SA going for gold at Venice 'art Olympics'

31 May 2013 - 02:40 By Jackie May
Johannes Phokela's oil painting 'South Pacific Seascape' is on display at the Venice Biennale
Johannes Phokela's oil painting 'South Pacific Seascape' is on display at the Venice Biennale
Image: SUPPLIED

The South African pavi lion at the Venice Biennale - the Olympic s of the art world - will be opened tonight by M inister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile .

The National Arts Festival has organised and facilitated South Africa's participation in this, the 55th edition of the international art exhibition.

"For the 17 artists whose work has been shipped off to Italy this is great exposure," said National Arts Festival CEO Tony Lankester, who is in Venice with a team of organisers and curators for the biennial event.

"The quality of our artists' work is on par with [ or] surpasses [ that of other] work on exhibit here ."

Curated by Brenton Maart, the South African exhibition, one of 88 national exhibitions, is titled Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive.

South Africa was excluded from the exhibition for decades because of its apartheid policies. It was readmitted in 1993 .

The South African artists exhibiting are Andrew Putter, Athi-Patra Ruga, Cameron Platter, David Koloane, Donna Kukama, Gerhard Marx, Maja Marx, Philip Miller, James Webb, Joanne Bloch, Johannes Phokela, Nelisiwe Xaba, Penny Siopis, Sam Nhlengethwa, Sue Williamson, Wim Botha and Zanele Muholi.

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