Fire! The role of heat and light in African ArtThe Famous Idea Trading Company
Fire! The role of heat and light in African Art on exhibition at Standard Bank Gallery from 29 January – 31 December 2013.
The ethereal power of fire has enthralled the human race for millennia. It can be seen, heard, felt and smelt, but it cannot be grasped. This exhibition of historical and contemporary African art drawn from the Standard Bank African Art Collection, housed at the University of the Witwatersrand, explores the role arguably the single most important ‘shaper’ of human culture has played in African cultural expression.
Heat enabled human beings to cook their food and to make natural substances materials like clay, metal and wood, more durable. Heat and light generated by fire enabled our earliest ancestors to extend their waking time deep into the night, facilitating social gatherings and the development of social and religious practices.
Fire, utilised in metal smelting and working processes enabled the production of robust tools: hoes used for cultivating crops, axes and adzes for hunting, food preparation and defence and; metal ingots which were used as a medium of exchange. The exhibition includes a range of material associated with metal work, including bellows, ingots, gold weights and scales and iron implements.
Beautifully crafted clay pots on exhibition demonstrate the transformative power of fire and various stages of the ceramic manufacturing process.
In many African religious practices smoke is used as a part of ritual activity, to induce trances, make contact with the ancestors, or promote spiritual enlightenment. Beautifully decorated wooden and clay pipes, like those on exhibition, were seen as signifiers of social status.
The exhibition includes works by contemporary artists Georgie Pappageorge’s Inferno captures humankind’s entrancement with the spectacle of fire while Dianne Victor’s delicate and ethereal Smoke Portraits are made with the deposits of carbon from candle smoke on white paper.
Fire! The role of heat and light in African Art offers a fascinating insight into the meaning and significance of artefacts included in the Standard Bank African Art Collection. It is an exhibition that is sure to make visitors reflect differently on the manifestations of fire that they encounter in their daily lives.
Fire! The role of heat and light in African Art is curated by Barbara Freemantle, and runs at the Standard Bank Gallery, corner of Simmonds and Frederick Streets, Johannesburg, from 29 January – 31 December 2013. The Gallery (Tel: 011 631 4467) is open Mondays to Fridays, 08:00-16:30; on Saturdays, 09:00-13:00; and is closed on Sundays and public holidays. Admission is free. For more information about Standard Bank Gallery see www.standardbankarts.co.za
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Standard Bank Gallery
Address: Corner Simmonds and Frederick Street, Johannesburg
Tel: 011 631 4467
Gallery hours: Mon-Fri, 08:00-16:30; Saturday, 09:00-13:00
The gallery is closed on Sundays and public holidays.
The Famous Idea
011 446 7061/46
082 820 8584
Standard Bank Gallery
Web site: http://www.standardbankarts.co.za
Standard Bank Gallery, Marshalltown Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa