The Incidental Daddy promotes Iziko’s Tretchikoff Exhibition on the Grand Daddy Hotel Blog. With Cape Town showing off its’ winter ways, I took myself indoors to the Iziko South Africa National Gallery for some visual inspiration, and it warmed my heart.
Tretchikoff – The People’s Painter
Many of us grew up with Tretchikoff prints on the walls of our South African homes. My mom had the Dying Swan and Lost Orchid in her room and I can’t imagine a childhood without them or that 73 print book that she much cherishes.
For some background, Vladimir Tretchikoff (1913-2006) was undoubtedly one of the country’s more controversial artists, and much criticised by the art community. However, there can be no doubt that he became a cultural icon and remains a favourite ‘artist of the people’. In his heyday his exhibitions drew record audiences at his home and abroad and he was considered one of the richest artists with earnings comparable to Picasso. Nice! He pioneered the idea of selling affordable copies of his works, enabling working class people to own art which they proudly displayed above their mantelpieces, this being how my mom got hers …
We are now able to see some of his iconic work such as the Chinese Girl and The Dying Swan at the exhibition which opened on 26 May and will run through to September. Although don’t delay, get there and drink in this artist’s incredible style, then hit the local antiques stores in search of a precious print for your home.
Through the Lens of Durban’s Veteran Photographer
Running consecutively are two photographic displays. First by Ranjith Kally whose work many Durbanites have known from the social pages of local newspapers for decades.
Sadly this 85 year old photographer received scant recognition before his first solo exhibition, which opened in Johannesburg in 2004. Born in Isipingo, Durban, Kally started taking photographs while working at a shoe factory in Durban. In 1952 he won third prize in an international competition in Japan out of 150000 entries. His incredible portraits have enabled him to capture some of the most important and glamorous figures in South African history, including Nelson Mandela, Chief Albert Luthuli, Miriam Makeba and Sonny Pillay. Personally I love the landscapes and everyday look at the people. Beautiful.
The exhibition is an acknowledgement of Kally’s work since 1945, and allows us the privilege of reflecting on our past through the lens of Durban’s veteran photographer.
The Indian in Drum Magazine in the 1950’s
This exhibition focuses on the Indian community in South Africa who arrived as labourers between 1860-1917; and were mostly employed on the sugar cane fields of then Natal. These photos from the DRUM magazine archives from the 1950s, mainly from Durban, offer a glimpse of Indian underworlds, shantytowns, bohemian jazz clubs and movie houses, cosmopolitan political activists, masculine identities and notions of modern ‘Indian’ women. It acknowledges previously unknown photographers such as Ranjith Kally and G.R. Naidoo, who were based at the DRUM office in Durban. Also up since 11 May.
A reminder that that the Iziko SA National Gallery is in Government Avenue in Cape Town’s Company Gardens and is open daily from 10:00-17:00. Entrance fee is R20.00 per adult, R10.00 per pensioner and for students. Oh, you might see The Incidental Daddy there, I’m determined to visit with Vladimir as regularly as I can.