The exhibition is superbly curated and has been pulling in audiences since it opened six weeks ago. It looks at the fine detail, subtle nuance and rich tapestry that can be found in South African and French-speaking comics today.
Muhammad Hussain of City Press said that “walking out of the exhibition, one feels at ease with life and [feels] a renewed sense of inspiration”, while Carlos Amato from the Sunday Times said it was “a brilliant exhibition”.
A collaboration between the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), the Embassy of France in South Africa and the French Institute of South Africa, The Art of Comics completes its gallery run and workshop programme on 17 November 2019.
The November programme, entitled Beyond the Page, looks to the future of comics with workshops featuring artists Loyiso Mkize, author of Kwezi, Kay Carmichael, the artist behind web comic Sophie Giant Slayer and Mogorosi Motshumi author and cartoonist of The Initiation. While looking at the many forms comics can take and the practical side of creating comics, all three artists will also address the future of comics (see programme below).
An educational exhibition
The educational side is a very important aspect of this exhibition. Many workshops for both adults and children were successfully organised on various topics, from the history and techniques of comics to virtual reality comics and animation. An educational supplement designed in collaboration with artist and cartoonist Nas Hoosen was distributed to all learners who participated in the workshops.
Total South Africa is a big supporter of the educational side of the exhibition: they organised a special school programme throughout October, and have sponsored and hosted 800 learners from primary schools selected from the Central District in Soweto. The learners are treated to The Art of Comics exhibition tour and culture experience, including a workshop about the production of comical art.
“As Total, we believe that the development of artistic talent needs to be nurtured from a young age, and as part of our strategy, we embark on these experiences with young learners in the hope that they will be inspired to create artistic pieces and perhaps realize their talent and even build careers out of this experience”, said Nyameka Makonya, Corporate Social Investment Manager at Total South Africa.
About The Art of Comics
The first exhibition of its kind at JAG, The Art of Comics has been running since 19 September 2019 and invites visitors to explore the rich variety of contemporary South African comics and graphic novels that explore themes related to history, folklore, science fiction, autobiography and new developments in the field, such as augmented reality comics. The exhibition also includes a special section on French Speaking Comics Today.
The exhibition is curated by Raymond Whitcher, Tara Weber (both on the South African Comics section) and Thierry Groensteen, one of France’s leading bande dessinée researchers and theorists. It features works from South African artists including Mogorosi Motshumi, Joe Daly, Loyiso Mkize, Nas Hoosen, Daniel Clarke, Daniël Hugo, Tasmin Naidoo, Luke Molver and Kay Carmichael, as well as some of the best French bandes dessinées artists including Riad Sattouf, Pénélope Bagieu, and Lewis Trondheim.
The Art of Comics exhibition is interactive and aims to invite the broader public to immerse themselves in this unique art form and come away with a new appreciation for the diversity of style and a love for the form. Curator Tara Weber says that “it explores themes in South African comics that extend beyond the more familiar political satire and cartoons”. It showcases the form in all its drawing styles and mediums from rough sketching and doodling, to caricature, Manga and realism and in all manner of mediums including woodcutting, etchings, pencil, charcoal, lithography, watercolour, acrylics and gouache.
Sunday 10 November – Johannesburg Art Gallery
Character development workshop with Loyiso Mkize (10am – 12pm)
Story-boarding workshop with Kay Carmichael (12pm -2pm)
Sunday 17 November – Johannesburg Art Gallery
Public Walkabout: Last walkabout with the curators before the closing of the exhibition (11am – 12pm)
Workshop with Mogorosi Motshumi: “Comics: From an Idea to Completion” (12pm – 2pm)
Guided tours can be booked on request
For workshop and tour booking, contact Colin Groenewald at 011 725 3130 (extension 113) or firstname.lastname@example.org
From Thursday 19 September to Sunday 17 November
Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG)
Corner Klein and King George Streets,
Joubert Park, Johannesburg
JAG has access to secure parking situated on the premise
> JAG’s opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00