Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hon's homage to Sue Greenberg

The blogger captured this image on one of his trips to NID in India.
The truth be told, that when truly great figures, synonymous with the founding and managing of organisations, centres of excellence, NGOs, galleries and museums, move on, it more than often heralds in the end of an era. Their drive and commitment is fueled on by their uncompromising passion. Their heart felt vision impregnates every nook and cranny of the cause and is manifested throughout the organization in every object, product, decision and effect. Such is the nature of the beast, of which legacies are made. Loved and or hated for their every decision, the go-ahead required in every sphere of the place and or space, spurned on by their meticulous attention to detail. A hands-on approach often misconstrued as their need to control. However no one would disagree, that long after this journey has ended, fondest memories, will linger longer in the acknowledgements and admiration of their family, friends, and protégés. Theirs is a contribution that will forever be remembered; etched in the historical archives, but more importantly, is shared and honoured by all in the community.

Ukhamba Zanele 
Mention those who contributed significantly to the development of the crafts in KwaZulu Natal (rural and urban) for decades, then one individual stands out as a key pillar of the arts and crafts community. Sue Greenberg’s nurturing qualities are endearing. Her commitment and dedication often extended far beyond the call of duty and available resources.  All in support of the joy of making – the handcrafted artifact.  Hence the name of her most recent craft ventures, The Artisan, the meticulously considered, beautifully realized, efficiently and effectively managed Gallery on Florida Road. 
Artisan Contemporary Gallery

Her promotional and curatorial endeavours in support of the crafts (National Living Treasures) may have changed location, position and face over many years, but her steadfast commitment to promote the work of local crafts people, will forever be remembered by all whom have had the pleasure to meet her and work with her. I am sure all artists, crafts people and in particular ceramists would agree, that her decision to move on, will leave a huge gap in the local crafts and in particular the ceramics sector - follow link to see the ceramics in her gallery. Her experience and knowledge will be sorely missed, the impact of which will be felt far beyond the borders of KwaZulu-Natal for many years to come.   
One of our many field trips into the Tugela Valley. Gauhar Raza,
Hester Du Plessis and Sue Greenberg, visiting the
Mgwassa potters. 
I personally stand in awe of her generous support to the ceramic and craft communities. I have known Sue as a personal friend for many years. Our association reaches far back and involved numerous ceramic and craft ventures, including the establishment of the local craft council, excursions into the rural areas (see images above) and curating numerous awards exhibitions. More recently Homage to Nesta Nala, held at the FADA Gallery in 2007 (images featured here and Below).  Without her contribution, our national exhibitions and competitions would not have been truly representative.
Nesta Nala, Uphiso, collection UJ.
Nesta Nala, Ukhamba. 
In our many years of collaboration and association, one event in particular, stands out as an unforgettable experience. The moment Nesta Nala was pronounced the Gold Award winner at the first ever-prestigious FNB Vita Crafts Now Awards exhibition - held in Natal in 1995. This was  the year SA won the Rugby world cup.
Nesta Nala
Image Hon.
Everyone was so emotional. Honouring Nesta Nala in the flesh with this prestigious national award, herald in a new era for local crafts. The awards exhibition bore testimony to our diverse cultures – finally we have reached our goal to promote the work of all craftspeople across the nation - rural and urban. As the co-founder of the South African Crafts Council, I worked closely with Sue Greenberg, the local Crafts Council Coordinator, to host and curate the awards exhibition sponsored by First National Bank. 
Ukhamba, Zanele Nala. 
Some of our local crafts people live in the most remote areas of our country and for centuries their contribution to our culture remained unrecognized (apartheid legacy). Sue’s close association and communication with the artist and her family ensured the artist's presence at the event (at short notice) - she had to make many personal sacrifices to achieve this. Woman like Sue are seldom honoured for their uncompromising support for the local crafts by regional and national governments. She made it happen at all costs and it was very special indeed. A moment I will cherish forever. Bravo Sue Bravo. 
Exhibition at Artisan titled Memories
Please come and show her your support at this her swan-song exhibition at the Artisan Contemporary Gallery, titled Memories – a mixed media exhibition by 30 artists in celebration of a 29-year association with Sue Greenberg. To be opened by Brenden Bell, director of the Tatham Art Gallery, at 18:00 on Wednesday 9 November.  

1 comment:

jim said...

hi eugene,
lovely tribute post to sue, it must be one hell of a show. those black pots of nesta nala are sublime... beautiful