This process will end in the ultimate exhibition, namely The Boston-Joburg Connection: Collaboration and Exchange at Artist Proof Studio, 1983-2012
, which will be hosted at the Tuft University Art Gallery in Boston. This exciting collaborative event will be curated by art historian professor Pamela Allara, who will also be in Johannesburg for one month while she guest-curates the international section of the Coming of Age exhibition - one of the ensuing highlights of the commemorative process - at JAG (Johannesburg Art Gallery).
To kick off the 21-year fine-art celebration on 23 April, for 10 days, six international visiting artists will provide their valuable input to three groups of talented South African student artists from the Artist Proof Studio (APS), in a sequence of workshops. These workshops will culminate in a series of prints that will not only be chosen and bound into a special book installation, but will also be exhibited at APS at the end of the 10-day period and finally installed at the prestigious Boston exhibition, namely The Boston-Joburg Connection: Collaboration and Exchange at Artist Proof Studio, 1983-2012
APS’ two-decade history dates back to 1983, when an idea was born in Boston by a young Tufts/Museum School graduate and now-renowned South African artist Kim Berman. APS was then established in Johannesburg in 1991 with fellow artist Nhlanhla Xaba. Located in the Newtown Cultural Precinct, an arts and culture hub in inner-city Joburg, this studio was conceived as a way to acknowledge the then-new democratic South Africa; a country on the brink of reconciliation, cultural diversity, equality, and above all, a culture celebrating human rights upon Nelson Mandela’s release. APS was formed with the intention of training potentially talented, up-and-coming artists, from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, to become professionals. In 1995, APS was registered as a non-profit Section 21 company. The studio focuses on intaglio and relief printmaking processes, including lithography and silk-screening, plus other mixed media printing techniques, and now trains between 80 and 100 learners each year. Ultimately, these amateur artists become confident pros and are therefore able to make a difference in their communities and South Africa, as a whole.
For the 10-day workshop, the visiting artists are Peter Scott (an ex-teacher of Kim Berman) and Rhoda Rosenberg, both from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts’ (SMFA) Printmaking faculty; graduate student assistants, Ella Lundberg and Erin Grimes, also from SMFA; plus Birgit Blyth and Judy Quinn, visiting Boston artists of alternative photographic techniques.
On 24 April from 16:00 to 17:00, APS will host the international artists at an opening exhibition and poetry reading. Belgian poet Frieda Groffy has been working with first and second-year APS students, developing poems and images inspired by the themes 'if only trees could dance' and 'my township my house', in time for this exhibition. Groffy has returned to South Africa to work with the students of APS on five different occasions over the last 10 years. This exhibition will be open to the public.
Then, in solidarity with the SAVE the Rhino Campaign, on 2 May, the artists from APS will be showing their dedication to the cause by creating a massive life-size rhino print. This eclectic artwork will consist of a selected image of a rhino made up of 50 or more small tiled prints by individual participants in the workshop which will then be installed to make up a complete life-size image. Innovatively, the concept behind this work is to make the meaningful statement that the rhino would be incomplete if one artist’s contribution were missing. The work of art will be showcased at JAG for the duration of the APS exhibition, after which it will be donated to Save the Rhino campaign for auction.
Finally, on 5 May, as a pre-cursor to the Coming of Age
exhibition, there will be a student opening of the Boston-Joburg Connection at APS, which will see the third-year students exhibiting their works and will feature the prints chosen at the initial workshop to become star attractions in Boston. This event will be open to the public during the month of May at APS during the time of the JAG Exhibition.
For more information about APS, go to www.artistproofstudio.co.za