Celebrate National Women’s Day with us at the UJ Art Gallery’s Liewe Land! III opening—a fun, welcoming event for the whole family.

Celebrate Women’s Day with us as we embark on a captivating journey through the evocative landscapes of South Africa as portrayed by early 20th-century artists such as Nils Anderson, GJ Beukes, WH Coetzer, Erich Mayer, E Seib, and JEA Volschenk. These artworks, renowned for their distinctive style, showcase the awe-inspiring primal forces of rock and sky, with flora and geology taking center stage. Notably, these landscapes are often characterised by their absence of human presence. Inspired by a remarkable discovery of vintage prints at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, South Africa. The University of Johannesburg Art Gallery launches Liewe Land! III, led by a female curator Dineke Orton. The exhibition will run from 9 August 2023 at 11:00 until 8 September 2023.

Liewe Land! III invited a diverse group of contemporary artists to respond and reinterpret these vintage prints, breathing new life into the silent landscapes. Artists were encouraged to select one or more prints and imbue them with personal expression and transformative vision. The physical prints served as both material and muse, inspiring critical reflections, and creative responses. With the freedom to enhance, modify, erase, or reconfigure the prints, the artists embarked on a profound exploration of self-expression, resulting in the birth of unique and compelling artworks.

As curator and a PhD student affiliated with the SARChI Research Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture at the University of Johannesburg, Dineke Orton deliberately refrained from imposing a specific starting point. This open approach allowed the artists to freely respond and express their individual opinions and impressions. Some artists utilised the vintage prints as raw material for their creations, while others engaged in a dialogue with the historical artists or provided thought-provoking critiques of the depictions themselves.

Land, as a subject, encompasses a myriad of complexities, including political, socio-economic, and ecological dimensions. It is shaped not only by physical elements but also by the memories, myths, and personal narratives of those who traverse it. Liewe

Land! III brings together the artistic responses, stylistic strategies, and conceptual approaches of over 30 artists, inviting viewers to contemplate the constructed nature of land representations rather than perceiving them as objective, natural documentation.

Orton explains, “The exhibition challenges the classical art historical approach that seeks to contextualise artworks within the era that produced them. Liewe Land! III encourages us to explore older landscape representations through contemporary perspectives.” Criticisms of early South African landscape paintings, often centered on their romanticised portrayal of an untouched land devoid of human presence, will be deconstructed and reimagined within this exhibition.

Contrary to her expectations, Orton discovered that the artists’ responses encompassed a diverse spectrum of opinions, academic and artistic approaches, and reflections. This multifaceted tapestry of interpretations paints a richer and more nuanced picture of the topic of land in South Africa.

Previously showcased as part of Aardklop at the Voortrekker Monument in September-October 2021 and later at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn in March 2022, this third iteration of Liewe Land! III promises to be an immersive and thought-provoking experience.

Featured artists include Anastasia Pather, Annemi Conradie, Balekane Legoabe, Bevan de Wet, Caroline Suzmann, Colin Meyer, Diane Victor, Gordon Froud, Hannelie Coetzee, Henrietta Scholtz, Jaco van Schalkwyk, Jan Maanda Tshikhuthula, Johan Stegmann, Joy, Karin Preller, Kate’Lyn Chetty, Phumulani Ntuli and Elize Vossgätter.

In addition to the launch of Liewe Land! III, we will have exciting activities for the whole family. Firstly, we will have a face painting station for the younger ones, as well as a designated colouring and painting table where they can also connect to their artistic. While the young ones are entertained, you can either paint alongside them or experience our latest VR experience, which was a hit at the recent Vrystaat Kunstefees.

Black Boi Meets Boogeyman is a mind-blowing collaboration between Siziintsomi Creations, Different Immersive, and the incredible World Poetry Slam Champion, Xabiso Vili, along with The Brother Moves On. This visionary XR 360° visual album offers an immersive experience with multiple endings where you get to choose your own adventure. The album aims to transport you to new realms of creativity and healing, using XR (Extended Reality) artistry to ignite the imagination of artists and communities alike.

Our in-house coffee bar will also be serving mimosas for the adults and slush puppies for the kids. But that’s not all; delicious gourmet street food and music await you on our piazza so that you can enjoy a late breakfast and early lunch.

Don’t miss out on this delightful experience where you can relax, unwind, and savour your favourite beverage while creating precious memories with your family.

(All foods and drinks are available for purchase, and to ensure utmost convenience, we gladly accept both cash and card payments).

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About UJ Arts & Culture  

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.  

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.