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Getting back to grass roots at KZNSA

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Xhosa Rhythm by Maureen Edgecumbe.

STARTING the new year on a good note, the KZNSA Gallery is hosting its annual Grassroots Members’ Exhibition, which runs until February 16. This exhibition is considered one of the highlights on the KZNSA Gallery calendar.

Each year, members of the KZNSA submit art works in keeping with a particular theme.

And this year Maureen Edgecumbe and Penny Brown are the artists participating in the exhibition, with the theme being Grassroots.

Tonight chatted to both artists about their works in the exhibition.

Edgecumbe says she fell in love with art at an early age: “This was recognised in my school years in Zimbabwe, where I enjoyed art and in my senior years became involved in stage set design for the school theatre productions.

“After school, I qualified as a graphic designer at the Natal Technikon, but years later I discovered fine art was my true calling.”

Of her work in the exhibition, she says: “My painting endeavours to express the ‘grass-roots’ cultural heritage gifts of rhythm, dance and harmonic ability of the Xhosa people, which I have been privileged to witness first-hand during walking trails along the Wild Coast.

“My work symbolises the free, open and often joyful expression of my subjects, and this, together with their emotion, is something I try to capture.”

Explaining her creative process, she says: “I am motivated and inspired by research into my subject. My artistic expression is a calling, and there is a definite spiritual connection in my art. I work in layers in a process where creation follows destruction, and vice versa.

“This means I will paint my canvas with full detail of the subjects’ faces and figures, and then wash over various areas with white, thus creating areas of blank canvas for reworking and integration into the work as a whole.”

As for Brown, she’s always had an interest in anything artistic: “When I realised I had an aptitude, the interest became much stronger. I did ceramics for many years, entering regional and national competitions, and they went very commercial.

“But I would say my preferred medium is mixed media. Having done ceramics, I like texture on the canvas, adding another dimension and the unexpected.”

Of her work in the exhibition, Brown says: “I tend to focus on one subject at a time. At the moment, I am focusing on ballet. I get my ideas from all sorts of areas, people, places and emotions.”

 

• The exhibition ends on February 16 at the KZNSA Gallery, 166 Bulwer Road. Call 031 277 1705.

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