study in Browns. It depicts three men in the dark interior of a railway coach painted in various shades of brown with black outlines on hats, jackets and windows; powerful brush strokes; pleasing composition.
The figures, shown from waist upwards, are huddled together, two on one seat facing the third who is bent over a newspaper. Their attitude is intense. Does World War 2 news absorb them or perhaps local incidents affecting their lives in the early 40s? A relief from the sombre tones is shown in the light reflecting on the blue of one man's shirt at centre and the warm tan colour of a lapel at right front. Sekoto, a self-taught Pedi artist, was born at a mission station near Middelburg, Transvaal. He trained as a teacher but after a few years became a professional artist. He painted in oils and his subjects centred around "the urban life of his people.....working on a social theme"*, in a unique style of rounded brush strokes.
By the 1940s the New Group had been formed in Cape Town to forge a link between contemporary South African artists. Many well-known artists of that time were members, including Sekoto. By the late forties he was studying art in Paris and was absorbed into Parisian life.
*From: South African Art - Tate Art Gallery Catalogue 1948/49
The Tatham Art Gallery holds an Art Collection that contains significant British and French artworks dating back to the 18th century. Its South-African art collection is focused on, but not exclusive to, the art of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Tatham Art Gallery hosts a range of Art Exhibitions. These include traveling and researched exhibitions as well as exhibitions initiated by the Gallery and compiled from the collection.
A selection of current and archival articles from the Tatham Art Gallery. These articles provide a historical and contemporary perspective on the Gallery and the visual arts in KwaZulu-Natal.