Impressions from South Africa

I found South Africa to be a strange place: caught between a painful past and an awkward present, and not knowing what to do with itself, kind of like the Deep South. My memories of Cape Town are multi-layered: on one layer, thrilling, because of the sheer beauty and randomness of the city, and on another, unsettling, because of the segregation that was everywhere I turned. Black artists living in South Africa under Apartheid faced endless hurdles. But they somehow managed to thrive through underground and alternative art studios and print workshops.

In two weeks, the exhibit “Impressions from South Africa” will open at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The show is a collection of over 100 posters, wall stencils, and books that display the huge range of printmaking done by artists during and after Apartheid. These prints, products of periods of repression and upheaval, reflect both the personal and political longings of the diverse printmakers. And they also reflect the New South Africa, still unsure of what it wants to be.

Photo via MoMA


Comments 3

  1. constant nomad March 8, 2011

    Love the way you compare South Africa to the deep south. What an interesting, and accurate, analogy. I had the same thoughts recently when I wandered a gorgeous plantation in South Carolina where my sister is getting married this fall. It was breathtakingly beautiful, in all its crumbling glory, yet reminders of what it once represented were omnipresent.

  2. blackwatertown March 18, 2011

    I’m off to New York shortly, thanks for the pointer to the Impressions from South Africa exhibition.
    While in Cape Town I found the District Six museum captivating – maybe the best museum I’ve ever experienced.

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