Transitional Art in South Africa Cover Image

Transitional Art in South Africa
Transitional Art in South Africa

Author(s): Aneta Pawłowska
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Łódzkie Towarzystwo Naukowe
Keywords: “transitional art”; South Africa; postcolonialism; acculturation; artefacts; craft

Summary/Abstract: The term transitional art was first introduced by the anthropologist Nelson Graburn in the mid 1970s. Graburn stated that it refers to the cultural production of this group of the Third World population which he regarded as completely assimilated with the Western culture and which forms a new kind of community, defined by him as the “Fourth World”. The scholar was careful to emphasize that his proposed term is particularly adequate in reference to this part of the “conquered minority” of the population which is susceptible and prone to such behavioral patterns as joining the new society while being submissive to the ways and patterns of the European civilization, and which resists easy placement in their own cultural context. The principal object of this text is the art of the Republic of South Africa. The problems concerning transitional art are ever present and quite visible in many exhibitions and critical texts relating to the art and artists originating from this area of the world (e.g. A. Nettleton, M. Martin, M. Manaka). The term transitional art seems to be especially applicable to the black art of South Africa and is most often employed with reference to the works of such black artists as e.g. N. Mabasy, P. Seoka, J. Maswanganyi, B. Makhubele or J. Hlungwane. Nevertheless it is interesting to observe that as a result of the political changes that occurred 17 years ago in South Africa – the abolition of apartheid in 1994 – today an increasing number of white artists, such as e.g. A. Botha, N. Catherine, B. Blignaut, C. Schreuders – create art works which can be defined as transitional art and which are well assimilated with the dominant black culture.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 13
  • Page Range: 183-202
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: English