Memory and Magic: Contemporary Art of The !Xun & Khwe
by Hella Rabbethge-Schiller
The collection of 82 artworks gives an overview on the works of eleven artists of the !Xun and Khwe community which has been collected by Hella Rabbethge-Schiller between 1994 and 2004. The !Xun and Khwe community is the largest community of bushmen or 'First People' of Southern Africa. Originally refugees from Namibia and Angola, traumatised by civil war, slavery and persecution, they found their home in a township called Platfontein near Kimberley in Northern Cape.
This contemporary art of the San people emerged from a short phase of transition from the ancient culture - the rock art, the oral history, the old traditions, their 'magical' world -- to the modern, globalised world of media communication and formal education. "The old stories are quiet," a San artist lamented, mourning the gradual loss of his cultural heritage and traditions.
In March the Goethe-Institut will present Memory and Magic, an exhibition of 82 artworks. It will be the first show at the temporary exhibition space in the Origins Centre, Yale Road on the Wits Campus. It is the first time that this unique collection of Hella Rabbethge-Schiller who is based in Rosemheim in Germany can be viewed in South Africa. Thereafter this project, realised by Hella Rabbethge-Schiller, the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, Jacana Media and supported by CD-Shipping and Commerzbank will travel on to the William Humphreys Gallery in Kimberley, the National Art Gallery in Windhoek, the IZIKO National Gallery in Cape Town, the Durban Art Gallery and a gallery in Gaborone, Botswana.
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