• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Student art hits hard on social issues

Sinenceba Mbanti brings street children with to the gallery so they cannot be ignored.

The quality and content of research-based art pieces by the Walter Sisulu University’s B-Tech degree graduates punches society in the gut with its honesty and confrontational nature.

Even Vice-Chancellor Professor Rob Midgley could not help but spend R25 000 to make sure that the 22 000-student population is exposed to this art that serves as social commentary.

The twelve artists took on political, socio-economic and spiritual works that are currently being exhibited at the Ann Bryant Gallery in Southernwood.

They deal with the place of ex-convicts in society, arts as a way to heal with nature and spirituality, mob justice, repercussions of divorce, the use of Xhosa traditional beads to examine fatherhood, understand intwaso and how the ancestors call to fees must fall.

“The artworks that I bought will go up in spaces on all four campuses of the university to give the institution some artistic soul. If we do not have that cultural bit inside us - then we are not complete human beings. I maintain that this department is one of the best-kept secrets in Africa,” said Midgley. Sinenceba Mbanti’s art is hard to ignore; life-sized mould made sculptures titled Brittleness in the streets: Fragility and deprived rights of children living in the streets of East London. The art seeks to confront the Metro, whom Mbanti feels, is ignoring children’s right to have a home and caregivers.

“Everybody passes street children; they are belittled and are of no value. They get into knife fights, sniff glue and take other drugs, but at night they are cold and need comfort. When you see them playing among each other, you have to realise that these are, after all, children,” says Mbanti. The exhibition has a very spiritual character with some students choosing to extend their presentations beyond art by burning impepho and other cultural expressions. It ends on November 13.

To view more pictures of different art pieces, click here: https://www.easterncaperisingsun.com/post/vc-spends-r25k-on-students-art-gallery

Athenkosi Seti's haunting paintings on the different ways ancestors call their loved ones.


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