1986-1999: looking back at politics, art and young artists

2014-08-22T13:25:26Z (GMT) by Marion Arnold
Art is never free of the spirit of its time and place but although the weight of history and geopolitics haunts art objects, this does not control their identities. Looking back at the years 1986 -1999, when I served on the National Arts Festival Committee, the extraordinary pressures exerted on South African art reflect the society at large as it suffered the burden of apartheid, the fragile promise of a negotiated transition of political power, and then the upheavals of post-1994 social transformation. But looking at the exhibitions produced by Young Artist Award Winners for Visual Art, their interpretations of the complex South African situation produced remarkably creative and diverse responses. They proclaimed the power of the imagination to intervene with bleak reality and liberate the individual human spirit.