Artist’s hidden treasures unearthed

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TO NDR Sanna2 . Details of works by Sanna Naidoo.

THE BAT Centre launched the second artist in its Hidden Treasures initiative this week.

The project aims to afford undiscovered artists a professional platform to showcase their talent, to earn an income in the process.

Last month the centre kicked off the initiative with an exhibition of Basil Joel’s Colour Explorations, a solo exhibition of his latest paintings.

This week they launched Sanna Naidoo’s Artists for Change exhibition, also to partly commemorate Women’s Month.

Fortune Bengu, visual arts co-ordinator at the centre, said Naidoo is the perfect candidate to exhibit during Women’s Month because her work speaks for many South African women.

“She expresses deeply felt sentiments about political and gender injustices faced by South African women. She continues in post-apartheid South Africa to explore the state of women’s human rights and imagines a future of gender equality.”

Bengu said the Hidden Treasures initiative is already proving to be a useful tool to unearth our artistic heritage and invest in our artists.

“With regards to the Hidden Treasures, Joel’s exhibition works were well received, hence we made a few sales. We’re now working on getting his work to galleries in Joburg. We have targeted Art Eye, a posh gallery in Sandton.”

Commenting on the value that Naidoo has to offer, he said she worked with what was known as “the Bantu Social Centre” in Beatrice Street, Durban, in the 1950s during her early years of teaching.

At the time, the Bantu Social Centre strived to be a progressive, non-racial coalition of artists and free thinkers emanating from all walks of life. The centre’s activist reputation led to it being banned and then closed down in the 1950s.

Naidoo, a qualified teacher had her career terminated by the Education Department of the House of Delegates when her attorney/activist husband, MJ Naidoo, was detained in 1984 and charged with high treason in 1985.

In the aftermath of losing her teaching position, she turned to art in a more substantive way doing posters, illustrations and book covers for trade unions, anti-apartheid groups and women’s magazines.

Artists for Change opened yesterday and runs until September 19 at the Menzi Mcunu Art Gallery in the BAT Centre. The gallery opens Monday to Friday from 9am-4pm. Entrance is free.

Bengu said they had received quite a few submissions from artists hoping to be incorporated in the Hidden Treasures initiative, but wanted more to come forward. “We still urge artists to submit their portfolios.”

• Older, undiscovered artists, can submit their proposals and portfolios to the Bat Centre by e-mailing visualarts@batcentre. co.za or hand delivering to The Bat Centre (45 Maritime Place, Small Craft Harbour, Durban).


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