Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Extraordinary Contemporary Jewellery Beads and by-products; from concept, thinking through drawing and masterly crafted, on display at the FADA Gallery - The 2013 Thuthuka Jewellery Awards.

Bead,Mildah Motshegwa, 2nd year winner / Univ of Johannesburg.
Winner - Innovation award.
On display at the FADA gallery for one more day, is one of the most creative award exhibitions held this year. An exhibition of inventiveness that goes far beyond what one can imagine. At the centre of it all, is the common bead. But this is no ordinary visual experience of the round glass, wood, plastic and or seed bead. 

Quite the contrary, what we have here is a diverse range of unique beads and bi-products in response to an innovative competition brief. 
Thuthuka by its nature and directive to mentors and students alike, expect design concepts and ideas, skills and fine craftsmanship that challenges the conventions and breaks down the barriers that exists within our ordinary and basic understanding of jewellery products.
Earrings, Mildah Motshegwa. 2nd year winner, / University of Johannesburg
Winner Innovation award. (Image on the left).

Ballpoint pen drawings, Bead renderings.
Mildah Motshegwa.

It’s all about originality. We like to think out of the jewellery box and we encourage our students to do the same. Carola Ross, Thuthuka’s founder and Director. Thuthuka catalogue.

Zadie Becker, 2nd year Univ.of Johannesburg.
Highly commended for technique across all elements.

Zadie Becker, 2nd year Univ.of Johannesburg. Pattern making.
Drawings in ballpoint pen. 
Produced by students from institutions that offer jewellery programmes, including the vocationally based National Diploma and the Degree Programmes, the apprenticeships and community based skills development teaching and learning offerings. Works on display are from Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Durban, Tshwane and further afield.

Ceramic slip cast Bud vaseZadie Becker, 2nd year Univ.of Johannesburg. (Image on the left).
Zadie Becker, 2nd year Univ.of Johannesburg. Pattern making.
Origami paper construction of bead.

Nora Kovats, 4th year student/ Univ. Stellenbosch,
Overall winner & Achievement award.
"Each year a theme is set to guide and inspire the young jewellers and this year, the theme is the African Bead – transfigured. Students were challenged to take the African bead and interpret it in a contemporary context. The challenge was to transform a traditional cultural object into something modern and new – to make the expected take an unexpected turn. 

2013. Thuthuka Overall Winner; Nora Kovats, 4th year student/ Univ. StellenboschOverall winner & Achievement award.

The competition brief required students to go one step further by taking inspiration from their unique bead design and to translate it into original rings (1st years), earrings (2nd years) and neckpieces (3rd years). An extra voluntary task was to transform the original bead into a miniature bud vase – something to hold a single flower or leaf". Carola Ross, Thuthuka’s founder and Director. Thuthuka catalogue.

Nomathemba Sibeka, Velobala. Crocheted silver wire bead,
earrings and cap. Highly commended for design. 
Scelo Mhlongo, Velobala. Finely woven silver earrings and bead.
 Highly commended for technique.

The one-of-a-kind beads were developed as  prototypes that inspired a range of connected products, as you have never seen before. The Thuthuka Jewellery Development Programme and the Thuthuka Jewellery Awards is sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa. This skills development program and awards exhibition is the brainchild, founder and director of Thuthuka -  Carola Ross.

Work submitted by Velobala, Kwazulu Natal. 

Mzuvukile Nomaqhiza, Velobala,
Knitted silver wire bracelet and silver beads.
Highly commended for Design. 

Stacey Le Roux, Bead.2nd year Univ.of Johannesburg.
Beads in all shapes and sizes are manufactured in a variety of materials, techniques and processes. As each student had to produce at least two jewellery pieces; their bead and either a ring, earrings and or neckpiece, as well as the optional budvase, you can just imagine the scale of this Jewellery exhibition. 
Londiwe Dladla, 2nd year Univ.of Johannesburg.
Bead and set of earrings.
Although the jewellery products are small in size, both floors of the FADA gallery are transformed to showcase the work and to bring credit where its due; each work is displayed with the names and photographs of the participating students.
Nhlanhla Baloyi. 2nd year Univ.of Johannesburg.
Bead and set of earrings.

FADA Gallery, Thuthuka exhibition venue.
University of Johannesburg.

A stunning catalogue, one of the best I have seen this year, contextualises the aims and objectives of Thuthuka, including the role of the various participating institutions. But more importantly it showcases the work in beautifully styled photographs with the images of the students, lecturers and mentors and their workshops.  In all my years of teaching at the TWR and now as the University of Johannesburg, I have never taught such talented, committed and creative students.
Bud Vase, First Year,University of Johannesburg (image on the left).   

Their commitment and dedication is unrivalled in their contribution to this awards exhibition. The second year students produced amazing drawings and a range of products that are masterfully crafted, some taking it to an even higher level in the production of their ceramic budvases featured here.

Budvase, Nhlanhla Baloyi. 2nd year Univ.of Johannesburg (image on the left).
Budvases, as cited in the Thuthuka catalogue,
Photographs by Thuthuka official photographer. 

This being only their third product in clay - the creative end results are quite extraordinary. Congratulations to all the students and especially the prize winners for an amazing contribution to an extraordinary awards exhibition.

Budvase, Mildah Motshegwa. 2nd year winner, / University of Johannesburg
Winner Innovation award. (Image on the left).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hon Invited to exhibit at 2014 Taiwan Ceramics Biennale; work included in the winning proposal of Wendy Gers (a fellow South African) - adjudicated the official curator of the 2014 Taiwan Ceramics Biennale.

Wendy Gers, a research associate at VIAD* (FADA’s Research Centre, University of Johannesburg South Africa) has won the prominent international competition to be the official curator of the 2014 Taiwan Ceramics Biennale. Seven international jurors selected Gers based on her research experience and cutting edge project proposal entitled, "Ceramics Now: Art, Design & Digital Materiality." She was adjudicated the winner after being shortlisted with eight other prominent curatorial candidates from across the globe. In the preliminary selection, potential curators were chosen based on their experience (CV), past curatorial projects, and their contemporary project proposal for the 2014 International Ceramics Biennale.

The highly esteemed curatorial role forms part of the 2014 International Ceramics Biennale (Competition) to be held at the very impressive Yingge Ceramics Museum in Taiwan from May 9 to October 12, 2014. Since 2012, the museum has been alternating between a work contest and a curatorial exposition every two years to expand and promote the cultural contribution of the international ceramics community.
and the ship sails on, Photograph (detail) of ceramic installation
with projected animation (artist's ballpoint pen drawings).
Two renowned South African Ceramists, whose cutting edge works were included in her curatorial proposal, were invited to exhibit their work at the prestigious international ceramics event next year. Eugene Hon a senior lecturer at FADA (the blogger) will showcase his latest work, a ceramic installation with projected animation titled, and the ship sails on (image above).
Masquerade, Press moulded mask
by Clementina van der Walt.

Clementina van der Walt, a lecturer at the Ceramics Department in the eighties, now based in Cape Town, will exhibit one of her renowned wall panels of press moulded masks titled, Masquerade, that alludes to the ongoing tensions associated with forging a new national identity for the so called 'Rainbow Nation' in post-Apartheid times. See image above- follow the link provided for a review by Wilma Cruise of the exhibition titled, Masquerade, held at the Irma Stern Museum  December 2004-5. 

and the ship sails on, photograph (detail), ceramic installation
 with projected animation (artists ballpoint drawings).
In her winning proposal of her choice of ceramists, she states, ‘I endeavored to include a significant proportion of artists and designers attached to universities, academic research laboratories and reputed international organizations such as the International Academy of Ceramics (lAC). This ensures that most of the ceramists are leaders and pioneers in their respective fields. For me, this is essential in order to ensure that Ceramics NOW: art, design & digital materialities sets a benchmark. The artists included are all engaged in an elevated level of critical discourse and designers at the a-front of the digital revolution.’

Wendy Gers the Franco-South African Art Historian and Curator currently lectures at l’Ecole Supérieure d’Art et de Design du Valenciennes, France. She formerly worked as Curator at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth. Research interests include twentieth century Southern African performing arts (especially dance and performance); craft and design (ceramics is her primary area of expertise) as well as museology and curatorial practices. She is also a researcher, arts writer and curator linked to VIAD.

*VIAD – The Research Centre (RC), Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) is an integral part of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) South Africa, spanning across all of its eight departments. The RC’s conceptual underpinnings are based upon the thematics of visually embodying identity in art and design practices.​​

CV; Wendy Gers (Executive summary)

BA Art History and Classical Civilisation, University of KwaZulu-Natal; AUDIS Advanced University Diploma in Information Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal; MA History of Art University of KwaZulu-Natal (cum laude); currently pursuing doctoral studies, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts, London
Gers has authored various museum catalogues, catalogue articles, and published in various journals including Art South Africa, Ceramic Review, and Image & Text. In 2011 and 2012 Gers published articles on Robyn Orlyn and Steven Cohen (Art South Africa 2012. 10(3):48-51); contemporary South African Ceramics (Art South Africa  2012. 10(4):54-59) and on Re-Presentations of Southern San Parietal Art on Drostdy Ware Pottery from the 1950s (Image & Text 2011. 18:).

Fluent in English, French and Spanish, Gers regularly participates in various academic conferences and forums in Europe and South Africa. In July 2012 she participated in the World Economic History Congress, University of Stellenbosch and the South African Visual Arts Historians National Conference at UNISA, Pretoria. She gives public lectures in South Africa and France. Gers is currently finalising a large monograph on Southern African Potteries: 1880-1980, and recently collaborated with Iziko SA Cultural History Museum on the exhibition Fired, which displays works from their ceramic collections, and will show for three years at the Cape Town Castle. Awards and Grants include a 2010 Research Grant Award from Central Saint Martin’s College, University of the Arts.