- 16 February 2021
In a continued effort to build the critical writing and arts journalism in Durban, The KZNSA hosted writing workshops for aspirant writers and art critics, to hone their skills in catalogue writing, exhibition statements, and art critique. The most recent of these was facilitated by Strauss & Co, South Africa’s leading fine art auction house and the global leader in the South African art market currently open for bidding and closes on Monday, 22 February 2021 at 8.00pm. Senior Strauss & Co specialist, Wilhelm van Rensburg and research specialist Hazel Cuthbertson mentored three young arts graduates, Jordan Anthony, Cheriese Dilrajh and Yasmien Mackay, in a skills development workshop that produced three well-researched, informative and accessible catalogue texts for artworks the mentees had selected from the more than 500 artworks included in Strauss & Co’s February Online auction.
Jordan Anthony wrote on lot 358, a masterful colour etching by Pippa Skotnes, entitled We are Smoking’s People, that reflects the artist’s interest in the fraught history of the colonial encounter between the indigenous |Xam and !Kung peoples and the early settlers.
Cheriese Dilrajh looked at lots 344, 398 and 399, three iconic lithographs from Sam Nhlengethwa’s Tribute series, Tribute to Helen Sebidi, Tribute to Henri Matisse and Tribute to Cecil Skotnes, in which the artist depicts recognisable works by the three giants of art history in his own imaginary domestic settings.
Yasmien Mackay chose lot 48, a colourful impressionistic oil painting by Pietermaritzburg artist Derek Leigh, Study for the Judgement of Paris, and discussed how the artist translated Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens’s depiction of an episode from an ancient Greek myth into a South African setting.
Strauss & Co is renowned for the depth of scholarship and academic rigour they bring to the catalogues they produce for their Live and Online sales, and the three young writers planned, researched, wrote and refined their texts with guidance from the experienced old hands at the premier auction house. The successful workshop proved hugely beneficial, as Yasmien Mackay expressed: “I'm so excited to have learned so much from this experience. I can't thank you all enough for granting me this opportunity”.