The Davis Museum at Wellesley College Poses Universal Questions about Social Culture in Life on Paper: Contemporary Prints from South Africa

  • WELLESLEY, Massachusetts
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  • September 18, 2017

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David Tsoka (b. 1992) Johannesburg, South Africa, All Things Began to Happen, 2013 Linocut. Dimensions: image: 23 1/4 in. x 35 1/4 in. (59.1 cm x 89.5 cm); sheet: 30 3/8 in. x 43 7/8 in. (77.2 cm x 111.4 cm) Gift of Artist Proof Studio 2017.58
Davis Museum at Wellesley College

The Davis Museum at Wellesley College will present Life on Paper: Contemporary Prints from South Africa, an exhibition that investigates existential questions raised by diverse artists through works on paper including drypoints, lithographs, screenprints, woodcuts, and more. The exhibition, which honors recent gifts to the collection by the Artist Proof Studio (APS) in Johannesburg, APS Director and University of Johannesburg Associate Professor Kim Berman, APS Manager of Educational Programs Lucas Nkgweng, and Dr. Pamela Allara, Brandeis University Associate Professor Emerita of Contemporary Art, will be on view in the Robert and Claire Freedman Lober Viewing Alcove from September 19 through December 17, 2017.


"Taught in both academic institutions and community education centers, printmaking has long held a prominent place in South African modern and contemporary art," said Dr. Amanda Gilvin, Assistant Curator, and curator of the exhibition. "These recent gifts to the Davis add to a strong existing African art collection. The exhibition combines several of our new acquisitions with other South African artworks acquired since 2000."


All eleven works of art in the exhibition raise questions about what it means to live as a human on earth, and some also highlight issues specific to South Africa. For example, in All Things Began to Happen, 2013, the up-and-coming artist David Tsoka depicts the entire "journey of life." In addition, two drypoints by world-renowned artist William Kentridge, Living Language (Cat), 1999, and Living Language (Panic Picnic), 1999, explore the miscommunications inherent in all acts of translation.


Wellesley College Influence Reaches Far and Wide

While organizing the exhibition, curator Amanda Gilvin came across an interesting connection. Christine Dixie's The Birthing Tray, Milk, 2006, from the artist's Parturient Prospects project, examines past and present approaches to childbirth. When creating the series, Dixie took inspiration from The Art and Ritual of Childbirth in Renaissance Italy (Yale University Press: 1999), by Wellesley College Professor of Art Jacqueline Marie Musacchio. During the exhibition, the Wellesley College community will be able to witness the influence of Professor Musacchio's scholarship on a contemporary South African artist.


Life on Paper: Contemporary Prints from South Africa is presented with generous support from the Constance Rhind Robey '81 Fund for Museum Exhibitions.





Tuesday, September 19

6:30 - 9 p.m.

Remarks at 7 p.m.

Davis Lobby and Galleries

The Davis Museum invites the public to celebrate the opening of its fall 2017 exhibitions—including six special installations that bring spectacular energy and creative visual innovation to the Wellesley College campus. Guests may welcome visiting artist Eddie Martinez in debuting his major solo exhibition, Ants at a Picknic, and enjoy a first look at Hrair Sarkissian: Horizon; Martin Luther: Protest in Print; Life on Paper: South African Prints from the Davis Collections; Soong Mayling: Paintings; and David Teng Olsen: Smoked My Head on Yes Waters.



Tuesday, September 26

4 p.m.

Robert and Claire Freedman Lober Viewing Alcove

Assistant Curator Amanda Gilvin will discuss the importance of printmaking in South African art history and highlight the shared life questions posed by artists in the exhibition.

Davis Museum
About Davis Museum

One of the oldest and most acclaimed academic fine arts museums in the United States, the Davis Museum is a vital force in the intellectual, pedagogical and social life of Wellesley College. It seeks to create an environment that encourages visual literacy, inspires new ideas, and fosters involvement with the arts both within the College and the larger community. ABOUT WELLESLEY COLLEGE AND THE ARTS The Wellesley College arts curriculum and the highly acclaimed Davis Museum are integral components of the College’s liberal arts education. Departments and programs from across the campus enliven the community with world-class programming– classical and popular music, visual arts, theatre, dance, author readings, symposia, and lectures by some of today’s leading artists and creative thinkers–most of which are free and open to the public. Since 1875, Wellesley College has been the preeminent liberal arts college for women. Known for its intellectual rigor and its remarkable track record for the cultivation of women leaders in every arena, Wellesley—only 12 miles from Boston—is home to some 2300 undergraduates from every state and 75 countries.

Tags: african arts

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