16 January – 9 March 2013
This week Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) in partnership with the South African National Gallery (Iziko Museums of South Africa) opened its major retrospective and first substantial exhibition in the UK of the internationally acclaimed artist, Peter Clarke.
Wind Blowing on the Cape Flats honours Clarke’s life, work and contribution to art over sixty years and tells the story of an artist who is part of a lost generation, a voice that has been largely unheard in Europe.
One of the most accomplished and versatile visual South African artists, Peter Clarke was born in 1929. In his early twenties he declared that he would make his living as an artist, which was a highly unusual ambition for a young black South African at the time.
Over the last sixty years, Clarke has reflected on his country’s social and political history and is often referred to as the ‘quiet chronicler’. His work constitutes a subtle critique of apartheid and its social consequences as well as more recently, aspects of the ‘new’ South Africa.
Although largely self-taught, Clarke was encouraged by taking informal art classes and studying European masters that he saw reproduced in books - including Picasso, and the South African modernist Gerard Sekoto (the first black artist to be represented in a South African public collection). Witty, sharp, poignant, aesthetically memorable, Clarke’s work provides an extraordinary context for discussion of his country as it prepares to celebrate 20 years since the momentous elections that brought Nelson Mandela to President.
Wind Blowing on the Cape Flats charts his development as an artist, his prolific creativity as a painter, printmaker and an internationally acclaimed writer and poet through over 80 works including paintings, drawings, prints, woodcuts, collages, sketchbooks as well as artist books.
Describing why it is important to show Peter Clarke’s art in London, Tessa Jackson, Chief Executive of Iniva and co-curator of Wind Blowing on the Cape Flats said, ‘Peter Clarke combines his belonging to Africa with an understanding of Western art history; this makes his work memorable in both subject matter and aesthetics.’
Wind Blowing on the Cape Flats is curated by Tessa Jackson and Riason Naidoo, Director: Art Collections (South African National Gallery & Old Town House), Iziko Museums of South Africa.
The exhibition continues Iniva’s work to promote culturally diverse artists, curators, writers and thinkers ignored by mainstream institutions. A series of related events are programmed as part of this exhibition including Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with Peter Clarke and free guided exhibition tours. Full details can be found on www.iniva.org. Iniva Rivington Place London EC2A 3BA Tel: +44 (0)20 7729 9616.