|2012 Art Exhibition ISSA|
If you grew up in a neighbourhood such as Mahikeng, then art would have been a foundation you build solid character and assumed esteem over who you are: the core of identity. My first experience of it was in the mid 1980s when I found myself inspired by a ballet dance class where I met a significant number of people who marked this time and place. This marked place is called Mmabana, which loosely translated means “Mother of Children’; established to be a haven that nurtures art but most importantly should be classified as the custodian for the well being of little ones>>untainted hearts, minds and free spirited creatures.
Two blocks from Mmabana is another marked place called Gaabo-Motho, offices of the provincial Department of Sports, Arts & Culture rumoured to be undergoing a name change for some reason. Gaabo- Motho means “Home to mankind”, meaning Art is home to humanity. It bears a sense of expression that is truely connected to who you perceive yourself to be as a person, which inevitably dictates an introspection on your own cultural heritage and if you have never probed your heritage then the real you in both physical and spiritual form is yet to be discovered.
Although Mmabana and Gaabo-Motho are far from being where they should be in terms of industrial capacity and relevance to 21st Century, the foundation that existed over 100 years ago has shrubs of talent and vested interest in the Creative Arts, that the next years to come are re-enactments of sheer brilliance and foresight on the part of the likes of Sol Plaatje and many more who continued his efforts. What can be said about Sol Plaatje without ranting the obvious, the first African to write a Diary of a War: Black man’s view of a White man’s war, discovered long after the Mahikeng Siege. Quite sure he would have passed for a Bra Sol in today’s SA lingo, a Poet, a writer and a visionary / pioneer who co-founded the first Setswana-English weekly newspaper called “Koranta ea Becoana” in 1901, as well as a founding member of the South African Native Congress today known as the ANC.
This history is best captured by a talented Artist Georgie Bhunu who is known for his extensive work on the Barolong-Ba-Ratshidi Monarchy and his featured current work presented at his Art Gallery of “the Life and Times of Sol Plaatje” is a mavel. Bhunu has recaptured history and through his paintings has brought to life heroic stories about the Barolong peole and its lineage. His work has given profound meaning to insightful art, the likes that go from generation to generation marking time and a place.
|Oil painting of Sol Plaatje|
As a measure of continuity and that revealed in the connection between a Sol Plaatjie who resided in Mahikeng in the late 1800s and Georgie Bhunu exhibiting his 21st century artwork in his Mahikeng gallery of paintings modelled from pictures that were taken over 100 years ago, lies the essence of true art – insightful Art.
By: Lerato Mosimane