South African anti-apartheid paintings

This video is about South African artist Albert Adams.

By Bernadette Hyland in Britain:

The Burden + Incarceration

Working Class Movement Library, Salford

Monday 07 May 2012

These two exhibitions are curated from the archive of Albert Adams, who was born in South Africa in 1929 and died in 2007.

Adams‘s father was Hindu and his mother was designated by the state as “Cape coloured.” He lived with his mother, a domestic worker, after parental separation.

As a young black man, he was barred from art school and worked as a sign writer.

But he attended art classes and eventually was encouraged to look abroad for art training.

In 1953 he won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art in London and never returned to his native land.

“I think the most difficult question to be answered by anyone is ‘Who am I?” he later said. “I have never regarded myself as an exile, although South African born and raised.

“I was a second-class citizen who never felt South African.”

Adams went onto study with Oscar Kokoschka in Salzburg but his work was ultimately influenced by, among others, Goya, Picasso and Frances Bacon.

He worked at City University in London and his work was exhibited across the world, from Yugoslavia to Brazil.

A gifted expressionist painter and printmaker Adams never forgot his background, memorably demonstrated in the painting South Africa 1959 which became known as the “South African Guernica.”

In the collection The Burden Adams explores his own identity. There are pictures of him as a young man, as well as the artifacts such as African and Asian artworks that influenced his paintings and reflected his own Indian background.

Adams was a political artist and Incarceration documents his response to war, torture and human rights abuses. They range from Robben Island, where his family were imprisoned, to Abu Ghraib.

Adams donated over 150 of his paintings and prints to Salford University and these two shows are drawn from them. The exhibition will tour nationally next year and it’s highly recommended.

Incarceration runs at the Working Class Movement Library until June 29. Free. Opening times: (0161) 736-0161. The Burden runs at The Clifford Whitworth Library, University of Salford, until June 3. Opening times: (0161) 295-2444.

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4 thoughts on “South African anti-apartheid paintings

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