Student artwork will be on display at 'woke' university, now being revamped
A selection of fine art students' political, socio-economic and spiritual artworks will go up on all four campuses of the Eastern Cape's Walter Sisulu University (WSU), “to give the institution some artistic soul”.
The art went on display at the Ann Bryant Gallery in East London this week.
WSU’s vice-chancellor and principal Prof Rob Midgley has selected visual artwork worth R25,000 in support of these budding artists to showcase on the institution's campuses.
“We forget that no university can operate if it does not have a soul and that soul is when the arts come up. We’re talking about music (and) the visual arts that we’re celebrating here,” said Midgley.
“If we do not have that cultural bit inside us, then we are not complete human beings. When I come here [art gallery] there’s a little peace that I get as I walk around trying to connect in my own little way. I am incredibly proud of the work that’s being done in this department by the students. I maintain that this department is one of the best kept secrets in Africa.”
The WSU Visual Arts Department hosts an annual exhibition, where final-year fine art B. Tech students showcase their pieces. One brow-raising exhibition is that of Lumanyano Gosani, titled “The Collapse: Ceramicist’s Commentary on Dilapidated Public Healthcare in the Eastern Cape.
“The study focuses on the fundamental aspects, such as the right to health care, public hospitals and infrastructure, with a focus on rural areas of the province. The aim of the study is to put forward a radical challenge to government officials on the fact that public health in the province has deteriorated so badly in the past 24 years of democracy,” said Lumanyano.
WSU is currently nearing the completion of a R180m student infrastructure project.
The university is refurbishing teaching and learning facilities on all its campuses.
At the Zamukulungisa site in Mthatha, construction of two new 200- and 400-seater auditoria commenced in April 2018. Completion is expected in December, according to WSU’s executive director ICT and Operations, Sinethemba Mpambane. “The overall progress on site is currently at 71% and the contractor is behind schedule due to the delivery of steel trusses and inclement weather delays,” said Mpambane.
The Komani campus’ Grey Street site boasts new R13m lecture theatres, completed in July. Campus rector Prof McGlory Speckman said the need for more lecture halls was felt even before the designation of the site as a faculty. This is a consequence of the large numbers registered in commerce-related programmes.
Mthatha's Nelson Mandela Drive site and East London’s Potsdam site will see the completion of renovations on student residences, which commenced in June, between January and March 2020.
- The artworks are on display until November 13 at the Ann Bryant Gallery in St Marks Street, Southernwood, East London.