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White boys on death, war and love

Main Gallery
4 October to 1 November
and 14 December to January 2008

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White boys on death, war and love

Contemporary South African Art from the Tatham Art Gallery collection

This exhibition features works from the Tatham Art Gallery collection dating from the 1980s and 1990s; using Andries Botha’s ‘South African Elegy’ as a starting point.

While an elegy is normally associated with a poem of lamentation or regret, usually interpreted as meaning a mournful or funeral song, the original Greek term might have been more broadly applied. When the elegy appears in surviving Greek literature, it is dedicated, not to death, but to war and love.

This exhibition features works that entered the Tatham Art Gallery collection in the 1980s and 1990s; using Andries Botha’s ‘South African Elegy’ (In the centre of the room) as a starting point.

While an elegy is normally associated with a poem of lamentation or regret, usually interpreted as meaning a mournful or funeral song, the original Greek term might have been more broadly applied. When the elegy appears in surviving Greek literature, it is dedicated, not to death, but to war and love.

Using the themes of death, war and love, a selection of works are brought into relationship with each other in this exhibition. These relationships highlight the way in which these, at the time promising white male artists, grappled with their place in a South African context.

The title:

The main title, White Boys are deliberately chosen as tongue in cheek. I know none of these boys can be referred to as juveniles. It is an inversion of the Apartheid terminology where any black man, regardless of age, was called a ‘boy’. Thus a white ‘boy’ is any white man regardless of age.

The motivation for this current selection is from my own observation on the tendencies of curatorship and exhibitions. Despite the anomaly of the ABSA l’Atelier winners, all being white, the focus of most exhibitions and collection policies has achieved their BEE targets. Black men, black women and white women are adequately represented in the Jabulisa 2006 exhibition as an example. With this exhibition I want to draw the pendulum back into white colonial patriarchy to see how far it can swing back into the other side of the cultural spectrum.

Gerhi Janse van Vuuren
Education Officer

Exhibition Summary:

20 works by 17 artists, 10 works from each decade

Artists and works included:


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