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‘Blind Alphabet’ sculpture art online exhibition shines spotlight on local talent

Willem Boshoff and Jaco Meyer. Picture: Supplied

Willem Boshoff and Jaco Meyer. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 31, 2021

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The “Blind Alphabet: Babery to Bigeminate: Sculpture and Sound by Willem Boshoff and Jaco Meyer '' exhibition is set to bring the arts, technology and innovation together.

The exhibition, a partnership between MTN SA Foundation and UJ Art Gallery, is currently open to the public until November 24.

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This initiative follows last year’s presentation of 40 wooden forms representing the letter B in Willem Boshoff’s seminal work “The Blind Alphabet”.

They were presented in wood, steel, and aluminium as part of an online documentary project for the Moving Cube, UJ Art Gallery’s online platform.

The sculptures are contained in mesh caskets intended for interpretation by visually impaired visitors.

Attached to the lid of each casket is a sheet of aluminium embossed with text in Braille, giving the word, its meaning and derivation, and examples for its usage.

Selwyn's Steyn's barcode sculpture. Picture: Supplied

“It is a national priority to help drive the education, preservation and development of South African history and heritage. We are excited to help improve outcomes through technology and partnerships,” said Niel Nortjé, MTN Foundation’s manager: Art Collection.

The power of technology in art is reflected by developments since the 1990s to change the outdated nature of the Braille type format. This led to a new presentation of the letter B within The Blind Alphabet, with the added benefit of enhanced accessibility for the visually challenged through new processes of digitisation of the artwork and music, or sound, accompanying each of the 40 sculptures.

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Pretoria-based artist, Selwyn Steyn, winner of the 2020 Emerging Artist Development Programme with his “Memetic Sculpture: A Speculation on Cultural Contagion”, was commissioned to create new three-dimensional work in the form of a QR code for this exhibition.

Selwyn's Steyn's barcode sculpture. Picture: Supplied

Other exhibitors at this year’s event include Alexa Pienaar, Franz Phooko, Lana Combrinck, Miné Kleynhans, Neo Diseko, Oratile Papi Koropi, Tré Mkhabela, Tristin Roland and Xanthé Jackson.

“MTN SA Foundation invites South Africans to the UJ Art Gallery’s first physical opening since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, with open access to this first hybrid pilot event.

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It will be facilitated through Zoom while a very small number of parties involved will attend in person. We are coming through a particularly difficult year and the combination of art, culture and digital innovation is the perfect tonic to help brighten all our lives,” explained Nortjé.

For more information and ticket bookings, click here.

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