College of Humanities

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The Centre for Visual Art (CVA) at UKZN is hosting its Works in Progress exhibit at the Jack Heath Gallery in Pietermaritzburg until March 30

The Centre has a growing postgraduate programme, with diploma, honours, masters and PhD students producing exciting and original works.

Lecturer at the CVA Dr Kathy Arbuckle said: ‘Our students specialise in ceramics, printmaking, painting and drawing, digital media, and many are working across media in interdisciplinary ways, which is a hallmark of contemporary art practice.’

Building on the well-received exhibition of postgraduate work that was held at the KZNSA Gallery in Durban in November last year, students were encouraged to put up their more recent work in the CVA gallery space, the Jack Heath Gallery, as it is felt there is great value for them to consider their work displayed beyond usual studio spaces.

‘How the work appears in a new space and in relation to the works of other artists can spark ideas and be quite important for how artists proceed further in their practice,’ said Arbuckle. ‘We are also keeping the gallery space alive with artwork, so that students at all levels are inspired and feel a sense of energy in our building.’

Undergraduate students will have the chance of their own group exhibition later in the year. According to Arbuckle, this is an important part of their artistic education and these events and exhibitions build a sense of the CVA at UKZN being a creative community.

Masters in Fine Arts student Ms Nina Calder will showcase her work during the exhibit. Her research and art practice investigates remembering and the processes of memory as well as display issues and the arrangement of objects. 

‘I work with mixed media in the assembly of my artworks: including glass, porcelain, thread, cloth, paper and found objects. These mediums allow me to imitate particular memory processes such as encoding as a change of information,’ explained Calder. 

This memory process is reflected in the ‘burnout’ technique which involves dipping organic matter in a liquid clay to cast the ‘shell’ of the object, leaving it more permanent than its original form.

‘In my practical process, I see the concept of storage being a change of the objects’ mutability to a state of permanence. Hence, clay “remembers” the shape of the ephemeral birds nest and my intervention enables a retrieval in a fired ceramic form,’ said Calder.

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