Student Author Information

Teresa GunterFollow

Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

April 2019

Department

History

Abstract

In a nation firmly entrenched in the principles of white supremacy and complete separation of the races, self-determination eluded South Africans of color whose visual culture had a positive impact on important political changes during apartheid. This paper examines the works of South African artists like John Mohl, Helen Sibidi, Gavin Jantjes, Ernest Cole, and Thami Mnyele who drew inspiration from their forebears and each other and enlist the strife of individuals, as well as their own struggles, to engage the viewer in intellectual and emotive narratives.

Embedded art was a fundamental element of South African communities before colonization by Europeans in the mid seventeenth century. However, as Dutch and English missionaries and colonizers diffuse their particular brands of religion and establish networks for trade, pre-colonial ways of living largely vanish as indigenous people adopt Western values and beliefs introduced by Europeans bent on saving Africans from eternal damnation. Their transforming society required the adoption of new expressions of art to respond to their experiences and increasingly harsh forms of repression. Consequently, these black artists became direct accomplices to political activism by confronting the gritty residue of apartheid.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Lindsay Michie

Rights Statement

The right to download or print any portion of this material is granted by the copyright owner only for personal or educational use. The author/creator retains all proprietary rights, including copyright ownership. Any editing, other reproduction or other use of this material by any means requires the express written permission of the copyright owner. Except as provided above, or for any other use that is allowed by fair use (Title 17, §107 U.S.C.), you may not reproduce, republish, post, transmit or distribute any material from this web site in any physical or digital form without the permission of the copyright owner of the material.

Included in

History Commons

Share

COinS
 
Apr 10th, 3:15 PM

Revolution and Visual Culture in South Africa During Apartheid

In a nation firmly entrenched in the principles of white supremacy and complete separation of the races, self-determination eluded South Africans of color whose visual culture had a positive impact on important political changes during apartheid. This paper examines the works of South African artists like John Mohl, Helen Sibidi, Gavin Jantjes, Ernest Cole, and Thami Mnyele who drew inspiration from their forebears and each other and enlist the strife of individuals, as well as their own struggles, to engage the viewer in intellectual and emotive narratives.

Embedded art was a fundamental element of South African communities before colonization by Europeans in the mid seventeenth century. However, as Dutch and English missionaries and colonizers diffuse their particular brands of religion and establish networks for trade, pre-colonial ways of living largely vanish as indigenous people adopt Western values and beliefs introduced by Europeans bent on saving Africans from eternal damnation. Their transforming society required the adoption of new expressions of art to respond to their experiences and increasingly harsh forms of repression. Consequently, these black artists became direct accomplices to political activism by confronting the gritty residue of apartheid.