As a concept, it is evocative as it is compelling – the idea of 10 contemporary South African artists “remixing” and reimagining works of the masters – iconic artists who’re renowned for creating memorable pieces of art.
Artists Georgina Gratrix, Blessing Ngobeni, Matshepo Matoba, Ziyanda Majozi, Asanda Kupa, Kanya Mehlo, Philiswa Lila, Themba Shibase, Jill Trappler and Sipho Hlati are all participating in Dialogues with Masters: Visual Perspectives on 20 Years of Democracy at the FNB Joburg Art Fair, a project presented by Grolsch.
Conceptualised and curated by Thembinkosi Goniwe on the occasion of South Africa’s 20th year as a democracy, the project sees the aforementioned visual artists interpreting the celebrated works of artists such as Gerard Sekoto, Peter Clark, John Mohl and Ernest Mancoba, amongst others.
“To us at Grolsch, this project represented an exciting opportunity to work with artists in a really imaginative way. It turns the notion of celebrating the classics totally on it’s head and offers a fresh, new perspective of these renowned art pieces,” comments Vika Shipalana, marketing manager for the brand. “We loved that contradiction - a respectful, yet independent take on the hallowed masters’ body of work. It really speaks to our brand's personality – a freedom of spirit, creativity and unapologetic commitment to craftsmanship. As a brand, we’re very supportive of the arts and this project exemplifies the way that the brand wants to engage with the arts, in an imaginative, inspired manner.”
Each artist’s re-imagining of their chosen master is a fascinating study and reflection of where our nation finds itself 20 years into its journey as a democracy. By being thought-provoking, inspiring, troubling and optimistic , each re-interpretation is an interesting statement about the South African story - past, present and future. Dialogues with the Masters also offers the contemporary artists license to thoughtfully appropriate and re-imagine the original work they’re referencing and create a new work that aims to be as compelling as the original.